Hack of the month: How to optimise your website for mobile
Does your business’s website look as good on mobile as it does on desktop? We’re hoping the answer is yes, but according to research, only 6% of small business websites are, which is problematic as mobile consumption, browsing and purchasing looks set to continue to rise. To make sure your business doesn’t lose out on potential profits, we teamed up with B60, a leading mobile development company, and Buffalo, a mobile web design service, to compile a guide of simple tips that you can use to build a mobile site.
Why it matters now
Earlier this year, ‘mobilegeddon’ struck, ensuring that mobile optimised sites are given priority in mobile search over sites that Google deems to be “not mobile friendly”. In the months that have passed since the updates, studies reveal that the impact of the change has been significant, with huge swathes of sites seeing a reduction in traffic.
Some of the most common mistakes include mobile friendly sites that are not responsive enough, for example, not having homepage or click-to-call buttons.
Another big mistake is poor responsive design. This means logos encroaching onto phone numbers and other content or forms not working correctly.
Also there is little need to serve all the same content to a mobile browser as you would to a desktop browser. It slows loading times and can lead to a convoluted browsing experience.
To help you avoid these mistakes, follow this step-by-step guide from the guys at B60 and Buffalo:
This will let you know in brief if your site is mobile friendly or otherwise. The test does not identify poor design but will go as far as letting you know if Google and other search engines deem the site mobile friendly for ranking purposes.
2) Refine your user experience (get your design right!)
If you pass Google’s test, then the next step is ensuring your site is easy to navigate. Things that will make a difference include having a click-to-call back button and clear page identification. It’s also important to deliver relevant content to mobile users, for example opening times and contact information.
For mobile design inspiration, check out these brilliant examples of layouts. You can also use online mobile site building programmes to help you strengthen the user experience of your site. Duda, for example, is an easy to use tool with preset formats and personalised insight capabilities.
Make sure you have tested your site on several devices. With over 5000 smartphones and tablets on the market it is very important to ensure your site renders well on the most common at least – iOS and Android devices are a good start.
There are lots of free and low-cost testing tools that you can use online. It’s a good shout to use a tool that has the option to check what your website will look like on different devices, can test against web best practices – including usability and efficiency – and make recommendations for your needs. A few great tools that you could try include Gomez, MobiReady, Cross Browser Testing, and Mobile Test.
4) Market research
Speak to clients and prospects and ask them what they want and need from a browsing experience. Sometimes a five minute conversation with someone outside the firm and someone who is not technical can reveal quite a lot about prospective customers’ browsing behaviour. Get opinions on whether they are happy with the loading times; is the site easy to navigate; what can be done to make it better; and primarily was it a good experience? To help, you can use questionnaire programmes such as Survey Monkey to gather these opinions in an easy to digest format.
5) Make use of analytics
In business, nothing speaks louder than cold hard facts. Analytics will tell you what your mobile traffic does on your desktop and site; this will help to fine-tune your mobile experience. Google Analytics is a firm favourite with most website owners, but there are others too. Localytics has heat mapping and screen flow functions, which serves to help you assess which parts of your site are performing well and why. Countly allows you to analyse your site’s visitors according to a variety of segments, and Flurry Analytics allows you to customise your analytics dashboard and monitor the experience users have through different pathways of your website.