Smartphone usage is growing — so much so that, by 2014, smartphone users are estimated to outnumber desktop computer users. Mobile users generally need Web content on the go, so if they can’t find what they need on your website, they may go to your competitor instead.
Mobile users have a much smaller screen with which to view your website, which means your standard website just won’t work on a 3- or 5-inch mobile screen. A mobile website that displays crucial information, such as hours of operation, location, and menu items, will satisfy these users. Displaying the information in a sleek interface with legible font makes your site readable. Once you have a rudimentary website with basic search engine optimization, conduct search term research to understand what your visitors are looking for when they come to your site. Then, optimize your site by following these tips.
1. Have a fast site.
Mobile users need information on the go. If they cannot load your website quickly, they’ll get impatient and look elsewhere. Generally, removing unnecessary elements will speed up site loading time. Clean code also improves load time.
2. Omit Flash.
The Flash plugin is not compatible with all mobile devices. Using Flash means that a percentage of users will be unable to view your site, so ensure you have an HTML alternative and set your site to redirect mobile traffic to that site.
3. Stick to the screen size.
Users of mobile devices don’t have much screen real estate, and the onus is on you to make your content fit. Design with your users in mind so they do not have to scroll to find the information. If you don’t, they’ll rely on search engine submissions and not your content.
4. Link telephone numbers.
Linking telephone numbers requires a snippet of HTML, but goes a long way toward getting you free goodwill among users. Linked telephone numbers allow your users to click on the number to generate a dialog box that asks if they want to call.
5. Avoid images.
This goes back to screen size. Images simply aren’t necessary in mobile websites.
There are a lot of free plugins, tools and templates that can help you get started with mobile website design. This is one area where blending in with the crowd is a good thing. You definitely don’t want to stand out for your poor mobile site.