3 Tips for Creating Mobile Websites

by Heather Clancy on January 26, 2012
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How long does it take your favorite website to load on your smartphone or tablet? For most of us, it’s a lengthy and frustrating wait while pages finish rendering. Now ask yourself the same question. Does your company’s website cater to mobile users’ needs, as they access information via gadgets with smaller screens and slower internet speeds?

Research suggests that mobility will become a much bigger factor for websites during the next 11 months. A 2011 study by PowerReviews, which monitors retail trends, found that one in three U.S. consumers researches future purchases on a mobile phone while shopping inside physical stores. And roughly the same number uses the scanning and imaging functionality of those phones to look up product details and information via QR or bar codes, which often lead them to the company’s website. An even larger number, close to four in 10, checks out promotional information via cell phone.

In other words, although the U.S. has been slow to adopt mobile commerce, many of your potential customers now try to access your website while they’re on-the-go. The bottom line: You need to ensure that at least one version of your site is optimized for mobile visitors.

Here are three tips for creating a mobile website:

  1. Keep it simple. Consider whether it’s really necessary to include every page of your main site on your mobile site. If a page requires visitors to scroll through scads of text, it’s probably unnecessary — or it should be reformatted, so that it doesn’t take a half dozen clicks for visitors to find what they need.
  2. Minimize or skip the graphics. When people are standing on a street corner or in a mall trying to find a price or read up on promotional offers, they don’t want to wait for a flashy image to load. Speaking of which, remember that certain devices – including the Apple iPhone – don’t support the Adobe Flash format.
  3. Don’t forget the phone number and address. If customers are looking up your restaurant with a mobile phone, chances are good they’ll want to call for reservations or to check table availability. Next, they’ll need to find you, so it’s a good idea to include address information, driving directions, and even apps that use a phone’s GPS features.

Who can help you pull this off? Various service providers, such as FiddleFly and Mobify, can help you reformat your site quickly. They can handle design duties and host your site while helping to keep your content and brand consistent across the desktop and mobile platforms.

Heather Clancy is passionate about solving small business problems.

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