Mobile Optimized Site
The way consumers shop for products and services has been redefined in recent years. This is largely in response to greater accessibility to technology that enables remote consumerism. Incredibly, as of the end of 2011 the International Telecommunication Union estimated that 87% of the world’s population uses a mobile phone. While people still use desktop computers to access websites, the reality is that this preference is shifting towards mobile devices. Results from a recent study by the Pew Research Center reveal that more than 50% of American consumers use mobile devices to search for products and services. It’s expected that by 2014 mobile internet usage will exceed desktop mobile usage.
Why it’s Essential to Have a Mobile Optimized Site
Businesses today have more flexibility than ever before. Most businesses appreciate that the internet is a critical source of consumer sales and customer referrals. Nevertheless, many businesses are not capitalizing on the mobile marketing potential due to traditional website design.
When a traditional site is loaded on a mobile device it’s typically cumbersome and takes a long time to load. Also, the display information is tailored to desktop screens and subsequently isn’t viewed easily on a mobile device. Essentially, consumers that are browsing websites on their mobile phone or other mobile devices find these characteristics off-putting and will immediately exit the site and look elsewhere. This is a potentially large consumer base that’s unavailable simply because a site isn’t mobile optimized.
Mobile optimized sites are designed to load much faster than traditional websites. They also take into consideration how information is displayed across mobile devices such as tablets, laptop notepads and smartphones.
There are a couple of options when it comes to a mobile optimized site. It’s possible to redesign an existing website to better accommodate mobile users. Alternatively, a new site customized for mobile devices may be developed. Ideally, it’s better to have one site designed for traditional browsing and another optimized for mobile devices.
The reason for this is that redesigning an existing site will essentially require developing a new site anyway. Changing a few characteristics of a traditional site isn’t adequate for simplifying the function and structure for mobile optimization. Also, if you strip back your normal site for mobile optimization you essentially lose the added functionality and information that has been available to your desktop viewers. To ensure that your business can access the highest potential consumer base it’s ideal to have both a mobile optimized site and a traditional desktop site.
Some of the recommendations when creating a mobile optimized site include:
- Simple website layout and design.
- Create and submit a mobile sitemap.
- Optimized site performance to limit bounce rate
- Ensure mobile URLs are compatible with mobile devices (e.g. XHTML Basic 1.1, WML 1.3 and XHTML MP 1.2)
- W3C compliance
- Incorporate unique mobile features
- Ensure that the mobile site is not limited to mobile devices
- Register with Google Places
- Avoid Flash
- Externalize all CSS
- Prioritize content
When correctly developed a mobile optimized site will display information quickly and will be easy to read. Not all mobile devices have the same capacity to display information. It’s essential that the website renders properly across all mobile browsers. The site needs to display correctly on Droid, iPhone, Blackberry and so forth. This can be difficult, although through keeping websites simple it is possible.
Another key design factor in mobile customized websites is to have a clear call to action. Only vital information should be displayed and this should always appear at the top of the page. The aim is to deliver the user with the information they require as fast as possible to minimize bounce rates.
When it comes to mobile website SEO campaigns the same principles apply to traditional sites in terms of using keywords to create title tags, headers and meta-titles. Search engines have a separate indexing category for mobile content. Given that there are fewer sites optimized for mobiles, the mobile index is smaller than for traditional websites. This means that with the right SEO campaign it’s possible to capture very high page rankings for your business.