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“It’s only a mobile phone! What’s the point in making a website for that? You can’t see much on them anyway? If they’re interested they’ll look at it on their computer.”
What are we talking about? We are talking about how a website looks when someone uses a mobile phone or tablet to view it. Many, many small businesses have not chosen to make their website mobile-friendly, but does it really matter? Do small businesses really need to spend time and money to make a more design-responsive website?
Before making any decision that could cost money, a business is wise to look at whether there is a demand for what they are considering doing, but most importantly, whether it will have a positive, beneficial effect on their business and hence on their profits.
When the first cellphones were introduced back in the mid 1990’s, it was hard to imagine that these heavy, clumsy, over sized ‘portable’ phones would dramatically evolve into a tiny device that fits into the hand and would be capable of letting people instantly communicate verbally and visually globally with one another.
What was once science fiction is very much now science fact. All manner of daily activities are logged, recorded and shared on these devices. And once people had the capability to access the internet on their phone, regardless of where they were, smartphone development really began to accelerate. This portability has led to the rise of the mobile device but the decline in traditional desktop computers sales.
If you still need proof of how popular smartphones and mobile devices are, The Guardian newspaper reported in July 2013 that 90% of all phones sold were smartphones, with over 1.8 billion smartphones in existence at that time. Leading social media site Facebook recognized the importance of being mobile-friendly to its users. Because people were posting details of their lives as they lived them, it was crucial Facebook was able to offer a smooth and easy user experience, which could fit into the portable devices people carried with them. Facebook’s designers claim it can be viewed and used smoothly on around 7,000 different portable devices. The fact that there are so many different mobile devices is mind boggling.
There can be no doubt that if you want your business to prosper, you need to keep up with how people are shopping and where they are going to shop. Gone are the days when most people took time out of their evening or weekend to sit browsing on their desktop computer. People can access the web at anytime and anywhere they can get a mobile signal. It’s no longer about how a site looks; it’s all about speed – how fast they can get the information they are looking for?
People are internet window-shopping whenever they have a spare 5 or 10 minutes waiting for a bus, sitting in their car, on the park bench in their lunch hour or in the coffee shop. They don’t want to look at a pretty site design. They want a responsive site that loads quickly (less than 5 seconds), is easy to navigate around on their small device and a site where it is quick and simple to find the information they want.
That’s easy…just have a look! You may have looked at your site on your computer when your designer first finished it, but that may have been a number of years ago now, before mobile technology really came to the fore. You need to see if you have a responsive web design that will adapt itself seamlessly to the main percentage of mobile gadgets.
Take a look on your own phone, as well as on other mobile devices. Type in your web address and see what comes up. Notice:
If your site isn’t there in full and quickly, then you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, and that can be a big concern for your business. Over 80% of all local searches done on the internet are now done on mobile devices. Almost 50% of 18-25 year old website visitors consider their mobile phone as their primary computer, and that number will only go up, not down, as children grow up with more advanced technology. So if your customer is looking for you, the response of your website to their mobile device will determine whether or not they even browse your site.
There is no need to panic just yet. There is nothing here that can’t be changed or improved upon. Here are some really useful tips to consider when looking to make your website more mobile-friendly:
It might seem an obvious thing, but it is sometimes overlooked. There is no point creating a mobile site if nobody goes to it. When someone types in your web address on a mobile device, they don’t use a separate mobile URL. It’s the same one as your main website. So make sure your server is set up to recognise mobile devices and to automatically direct them through to the mobile version.
It’s pointless creating a mobile site if you cram it so full of content that the user has to wade through screen after screen of text to try and pick out what they want. Because your information is being viewed on a much smaller screen, realistically you can’t add all the in depth information you would have on a site viewed on a computer.
Your visitor hasn’t come to your site to learn more about you. They are there because they want something specific – your address, contact number or a product. So don’t cram each small page with as much text as you can get on, but add less (but more relevant) information to your mobile site in a condensed form. You want to make your visitor work less, not more, to find what they are looking for. If there is something that needs further explanation, like a full product description, then don’t be afraid to add in a link back to your full site.
It’s not just the content on your site that needs to be trimmed down. You need to look at simplifying how your visitor navigates around the mobile site. No-one wants to have to click here, then there, swipe and scroll and click again just to find your telephone number. Consider why visitors will use your mobile site and then put useful information within easy reach and the minimum of clicks.
The way your navigation looks is also important. Users want to be able to scan the home screen and immediately see where they need to be to get what they want. So keep your navigation clear and concise – don’t hide your navigation behind images. It is too confusing especially when they don’t have the roll over or hover features. It may look great on your main site, but it will annoy, frustrate and finally put off many visitors through the lack of friendly usability.
The rule to remember is mobile users have less time to talk and want to use that time to get the information they want and go. They certainly don’t want to have to fill out a 20 field opt-in form just to get a little information. The more fields a user has to fill out, the more unhappy they become.
When you need information from your mobile visitor, make sure you only add fields that are ABSOLUTELY necessary, and not what type of movies they like or whether they drink a brand of cola. You will engage your visitor more by giving them what they want quickly than by getting them to give you non-essential information.
Just because your mobile site is going to be viewed on a small screen doesn’t mean you have to leave out the most important thing – Your Brand Identity! When someone comes to your site, whether it’s the mobile site or your full website, they should be able to identify it immediately as yours. So use your corporate colors and logo together with your brand style on both sites so your visitor is confident both sites belong to the same company – yours!
How many times have you tried to tap the screen on your phone and missed the tiny button you were aiming at? Fingers come in all shapes and sizes. You wouldn’t expect a 6 foot 3 inch wrestler to have delicate slender fingers.
You may not be able to give people the option to change the size of button, but you can increase the button size to ensure visitors have a much easier time selecting the button they want.
The other thing you need to make bigger is the font size. It might seem logical that because you are using a smaller device, the text should be smaller too. But, in fact, the opposite is true. Because everything is being scaled down, you need to increase the size of font, otherwise your content will be unreadable. But this can work to an advantage. You can highlight features or areas of the screen by the selective use of color and larger, bolder fonts to pick out certain words and help the user understand the page more quickly.
It is easy to assume that visitors to your mobile site come there for exactly the same reasons as visitors to your mobile site, and so you arrange your site information in the same way. But is that actually the most likely explanation?
Visitors using a computer at home do not necessarily want the same thing as someone who visits your site on a mobile device. If someone local to your business is visiting your mobile site, they are most likely away from home using their mobile device because they want to know something more physical about your company. They could want to know your address or what hours you are open so they can make a personal visit. Or they may wish to contact you to make a booking or ask a question. They may even want to know what services you provide.
Whatever you eventually decide are the reasons someone would use your mobile site, make sure those pieces of information about your business are some of the first things that they can see and access.
Once you have made all the adjustments and changes to your mobile site, don’t forget to check everything works. Just because you can see your click-to-call function pops up, it doesn’t automatically follow that it will connect to your number. So check every pop-up, link and interactive function to ensure not only that they work, but that they work the way you want them to. Nothing is so frustrating to your potential customers as something that doesn’t work.
The whole aim of making your website more mobile-friendly is to increase the positive experience of your users. If people can come to your site and get the information they need quickly and easily, they will return back the next time confident that you have what they want.
Very few mobile browsers return to a site that is slow to load, complicated or makes them spend ages hunting down what they need. There are plenty of other businesses that do have mobile-friendly sites and they will move on to those sites without a backward glance.
By putting these guidelines into practice, you can make your user’s experience a positive one for them and a profitable one for you.
Every morning my alarm goes off at 6:00am.
I would love to say that I jump out of bed full of the joys of spring but that would be a lie.
After thumping my alarm clock the very next thing I do, before I even get out of bed, is reach over for my iPhone and check my email.
I don’t just do it once. I check it again during breakfast and then again on the way to work. In fact I have probably checked my mail 5 or 6 times before I have even turned my computer on at the office.
Am I alone? I don’t think so. I am sure that most other people with Smartphone follow a very similar routine.
Almost every mobile user has a Smartphone these days and the number of people reading their email on a mobile device is increasing all of the time.
What this means is that you need to be creating emails that are mobile friendly. That is an email that displays perfectly no matter if a person is reading it on a desktop computer, a tablet or a mobile device.
If that sounds complicated or daunting don’t worry. It isn’t. However, it is vitally important that you take action make sure that your company emails are mobile-friendly.
To keep you right, here are some simple steps that you can make to ensure that your emails can be read by all of your customers no matter what device they are using to read the email.
All of your emails should be simple and concise but it is even more important when designing them to be read on mobiles. You only have a small screen at your disposal so you need to keep your email design very clean and simple.
Simple layouts work best on mobiles because of the limited space allowed on the screens. Using a single column clean template will work better and be much more flexible on all screen sizes than having a harder to navigate and view 2 or 3 template. Your readers don’t want to have to scroll or zoom their way round the screen to read your email. Not only will they not bother reading it but they will not see the call to action either. It will be a waste of time sending emails out as they won’t be read.
To get the best success from your email marketing campaigns you must tell your readers what you want them to do. For example are you telling them about a special offer and want them to visit the web page? If so, tell them. Do you want them to click the buy button? Again, tell them.
It is vital to put the call to action in a prominent place where it can be seen. Make sure your link or buy button is easily seen. Whatever call to action you want them to make, it must be loud and clear.
Don’t be tempted to confuse things by having multiple calls to action. It will complicate things and look messy. Remember that your goal is to be simple and concise. On a mobile, your customer’s finger is the new mouse so you need to make sure that your links or buy buttons are easy to click.
There is no point sending out an email if it can’t be read. We recommend that the minimum size font that you want to use is 11pt for body text and 22pt for headlines.
Another point to bear in mind is that a lot of people turn the brightness down on their mobiles to conserve battery life so always try to use dark font colours on a light (preferably white) background to make the email easily read.
It is best only to use images that are essential to your email. The reason being is that some Smartphone’s turn images off by default. If your email has a lot of images all your customers might see is a lot of white space or indicators showing where the images should be.
So use images by all means but we always recommend that you include image descriptions (alt text) to let your readers see what the image is even if it is not displayed.
Before you send an email out to your subscribers it might be a good idea to see a preview first by sending it to yourself. If you are happy with and it looks great, send it out.
As you can see, it is not too complicated but by investing a little thought and work into your email design it will make it much easier for your subscribers to read your email no matter where they are or what device they are using.
You might feel confident to make these changes yourself but if you are not or simply don’t have the time to adapt your email design please contact us. That is what we are here for and will be glad to help.
We are passionate about helping every local business in our area to succeed online. Internet marketing isn’t the future. It is happening now and it really makes us sad to see local companies either ignoring the changes going on, or worse, being so daunted that they are scared to do anything.
Every local business that we help to thrive online is amazed adapting their business online is not as complicated or expensive as they thought. They love the fact that it has given their business a new lease of life. Not only do they have a presence on the high street but they are gaining brand new customers all round the world who would normally not have heard of them.
That is what makes the internet so exciting and you can be part of that. Email and mobile marketing are just a couple of areas of our expertise.We have many more marketing strategies that will excite you.
We look forward to hearing from you and sharing them with you.