Guide: Make Your Website Mobile Ready
Mobile marketing is the current “big thing”. Although mobile marketing has been around for quite a while, it’s become more relevant than ever. Mobiles, and even tablets to some extent, are leaving desktops behind in terms of online users.
Mobile usage increased by nearly 50% from 2013 to 2015, with a large part of the traffic owed to mobile app usage. So why has mobile traffic exploded, and what does it imply for marketers everywhere? Let’s find out!
The Rise of Mobile
Mobile has been on the rise over the years with people having increased access to smartphones and the Internet. The largest portion of mobile traffic is mobile apps, and a study shows that 57% of mobile owners use apps daily. This includes Social Media, as 189 million Facebook users keep updated with friends through mobile only.
Mobile is also that one device we’re most intimately connected to. It’s the first thing we check in the morning, and the last thing we check in the evening. Whether it’s a text message or an email notification, we’re very likely to give it a look. This is why email is still relevant, as two-thirds of it is checked via mobile.
Google also extended better support for mobile, and in 2016, Google announced that their search indexing will prioritize mobile results first. What this means is sites that are optimized for mobile are going to be rated up, and appear higher up in search results. A responsive site adjusts the website contents (title, HTML, images etc) according to the screen size, making it a lot easier for mobile users to navigate.
So if you’ve optimized your website for mobile, you have nothing to worry about. Otherwise, consider making changes to your site.
But wait, there’s more. Despite the overwhelmingly large number of mobile users present today, it doesn’t guarantee your website gets any conversions or even traffic that’s worthwhile. In fact, mobile users are more picky than desktop users. Some of the things you can do to further optimize your website are:
- Improve Site speed
- Simplify website design, and make the CTA as visible as possible.
- Avoid flash and pop-ups.
- Do not block CSS or images.
Improving Site Speed
Mobile users are impatient. If your website takes time to load, many of your potential customers will hit the back button and never return. In fact, this infographic shows how every second spent in your site loading can result in loss of potential customers. While it’s impossible to achieve a zero second load time, your goal should be to minimize the load time as much as possible.
Your first step to improve your site’s load time is to check how well it’s optimized for mobile, with Google’s PageSpeed Insights. If your load time is high, here are some ways to change that:
- Optimize website images, by proper formatting and compressing.
- Compacting HTML code, to speed up download and parsing times
- Do not block CSS or images.
Simplify website design, and improve CTA
A mobile screen is tiny compared to a desktop monitor, so your mobile website should opt for a simplistic design. Minimize text and images, and use only necessary text and imagery that prompts the audience to perform an action. That can be reading your blog post or hitting the purchase button. The call to action (CTA) is important as it tells your audience what to do. I’ve visited plenty of badly designed websites on mobile that eventually cause me to leave, because I don’t know where to click next.
Avoid Flash and Pop-ups
This may seem a no-brainer, especially since most mobiles, especially the iPhone, doesn’t support flash. Google has also blocked Flash for Google Chrome, and instead HTML5 is set as a default. So if you want to create animations for your website, HTML5 is the better option.
As for Pop-ups, just don’t do it. Pop-ups are intrusive, and appear even more so if you’re on mobile. Many large corporation websites throw in Pop-ups, prompting you to buy their e-book, subscribe to their email blasts, and use phrases like “No, I do not want the Latest Research,” or other similar phrases to create a sense of guilt, or that you’re missing out on something big.
You might be thinking, but Pop-ups are exactly what we need to give a better CTA to the audience. That is not necessarily true. People show up to your website with a very specific purpose in mind, such as reading an article relevant to their interest or purchasing a specific product. Whatever the Pop-up offers may be completely irrelevant to their interest, and might just result in hitting the back button in frustration.
Pop-ups guarantee a bad mobile experience, and will only result in a high bounce rate.
Do not block CSS or images.
A Look at Mobile Apps
Mobile apps generated a revenue of $58 billion in 2016, and it’s predicted to increase to $77 billion by the end of 2017. Men and women of age 18-24 use mobile apps the most, while the number reduces as we go up in age.
Mobile users use apps more often than their browser, so this is why all major social networks have apps on mobile (e.g. Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter). Optimizing mobile experience is the way to success. For example, Pinterest recently introduced buyable pins, making the customer’s experience easy, without having to leave the app.
Some of the most used app categories include games, social networks, other forms of entertainment, utility and news. The percentage of mobile apps used is slowly increasing each year, with it being 20% in 2015. It could possibly include your own app.
We talked about mobile, and how it’s leaving desktop users behind. Mobile, being the most intimate gadget one can own, is a great medium for advertising, and brands are slowly realizing this. Google also realized the importance of this by tipping the system entirely in 2016, and putting websites optimized for mobiles at a higher ranker than non-optimized sites.
We also discussed some steps you can do immediately to ensure that your website is optimized not just for Google search, but also for mobile users. These included improving load times by optimizing, simplifying web design, avoiding use of flash and pop-ups and lastly, allowing CSS and images.
Finally, we took a quick look at mobile apps, and it’s huge contribution to mobile internet traffic, making it definitely something to look out for.