Mobile website optimization should be one of the most important parts of your marketing strategy. Why? Because mobile is here to stay. We all know that mobile has overtaken desktop when it comes to search, but if that isn’t enough we have some more pretty compelling statistics that will sway you:

According to Google, 61% of users won’t likely return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing (and 40% will go over to a competitor’s site); 57% of consumers say that if a website is poorly designed, they won’t recommend it; and 88% of consumers searching for something locally, will call or go to the business they find within 24 hours.

The essentially permanent change to mobile-dominated search was a wake-up call for a lot of businesses (the threat of a poor Google ranking will make any business owner listen up). Google is now making the epic move over to mobile search which means mobile-friendly websites are no longer suggested, they are mandatory. But the change makes sense – Google wants to provide mobile searchers with the best experience possible, regardless of their device.

What is mobile website optimization?

Mobile website optimization ensures the visitors who access your site from mobile devices can have just as robust an experience as they would if they were visiting from a desktop.

For mobile website optimization, the biggest change is having your website easily visible on a mobile device or tablet. A surprising number of websites still aren’t designed to account for different screen sizes and load times. By optimizing for mobile, you’re taking a deeper look at your overall site design, site structure, page speed and more to make sure you are ready for your mobile visitors.

The websites we design at Vivial are optimized to appear well on every kind of device.
mobile website optimization for a local business example

What’s the different between mobile-friendliness, mobile-optimization and mobile-first?

When a website is first created, there will be a particular end user in mind – more specifically, which device that user is most likely to access the website with.

Mobile-friendly websites began with desktop users in mind and were later adapted or updated to also show up well on mobile devices. This kind of site will usually appear well – images are resized, the layout will adjust to the new screen, but there usually aren’t any mobile bells and whistles, and it’s more likely there will be glitches on mobile.

Mobile-optimization goes as far as to actually change have different iterations of the site design that will be triggered depending on device. This means that something fundamental like the site navigation may look very different on desktop than it does on mobile (moving from a header menu to a drop-down menu). For example, a dance studio that has class sign-ups available on their website — but mobile devices cannot access this feature — may want to create a mobile-optimized website so that customers can sign up on any device (and at any time).

Now that mobile has definitely overtaken desktop when it comes to web traffic, the best option for most businesses is to create a website that is designed mobile-first. This will not only save you time and money (in terms of mobile SEO and overall maintenance), but it may also improve your conversions. CTA’s (calls to action) are more seamless for mobile users when they are thought of at the first – especially with options like auto-fill contact information and click-to-call buttons.

Mobile Best Practices

If you already have a mobile-optimized or mobile-first website, making it SEO-friendly shouldn’t take too long. If you’re looking to optimize your entire web presence, use these mobile web design best practices from the start to make your life a lot easier.

Site speed

Have you ever searched something on your phone and the page would not load? It’s frustrating, right?

Don’t ever let a potential (or loyal) customer be on the frustrated end when visiting your website from a mobile device. If your website loads slowly on a  mobile device, visitors will most likely move onto another business that has a website that loads quicker. Optimizing your website for page speed will solve this problem.

If you want to learn more about the importance of site speed and how to get yours up to par, skim through our recent blog post: Quick tips to improve website speed.
mobile website optimization page speed

 

Web design for mobile

Having a good web design for mobile means that your website doesn’t alienate an entire section of your audience. As of late, there has been a shift away from website layouts that encourage the user to click around and toward a long scroll layout — and mobile is responsible for this transition.

  • DON’T USE FLASH

Flashy websites are a thing of the past — and I’m not referring to websites that have a certain sparkle  — but websites that use Adobe’s Flash Player.

For those of you who follow Apple, you might remember Steve Jobs’ aversion to Flash. Apple understood where the market was moving (mobile) and, because Apple chose to not allow Flash into any of their products (iPads, iPhones, iPod Touches, etc.) and influenced the mobile market (by domination), Flash can’t be viewed on mobile devices and, therefore, isn’t worth your time.

  • DESIGN FOR FINGERTIPS

When navigation comes down to fingertips, things can get a little sloppy because you only have so much space to work with.

You want your mobile website to be easily maneuverable via fingertips and thumbs (and the occasional nose). When creating or choosing a design, you need to find your Goldilocks: your navigation should be able to be used by fingers of all sizes with buttons not too big, or too small, but just right.

  • AVOID POP-UPS

When navigation comes down to a finger on a 7-inch screen or smaller, a pop-up can be the difference between a new customer or a lost opportunity. Not being able to close a pop-up can drive away the business of potential new customers.

Optimize titles and meta descriptions

Less screen space means less text space. When creating titles, URLs and meta descriptions, keep your copy short and easy to read (and access) in a search query on a mobile device. For titles, it is best to keep them to 45 characters (or less) and include the most important information (keywords) in the beginning.

Optimize for local search

For a local business, optimizing for local search = active steps to securing new business. One of the easiest and quickest way to rank for local search is to ensure your directories are optimized. Search engines love consistencies and if your business is listed consistently across multiple directories, you’ll rank will move up. If you aren’t sure how your directories display, you can run a free report that will show you which ones you need to fix.

Mobile site configuration

Remember the minor differences between mobile-friendliness, mobile-optimization and mobile-first websites? Well, this is what mobile site configuration really boils down to – how you want your mobile site to be configured and how different that experience will be on desktop.

Google prefers responsive designs, ones that are optimized for all shapes and sizes of device. Google’s priority is sending users to websites that are both relevant to their search query and that provide the best user experience (ease of use).

This example from the WWF illustrates how their site shows up optimally on both desktop and mobile.

By optimizing your website for mobile devices, you guarantee that you don’t alienate any potential customers. With over 50% of website visitors now coming from mobile devices worldwide (a percentage that continues to climb), deciding not to optimize your website could drastically diminish your online business opportunities.

Start getting more customers in your door by optimizing your website with Vivial today. Our beautiful, marketing enabled websites will allow your customers to access your content quickly and easily, giving them no reason to take their business elsewhere.