Having a mobile optimised website is no longer a useful or valuable option for businesses competing online, it is now absolutely essential. This year, smartphone users will total 1.75 billion worldwide and continue on a fast-paced trajectory through 2017.
In the past, mobile websites were simply an extension of the desktop version. However, the browsing trends of smartphone and tablet users are too unique and particular to simply brush over or set aside. Consequently, mobile optimised websites must be developed independently in order to be effective and successful.
With this in mind, here are some of the best practices for mobile optimised websites.
Research the market and look at competitors
Before development begins, visit some existing mobile websites to see how good or bad they are, especially those of your competitors. Take inspiration from aspects that work, dismiss elements that don’t, and gain as much knowledge about slick and stylish mobile websites as possible.
Recognise and distinguish what your customers need
The main objective of any mobile optimised website should be to deliver a superior user experience. Therefore, you’ll need to think carefully about what your customers want and need. Rather than overwhelming visitors with too much information, focus on delivering relevant and useful content instead.
Responsive web design isn’t the be all and end all of mobile sites
While responsive design has the potential to look great, it does not always result in the best mobile experience. With a custom mobile site URL, you’ll be able to develop a truly unique and original site, which could serve the consumer much more effectively.
Have an easily accessible search box
With a smaller screen size and limited input options, mobile users greatly benefit from a search box. They’ll be able to access exactly what they’re looking with the greatest of ease. Try and return relevant results only, as this will also improve your mobile’s sites overall performance.
Include clear Call to Actions
Don’t be afraid to place obvious Call to Actions high up on the page, as mobile users will probably appreciate the means to sign up to a newsletter or make a purchase quickly. A lot of the time, mobile users want their browsing experience to be instant and immediate.
The small dimensions of a smartphone’s screen can cause a few problems when it comes to navigation. But a detailed set of filters should enable the customer to access exactly what they are looking for in the shortest time possible. This is perhaps the best way to navigate a mobile site with a large inventory of products.
Keep optimising even after your site has gone live
You won’t know whether your mobile website is any good or not until it is up and running. Use Google Analytics to see what areas need improvement and make changes according to visitor behaviour. A few tweaks here and there can make a huge difference.
Integrate mobile with other areas of the business
Another interesting finding from Google’s Mobile Playbook is that users will often browse goods or services on mobile, but then make a purchase on a desktop computer or even at a physical store. In fact, 50 per cent of Walgreens’ mobile traffic comes from people in one of their stores according to the guide. Therefore, try and make your mobile site work with other online and offline activity.
The success of your site isn’t defined by conversions alone
In addition to the relationship between cost per sale and average profit per sale, you’ll also need to think about a number of other factors before deciding whether your mobile website is successful. These include lifetime customer value, sales from users converting with a different device and average referrals per customer to name a few.
At the end of the day, mobile websites should not be created just because you need one. They should be created because you need to meet the growing and changing needs of your customers, who are more often than not, browsing for goods and services via mobile devices.