We are all aware of how our lives – and particularly our Online lives – are connected to Mobile Devices (see our March Post – “The Increasingly Mobile Web”). However, creating an effective Mobile site is not just a matter of using some conversion software or shrinking the size. Highly effective mobile sites are re-conceived to take advantage of mobile phone capabilities while minimizing their limitations.
I’ll use the example of a mobile site that we built for Coopskw.com and share our top 7 Keys to a Highly Effective Mobile Web Site.
1> Make sure your Mobile Web Site looks good and fits all mobile phones. Too often the Web Site owner or developer is an Apple iPhone User and sees the mobile world as all Apple. Well 60% of the Mobile Users out there, use Androids! Now I hear many developers complain the Android varies so much from device to device, that they can’t control how their site will look or behave on an Android. Non-sense! Get a new developer or better yet, hire us – it can be done.
Developers also frequently use conversion software to scrunch their regular web sites to fit the smaller screen. Bad idea. Text and images become too small to read or use. Best practice is to re-conceive your site for mobile. See the screenshots below comparing the PC Web Site version to the Mobile Version. We changed the Mobile layout to fit better on the screen and display only priority links and content. We pull the content from the same database as the Full Site but redid the display.
You can easily see how your site looks on various Mobile platforms from your PC by using a Mobile Phone Emulator like http://www.mobilephoneemulator.com/
2> Show only the most important content and links. Eliminate the fluff. People on mobile devices are generally in a hurry and want a quick answer to their questions. They don’t want to sit and read a long dissertation or use a magnifying glass to read your content or click links.
3> Make your Phone and Directions links hot. Here’s where your mobile device beats your PC – take advantage of it. Mobile Users either want to call you or find you. By making your Phone# and Directions hyperlinks, a User can click the phone number and have it call you or click ‘Directions’ and have your location appear in your ‘Maps’ app. Cool and convenient!
4> Provide a link to your ‘Full Site.’ You may have some more content or Forms on your Full Site that a User may want to explore. Give them that option.
5> Make Navigation Easy. Mobile devices now have a universal symbol for a ‘Menu.’ Use it. A good clear Menu(Fig. 3) will help your User get quickly to what they want.
6> Include Tracking and Stats for your Mobile site. Most of our clients use Google Analytics. Remember to include their tracking code on your mobile pages. Tracking is just as important to your success on Mobile, but is often forgotten.
7> Search Engine Optimize(SEO). Do you want your Mobile site to be found on Google, Yahoo and Bing? Remember to do all the best practices you do for your Full Site on your Mobile Site as well. I’d even venture to say that Search position is even more important on mobile. With a smaller screen and a smaller attention span, mobile users are most likely to click on the top few Search links. It should be yours.
If Pathfinder can help you master the Mobile World, please contact us. Your first hour is free – so feel free to pick our brains.