Is your business website ready for the mobile revolution? If not, it’s time to start thinking seriously about the 21st century.
Internet traffic from tablets and smartphones recently surpassed traffic from traditional computers. Those traffic numbers are only going to become more lopsided as time goes on.
While it’s clear that mobile Internet is not a passing fad, it’s not clear yet what impact the transition will have on businesses that rely on the web to generate leads, sales, and provide customer support.
On one hand, opportunities abound. Your customers have access to the Internet wherever they go. Your website is literally in their pocket.
On the other hand, challenges and risks lurk around every corner. Your legacy website may be completely unusable on a small screen. If your site isn’t up to the task of providing mobile customers with a good experience they’ll quickly move on.
According to a recent Google survey, “61% of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d quickly move on to another site.”
Responsive Web Design: A (Partial) Solution to Your Mobile Web Challenges
As web design trends go, responsive is a winner. What’s not to like about a design that dynamically adjusts to the size of the display it’s viewed on? With a responsive design, your website looks great on phones, tablets, and desktop computers.
While it’s tempting to view responsive design as the holy grail that solves all mobile web problems, it’s really only a partial solution — a (very solid) foundation to build on.
For businesses of any size, a responsive design by itself won’t solve all of the pain that customers feel while interacting with your company in the digital realm.
Four Steps To a Better Mobile Web Experience
With a responsive design in place, there are a few more items you should add to your mobile checklist to ensure that mobile visitors stick around:
1. Optimize content for your visitors
Mobile web users have a special kind of attention deficit disorder. They’re on-the-go and distracted by the world around them. They need to find relevant information quickly and don’t have the time or patience to scroll through endless screens of text.
A responsive web design filled with long, rambling content isn’t much of an improvement over a non-mobile friendly website.
That’s not to say there’s no room for longer content on your website; that’s what your blog is for.
When it comes to your home page, landing pages, and product pages, make sure you write for distracted readers. Short blocks of content with relevant images and icons tend to work best. Make liberal use of sub-headers to help mobile users scan your content.
2. Optimize menus and site-wide navigation for mobile visitors
Your responsive theme ensures that your menus are accessible on mobile devices. While that’s a good start it doesn’t ensure that your menus are logically organized or that they help your visitors find what they’re looking for. That part is up to you.
Limit the number of items in your menus to only the most important. Avoid the temptation to list a dozen or more pages on your menus. Doing so will only overwhelm and confuse your visitors.
Place an emphasis on the most important information that mobile users are looking for. If your business depends on customers coming to your location make sure your contact page included as a top level menu item. Better yet, consider adding your phone number and address to the top of your website.
3. Be sure all media on your site is mobile-ready
Video is a great way to communicate with customers, but support for mobile browsers is also somewhat tricky to get right. Most mobile devices don’t support the video formats you may have used on your website in the past (Flash is dead!).
Fortunately, WordPress makes presenting mobile-friendly media a snap by including built-in mobile-optimized media players for both audio and video.
Video hosting services like Vimeo and YouTube are also good options. Both services offer responsive video players that adapt to meet your visitors’ technology requirements.
4. Remember that your website is only part of your overall web presence
Don’t forget about all of the other online services that augment your website. Those need to be mobile-friendly too.
- Is your help desk responsive? Or is it another pain point for customers who may already be frustrated?
- What about your shopping cart and payment systems? You want your smartphone-wielding customers to buy from you too.
- Make sure your email campaigns are mobile friendly. Pay special attention to those graphic heavy HTML emails that may not be legible on smaller screens.
Your mission is to ensure that your web presence is a welcoming experience for all of your visitors, no matter what kind of technology they’re using.
What are you doing to adapt your business to the ways of increasingly mobile consumers? And what challenges have you encountered along the way? Let us know by leaving a comment below.