With each passing day, consumers are going increasingly more mobile with their web use. In fact, according to the latest statistics, mobile devices accounted for nearly 55% of worldwide web traffic in the first quarter of 2021.
And the statistics demonstrating the power of mobile in today’s marketplace certainly do not stop there. Just to name a few:
- Mobile devices now account for nearly two-thirds of the total time consumers spend on the internet.
- 40% of consumers on mobile devices will move on to another search result if the one they initially choose is not mobile-friendly.
- More than 90% of consumers who search for a product or service on a mobile device will make a purchase within a day.
Combine all of these with the fact that a website’s mobile page load speeds now play a major role in Google’s SERP (search engine results page) rankings, and it is imperative that businesses ensure their websites are as mobile-friendly as possible. And while there are a number of tactics for boosting the mobile-friendliness of a business website, some are simply more powerful than others.
To help businesses make the mobile-friendly move with their websites, here are eight steps a business can take to ensure that its website offers a better online experience to mobile users:
- Go mobile-responsive: This is the one move that is the most likely to make mobile users rejoice. When a website employs a responsive design, its elements adjust to accommodate the screen size it is being viewed on, whether it be a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone. And because mobile-responsiveness is such an important factor today, most website designers and pre-built templates already incorporate responsive elements into their designs. This makes mobile-responsive design fairly easy to accomplish.
When users view a responsive site on different devices, they will see the same content across all of them, but it will be displayed on each device in a way that optimizes its appearance on the particular screen being used. For example, an image that appears within a block of text on a desktop will often appear above that copy block on a mobile device. This allows images to be displayed larger and more prominently, making it easier to see their details.
- Keep your content concise: Keeping most website content short and easily digestible is a good rule of thumb no matter what device a website visitor is using. But it is especially critical for visitors using mobile devices as the ideal mobile experience requires minimal scrolling to find the information being sought. To make it easy for mobile visitors to find what they are looking for, businesses should put each web page’s main objective front and center. Further, they should avoid large, gray copy blocks by keeping text entries as short and sweet as possible. Another best practice is to shorten any forms so that they are only capturing the most critical information (rather than running potential customers off by seeking too many unnecessary details).
- Step up your speed: Websites tend to load significantly faster on desktops and laptops than on mobile devices. This is largely because the former tend to have faster processors along with home or business internet connections as opposed to depending on a cellular network. And for this reason, mobile visitors tend to be less patient with slow page loads, which are bound to result in high bounce rates when especially lengthy. (In fact, according to Google, over 50% of mobile visitors will abandon sites that take more than 3 seconds to load.)
To foster faster loading speeds, businesses can take a range of steps with their websites. Some of the most powerful ones include reducing image file sizes, optimizing images, minimizing redirects, enabling compression, harnessing browser-caching and improving server response time.
- Ensure proper button size/placement: Buttons that perform sufficiently when visiting a site on desktops and laptops do not always do the same on mobile devices. In fact, buttons that are too small or are tucked away in hard-to-reach places can sometimes be all but impossible to click when viewing on a mobile device.
To ensure easy site navigability for mobile users, all buttons should be sized large enough for simple clicking. They should be placed a considerable distance from other buttons and clickable links, and situated in spots that are nearly effortless for mobile users to reach. (Ideally, this would be in the bottom two-thirds of the screen or on the side of the screen opposite the thumb.)
- Look into your links: Similar to the buttons mentioned above, text-based hyperlinks that are placed too close together on a web page can make it a challenge for mobile users to select the correct one, especially when using their thumbs to navigate the selections. This makes it important to ensure that such links are adequately spread out on each page such that, when users aims to click them, they have no trouble landing on the desired link. Further, it is also a good idea to make sure that any outbound links are leading to mobile-optimized web pages.
- Use a friendly font: Even when a font size is easily legible when navigating the web on a desktop or a laptop, it can often still be challenging to make out on a mobile device without zooming in. For optimal readability, businesses should select web-safe fonts and ensure that they are sized in a way that can be easily read when viewed on mobile devices. The key here is to test for legibility on a range of mobile devices, then bump the text size up as needed to be sure it can be read without trouble.
- Abandon autocorrect in forms: Most internet users have experienced the frustration that can come with web-based forms that attempt to correct the spelling of their name, street address, etc. by replacing them with common words. While this can be frustrating on laptops and desktops, it can be downright maddening when a site visitor is on a mobile device, where such data entry tends to take much longer.
To eliminate these frustrations and to prevent user abandonment (not to mention lost leads), businesses should make sure to shut off autocorrect for each form field on their website that requests information such as names and addresses. (In HTML, this is done by ensuring that “autocorrect=off” appears in the code.) And, as mentioned above, forms should also be kept as short as possible, requesting only mission-critical information from consumers.
- Test … then test some more: Testing is, of course, critical when web pages are being built and launched. Especially at this stage in the website-construction process, it should be done often and across a range of different device types.
But the testing should not end when the website launches. To ensure that a business website’s functionality and mobile-friendliness remain intact, businesses should occasionally pull up their website on the gamut of device types to see if anything on the site is hard to comprehend or if any actions present a challenge to complete. It is also a good idea to consider hiring professional usability testers to review a site’s functionality every once in a while. Regardless of how it is accomplished, regular testing is one of the best ways to be sure that a business website delivers a good experience for all visitors, whether they are on a desktop, a laptop or a mobile device.
Need help identifying any hurdles to mobile-friendliness on your business’s website? Especially considering that high Google SERP rankings are among the top motivations for a business site’s mobile friendliness, Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test page is a great resource for web developers. Once a website’s URL is entered in the page’s form field, the tool assesses the site’s mobile-friendliness and offers recommendations for site improvement.
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