The internet has changed a lot over the span of its existence. With smart phones getting faster, more portable, and easier to use and access information, mobile web browsing is swiftly overtaking desktop web browsing usage. This will vary based on your industry. For example, for businesses that primarily target B2B web traffic, they will likely still see a majority of their web traffic coming in from desktop users during normal office hours. Businesses that target the average consumer will likely see that their users browse their websites most often via mobile devices.
Best Practices for Optimizing Your Website for Mobile
Mobile optimization is paramount to the success of your business. Even if your business currently sees a majority of its traffic coming from desktop users, it’s safe to say that will change. In fact, in 2016, mobile (and tablet) internet usage worldwide surpassed desktop internet usage.
Where do you begin?
If you’ve decided it’s time to take a good hard look at your mobile web design, that’s fantastic – you’re on the right track! But even if you think your website looks good on a mobile device, there’s most likely some things you could do to make it more mobile-friendly and therefor bring you more sales.
1. It’s time for a website redesign.
Don’t waste time trying to make your existing design work for mobile. It’s probably time for you to revamp and perhaps even rebrand your website. Websites can use a refresh and design every couple of years to keep them fresh, up to date with the latest standards, and visually appealing to potential customers. Redesigns aren’t cheaper, but neither is losing customers to your competitor with their more attractive and more usable website. If a vast majority of people find you through your website, consider increasing your budget so that you can afford a website redesign that’s sure to provide a return on investment.
Focus on responsive web design. When creating an interface, you want it to be familiar to users no matter what website they visit on. If you supply a completely different design for mobile than your desktop site, you risk losing brand and website recognition, plus it’s just more difficult to use.
Focus on search engine optimization. A good website developer will design your template, no matter what platform it runs on, with search engines in mind. Your goal is to increase the discoverability of your website. Use the redesign as an opportunity to boost it, but it must be done right by folks that know what they’re doing.
That brings me to another point on the redesign – the designers you hire. Ask to see their work and make sure they’re willing to do whatever it takes, in as many revisions as reasonable, to accomplish your goal. If they’re not, find a designer that will. There are plenty of website designers who proudly show off their past work and will truly care about your satisfaction on this project. A good designer will also test his work and ideally spot errors before you do.
2. Focus on your website loading speeds.
Websites that look graphically appealing typically have a lot of colors, images, fancy fonts, and videos to load in. Those video backgrounds look pretty nice on websites, yeah? There is, however, a balance between a beautiful website design and a website that loads at a reasonable speed.
You can minify the coding languages on your website. Basically, this removes spacing and unnecessary comments and code that aren’t needed to load the website. Believe it or not, this can speed up a website tremendously. You’ll also want to consider reducing the amounts of scripts being loaded on your website. If you can sacrifice a script, do so – especially if it’s an external one.
Run your website through a speed tester and see what advice they recommend for speeding up the website. I use GTmetrix and have to say that it works pretty well. Your goal should be an A grade on the test and you should hope that the website loads within 2-4 seconds for a better score.
3. Keep it simple & easy to navigate.
Some websites have too little, some have too much. Finding the right happy medium for your audience is key to keeping people on your website for longer. The idea is to keep the content that engages your users, and ditch the content that rarely does. You may have to run some tests on your website to achieve this – I’d recommend HotJar for a free solution of seeing some heat maps of what users are looking at and clicking on at your website.
4. Test your website – and test it thoroughly!
The biggest mistake that people make when developing a website is not testing it, or not testing it nearly enough! That doesn’t mean just your computer and your smart phone – think about all of the devices there are in the world. You obviously can’t test them all, but you should try to test the popular ones. Google Chrome’s Developer tools help you test what a website looks like and how it functions on various devices. Just toggle the device toolbar and select your device. I usually try to test the following:
- iPhone X (mobile)
- Samsung Galaxy S5 (mobile)
- iPad (tablet)
- Internet Explorer web browser (desktop)
- Windows Edge web browser (desktop)
- Google Chrome web browser (desktop)
- Safari web browser (desktop)
Not all of these can be tested in Google Chrome, but you can test the first 3 mobile and tablet devices to adjust the screen size to the right proportion. The remainder of testing will need to be done using a computer that has access to the web browsers specified. If you don’t have a Mac it makes it hard to test for it, but if it’s working great on everything else there’s a likely chance that your website is fine on Safari too. It’s just better to not assume if you can help it!
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Once you’ve identified your plan for going mobile, think about how you can improve it even further. Should less scrolling be required? Should buttons be larger and easier to see? Should they be front and center above the fold on the website? These are questions you should ask while owning a website. There’s always room for improvement on any website. Tools like HotJar and Google Analytics will help you to determine which pages and what content is performing the best for your target audience.
Looking for a digital marketing specialist in Tampa? Contact Brian