No matter where you are or what time of the day it is, everywhere you look you’ll see someone on their smartphone – on the bus, in the car (a big no-no!), walking down the street, at a restaurant, at work and at home. It’s plain as day that the smartphone has changed the way we live – we are connected around the clock to friends and family, colleagues and bosses, and businesses and their products. If you’re running a business, especially an online one, and your website is not yet mobile-friendly, we’ve created this How-To to get you mobile-ready.
The research is undeniable: there is a major upward trend in internet use through mobile technology. A survey by Pew Internet found that 63% of Americans own a smartphone, 7% of whom are “smartphone-dependent”, meaning they access the internet only via their smartphones, rather than such antiquated technologies like the desktop computer, laptop and tablet. By 2016, there will be over 2 billion smartphone users worldwide. The sooner you optimise your website for mobile viewing and use, the sooner you will capitalise on engaging with the mobile-first and expanding your customer base.
Although it’s recommended that businesses take advantage of this newer way of making products and services accessible to the world, it should not be a decision that you consider lightly. You need to make your online business ready for not just a few more customers but for potentially thousands or millions of new customers, depending on the scope and range of your products or services.
To prime your business for the modifications you will most likely need to make to your website, you can run a quick diagnostic by asking yourself the following questions:
- Does it take a reasonable amount of time for my page to load on a smartphone?
- Can my customers view my site as is on their smartphone without having to zoom or scroll sideways?
- Can my customers click on links with their thumb and actually click on the correct link?
- Is all the content clearly visible?
- Is my site easy-to-use and intuitive?
If you answered “No” to even one of these questions, then you should consider optimising your website for all of your potential and existing smartphone-using customers. Luckily, there are many strategies available to make your website more mobile-ready. Here are some top considerations:
Avoid Flash and large images
Flash might look impressive, but your customers will become annoyed if they run into any issues viewing the content. A lot of Smartphones, like the iPhone, are incompatible with Flash, and will always have problems loading the content. Furthermore, large images can also take a while to load. Keep in mind that most people abandon a website if it takes longer than 5 seconds to load. Not only are your profits at risk of taking a hit, but your credibility as a mobile-friendly business is as well.
Make phone numbers and directions tap-able
Especially if you are a local business, you want your customers to be able to pull up your phone number or map coordinates on their phone so they can easily contact or find you. It goes without saying that you should also make sure that your Google map listings are up-to-date. The last thing you need is the wrong address and directions, leading your customers astray, never to come looking for you again.
Consider Responsive Web Design (RWD)
It’s good practice to adopt this mode of web design so that your website can be optimally viewed across various devices and platforms. The more people can enjoy your website with ease, the better your chances of gaining more customers, readers or service users.
Think about the need for speed
As mentioned earlier, customers will abandon your website if it takes too long to load. A good way to ensure that the speed of your website is up to par is to use a hosted website or e-commerce solution that has been designed to load quickly.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of tips but rather a starting point – implementing even just one of these tips will get you started on the path to attracting and engaging with both mobile-only and omni-channel customers. Customers who are better able to access your products from whichever device they choose make for happy shoppers and even happier businesses.
Small Biz Tip: even if you’re only a small local business, you can still reap the benefits of enhancing your website for a seamless mobile experience. If you’re afraid that it might cost too much to make these changes, network with other small mobile-friendly businesses to see what they’ve been doing with their websites, and make similar changes without having to hire a professional.
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