Catherine Knoll is digital marketing strategist at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy
By 2019, mobile ad spending will likely represent 72 percent of total U.S. digital spending (source: eMarketer). In 2016, mobile became the primary type of device used to access websites. That's a huge milestone and the reason properly optimizing your website for mobile users is a critical brand priority. It can create a highly coveted competitive advantage. Follow these best practices in mobile optimization to ensure you're giving an ideal experience to mobile visitors to your site. After all, you only have seconds to make a good impression online.
At a bare minimum, ensure you have fast load times (less than one second for each page to load), mobile-friendly buttons that are large enough to easily click with a finger, and functionality that operates seamlessly on mobile devices.
Beyond these basics, building content for a mobile-friendly site is challenging and complex. With mobile users, you are working with less screen space, so it is important to be concise (without sacrificing quality) when creating content, titles and meta descriptions.
While responsive websites -- which auto adjust for the size screen being used -- are the most popular choice for mobile optimization, there are other design options that allow you to tailor your site to the device being used. For example, you can also use a dynamic serving or adaptive design which is simply individual websites built for different devices all housed on the same URL, separate URLs for mobile/desktop, or smart content which is custom content served up to users based on the device they are using.
Shortening forms on mobile devices has proven to increase conversion rates and lower bounce rates. Positioning forms above the fold of the mobile user's screen or breaking forms into sections and using larger fonts avoids confusion and significantly increases form submissions.
Lastly, if you are using a slider for images on your website, these are negatively impacting the mobile viewing experience, as well as your website’s SEO performance. Slider images on the homepage are quite popular these days. Only one percent of users click on a slide, however, and that click is most often the first one -- which negates the benefits of a slider. Sliders are often responsive, which is good for mobile performance, but they increase the load time and create a distraction for mobile users seeking a simpler experience. Conduct A/B testing to determine which header in your slider performs best, and use that content instead of multiple images in a slider format.
There is more to mobile optimization than meets the eye. If the topic is overwhelming, don't despair. Your marketing agency or web developer can guide you through a decision-making process to ensure your site is an inviting experience for mobile users that drives results.