Building More Effective Mobile Pages

With increasing frequency, people are opting to use mobile devices when browsing the web. In fact, half of all web surfing is done with a smartphone or tablet. Half!

It’s because of this ever increasing usage that having a good mobile site is important. In terms of general web traffic, half is done on mobile devices, but some industries will see even more traffic from mobile visitors. This is especially important for eCommerce sites, as younger generations are using smart devices to shop.

This trend will only grow as more people in the world use mobile devices in their day to day life and computers are used less and less. Building more effective mobile pages is becoming even more important, both because consumers are using it more and because it’s more important to Google.

Mobile Friendly Functionality

The first, and biggest, part of being successful with mobile pages is how it looks on a mobile screen. Nobody like going to a site on their phone that only has the desktop version. This type of interface often requires zooming in to read text, having difficulty clicking on links and overall an unpleasant experience.

There are a few solutions to making a site mobile friendly. Below are the Google recommended ways to making a mobile friendly site.

  • Build a separate version of your site for mobile devices that replaces the desktop version when people access it from a phone or tablet.  
  • Add plugins to your site that change your coding to make the site more mobile friendly.
  • Having a responsive web design that adapts the page to the size of the window viewing it, including screen sizes and smaller browser windows on computers.

This all matters to how people even see your site on their mobile devices. It’s much more likely somebody will bounce away from your site if it looks unfriendly or difficult to navigate.

Shorter Text Blocks

On a larger computer monitor screen, a couple of paragraphs isn’t too intimidating to read. It’s because how large the screen is. Comparatively, a smartphone is a fraction of the size. A couple of paragraphs fills the entire screen and visitors will be less likely to read it all.

Instead, break up paragraphs and text blocks as much as possible. Use images, line breaks, or even cut out text to make it as easy on the eyes and succinct for viewers. People are also more likely to skim text on their phones rather than read long, drawn out articles.

Another important feature for text sections is your font size. To ensure good usability, visitors should be able to read entire lines of text without zooming in or having to scroll left to right.

Easy To Follow Flow

The nature of the beast when it comes to making great mobile pages is that you have limited space. Anything extra that isn’t exactly what you want visitors and consumers to see or do is pointless fluff your mobile site doesn’t need. On a traditional page, it’s ok because you have so much extra space to work with, but mobile isn’t like that at all.

A site’s flow is how you get people from any one page to where you want them to end up. For a business site, that would be a sales or product page. Other pages, like blog posts or the home page, should encourage people to naturally head to your desirable end page.

For mobile sites, keeping your pages simple is how to create a strong flow. Having extra fluff on pages can confuse people and have them look and go to pages not part of your flow. To correct this, go with a simple approach to web design. It should be abundantly clear to visitors where you are expecting them to go next.

Another great solution to getting people to follow your flow is to give them a good reason to. For each step, entice them to follow the flow with strong calls-to-action. Offer them free knowledge and solutions to problems that lead up to purchasing your product. Your flow should match your marketing funnel in what you offer and push them to make the purchase.

Apps versus web pages

One major difference between computers and mobile devices in the use of apps. When the smartphone market was first picking up, everybody rushed to produce an app for their business. Very quickly though, people learned they didn’t use these apps and they were quickly forgotten.

Yet, apps do have a place, and can be very effective for specific businesses. If you have a lot of returning customers, having an app can help keep them engaged and keeping you top of mind. It’s also easier to have unique functionality in an app versus a web page.

The question is whether it’s worth the investment to develop an app. If most of your customers are single time buyers, it probably isn’t worth it. If your app is simply going to display your mobile site and not have anything extra, it’s pointless to make.

Cross Platform Understanding

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Building effective mobile pages isn’t in a vacuum. While mobile browsing is becoming more popular, people still use computers, sometimes in conjunction with mobile devices. They use the sites differently on each device. Some people might be more comfortable making a purchase on a computer while using their smartphone or tablet to browse in their free time.

Understanding how people use your site across different platforms can guide you on what to include on your site. If your market is like the example above, where people mostly browse with their mobile devices and make decisions on computers, you can adapt your strategies and content to this.

Research your target market to help determine how people use different platforms with your site. Your own site’s data is a great resource to doing this, but be cautious as you do so. It’s easy to let personal bias affect your data and corrupt how you view it. Let the data speak for itself and guide you when making choices. After that, compare your findings with external big data to ensure strong marketing tactics.

What are you doing to make your mobile pages more effective? Got something that works really well you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.

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Written by:

Ben Allen is a freelance content creator who believes in helping small businesses succeed in their marketing efforts. In his free time, he also writes about education, parenting, and video games. To read more of his thoughts, follow him on Twitter @allen24ben

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