According to research done by PEW Research Center in 2019, 86% of Americans own a smartphone. What does this mean for businesses? It means that there is a high chance that your audience is going to be looking at your website on their handheld smartphone instead of just on a computer screen. The dimensions of their smartphone are way different from that of a computer and therefore your website needs to reflect these differences. In order to help with this it is best to research your specific audience and if they do in fact use their smartphone to view your website more than a desktop than you should first design a mobile version of your website and then adapt it to a desktop version. There are a few things to keep in mind when optimizing your website for mobile devices.
BEWARE OF POP UPS
Many websites utilize pop ups in order to get the viewer to subscribe to a mailing list or to promote an ongoing special. However, when optimizing your site for a mobile device you need to beware of how you use these pop ups. This is not only to make sure the user is able to navigate your site easily but also because Google actually has rules when it comes to pop ups on mobile sites.
- Non-Obstructive: Any pop ups utilized may only cover up a small portion of the screen and must be as non obstructive as possible
- Easy to Close: Pop ups must have a clearly marked button for users to exit out of the pop up
- Exemption: Pop ups containing necessary info such as login boxs, age verification forms, or cookie notifications are exempt to the prior two rules
OVERALL USER EXPERIENCE
When it comes to overall user experience there are a few areas we need to touch on. These are important pieces to keep in mind when designing your website because if your website does not work well or is too confusing for an individual to navigate then you will lose out on business.
- Flash: This one is simple but crucial, do not use flash. Most phones do not work with flash and it will also slow down your load time.
- Images: Make sure each image is optimized for mobile because you do not want an image to be cut off on mobile or take up too much space.
- Load time: Test that every piece of the website loads quickly or else you will most likely lose the viewer. People are impatient and unless they specifically need your brand they tend to shop around which means if your site won’t load they will skip over you.
- Readability and clickability: Double check that buttons are large enough for someone to click on easily and that text is large enough to read without having to zoom in. Also, use standard fonts so they are easy to read.
To make it easier to optimize your website for mobile you can use responsive themes when you utilize WordPress. This means that your content will adjust on its own depending on the screen size. Utilizing a responsive theme helps to take the guess work out of optimization. This helps so that you don’t end up making a website that only looks good on one device. Unfortunately when you use other softwares such as Wix you will have to manually move things around and edit the site in order to make it look good on both mobile and desktop.
TESTING YOUR SITE
One of the best ways to test if your site is mobile ready, is to use a free tool from Google called the Mobile-Friendly Test. All you have to do is insert your URL and hit test and Google will run their tests and analyze your site. Google will then tell you whether your site is mobile friendly or not. If they find any issues within your site they will let you know so that you can make any necessary changes. Even if your site is deemed mobile ready they may still have some advice for making your site run smoother. Another way to test your site is by getting advice from outside sources. Ask your friends, family, and coworkers to go on your site using their various smartphones and test each piece. This is helpful because they can help you find any bugs you may have missed.
When in doubt simplicity is key. You do not want to clutter a page on your website with a bunch of pieces that might not work on the user’s phone or that take up so much space it is hard to navigate your website. Just because your website looks great on a desktop computer does not always mean that it will look great on a small phone screen. With smartphones becoming more and more popular making sure your website is optimized for mobile devices is crucial. A mobile optimized website is a standard, key element to make sure your SEO strategy is successful, so let us know if you have any questions or need any help in this process.