As we start off the new year, now is a great time to take stock of your current mobile website. If you are like many small business owners, there are likely some features and functionality you’ll need to add or adjust in order to provide the best mobile experience going forward.
While there are several factors that go into great mobile website design, today we’re going to discuss the top five that are universal to all mobile websites regardless of your industry or niche.
If you incorporate these five elements in your mobile website design for 2017, you’ll increase engagement and keep people on your mobile website longer – a great way to increase overall conversions.
Number 5: Site Readability
One of the biggest issues that most non-optimized sites have is that their text is simply too small on mobile. Having to zoom in and then scroll from side to side creates a frustrating experience for website visitors.
In many instances, people may not bother to zoom in at all which can lead to lost sales as they seek out a site that is optimized for mobile.
Note that readability extends beyond the text and includes product images, videos and forms. To increase opt-ins on mobile, use streamlined forms that reduce the amount of information required to the essentials.
Number 4: Social Sharing
If you engage in any sort of content marketing – blog posts, content curation, etc. – enable mobile-friendly social sharing to maximize organic reach. If you sell products or services directly online, having social sharing on individual product or service pages can help you to garner more customers as website visitors share what they find with their friends.
Keep in mind that the most shared items are often images and multimedia such as videos, so be sure to choose engaging imagery and videos that display well on mobile devices.
Number 3: Clear Navigation
Because screen real estate is at a premium on mobile devices, menus are often minimized and represented by three parallel horizontal lines, also known as a hamburger icon. When using this standard practice, make sure that all essential navigation is readily viewable at a tap. Multiple nested menus should not “fly out” but instead slide down or use some other feature to make best use of limited screen real estate.
Take care not to take away essential functionality when simplifying navigation, as most people expect to have the same or similar functionality on both mobile and desktop platforms. Keep all navigation sized so that it’s easy to tap, and you’ll avoid user frustration and site abandonment.
Number 2: Tap to Call/Map/Save
Mobile devices come equipped with functionality that is not always available on the desktop. For example, being able to tap and call your business directly is a feature that people expect on mobile sites. Likewise, being able to call up a map that will give them directions versus just a static image is also a general expectation. Enrich your mobile website with capabilities native to most smartphones and people will naturally make use of those features to get in touch.
Number 1: Speed
The top feature your mobile website must have in 2017 is speed. With 5G speeds expected to roll out in the near future, mobile websites are expected to be just as fast as desktop. In short, most mobile visitors are not going to wait more than a second or two for your site to load – if it doesn’t, they are going to move on.
Errors in coding can cause display issues that will slow your site to a crawl on mobile, even if desktop is only minimally affected. Ensure that your mobile website is properly coded and has the ability to load pages quickly. This will increase user engagement and ensure that you don’t lose a sale due to poor site performance.
As a bonus, fast-loading websites are more likely to get conversions because users associate fast speeds with security and trust, which in turn makes them feel more comfortable shopping with your business via mobile.
Bonus: Features to Avoid in 2017
In the ever-changing world of mobile optimization, there are some features that are best-avoided, even if they may have performed well in the past. As you revamp your website in 2017, avoid these two features listed below.
Popups and interstitials (full-page ads that load prior to the webpage content) are not recommended on mobile devices because they interrupt the user experience and unlike on the desktop, it can be frustrating or impossible to dismiss them. Google has reported that they will start penalizing mobile sites that use popups and interstitials beginning in January 2017.
To avoid having your organic rank on mobile devices drop significantly, automatic popups should be modified to take up a small portion of the mobile screen, or eliminated completely. However, you can still use other options for engagement such as in-line ads or forms.
Autoplay is a definite “no-no” when it comes to mobile websites even now, because their use can drain the data plans of your website visitors. If you have video or music on your site, present it using a standard player and let the user control when the media plays.
This year is full of opportunities for improvement in mobile website design. Take these options into consideration in 2017 and start the new year ahead of your competition.
Need a new mobile-ready site for 2017?
If you need help with getting your website mobile-ready, get in touch with one of our friendly professionals and let us go over your needs. We’ll help you to improve the quality of your mobile website right now and keep it running smoothly in the years to come.