What if your website had awesome content but it was still turning countless customers away?
It's one thing to create the kind of compelling content that brings customers to your site. But if your sites are not mobile optimized, then the bounce rates are going to be through the roof.
Fortunately, it's not too late to give your websites a much-needed overhaul. To help you out, we've compiled a guide to the importance of mobile optimization, including the best practices every company should follow.
We've prepared the definitive guide for mobile optimization and surviving the digital age. Before we go any further, though, it's important to define what "mobile optimization" actually means.
Generally speaking, it's a simple concept: it means making your websites easy and intuitive to use on mobile devices, particularly smartphones. This is important because many older websites are still only optimized for desktop computers.
The reason for overhauling your sites to be mobile-friendly is also quite simple. The majority of your customers are likely to find your business via mobile searching.
The traditional business advice was that a company should go where the customers are. In the digital age, we have a modern twist to this advice: your company should be where the searches are!
Recent research suggests that 58% of Google searches are conducted via mobile devices. And this follows larger trends that reveal most of your customers have been surfing the internet via mobile devices instead of desktop for many years now.
Now, the good news is that you can have your cake and eat it, too. It's possible to use responsive design to create a site that looks great on both desktop and mobile. Alternatively, you can use different URLs to create sites that are optimized for each platform.
The prospect of updating every single page on your website for mobile may seem very daunting. Where, exactly, should you begin such an ambitious project?
The most logical site to overhaul first is your landing page. That's because a landing page serves as a kind of portal through which customers can discover the rest of your website.
The landing page is likely to be the first page your customers encounter. If it is ugly or too difficult to navigate, they will bounce to another site. If it is intuitive and easy to use, they are likely to stick around and explore.
It's easy to imagine mobile optimization as a simple design challenge. For instance, you are making something that once looked good on one display look good on all displays (which is the basic goal of responsive design).
However, designing (or redesigning) webpages for mobile devices also brings you some unique opportunities. A great example of this is taking advantage of the touchscreen.
You can create a site where customers can click a button and instantly call your business. Or you can provide large icons that let customers make a reservation with the touch of a button.
Embracing these new design possibilities means embracing the potential of smartphones. Why stick with slick design when you can employ touchscreen features that help bring customers in the door?
Care for another reason to optimize for mobile? One big reason is that you want to create a streamlined experience for customers.
Here's the real design challenge: customers expect certain features when navigating via mobile devices. While you must provide such features, you must also make sure that your mobile sites and your desktop sites are still recognizably the same.
Doing this may make for a design challenge, and you may even need to get some professional help. But when customers have a streamlined experience across all pages and devices, it goes a long way towards building your brand and building customer loyalty.
Want to really master mobile optimization? That means you must also learn about mobile-first indexing.
Previously, Google searches would provide a mixture of both mobile and desktop search results. After 2015's infamous Mobilegeddon, though, Google only provides results based on mobile-friendliness.
That means even if someone is searching via desktop, they will see mobile-optimized sites first. Needless to say, this is another compelling reason for you to optimize your sites for mobile!
What, then, goes into mobile optimization? Believe it or not, one of the biggest categories is speed.
This is one aspect where Google basically defers to user behavior. What do you do when you click on a site and it takes too long to load? If you're like most of us, you back out and click on another search result.
There are multiple ways for you to improve how fast your sites load. One obvious way is to reduce the number of images per page. You can also streamline the site's code behind the scenes, allowing everything to load that much quicker.
Pop quiz: are your websites still relying on Flash? If so, you need to take care of this right away!
Flash has been dying for a while now. In fact, there are many devices and browsers where Flash has not loaded for many years now. If that's not enough, Flash is officially dying in the year 2020.
Long story short? You need to ditch Flash right away if you want to be optimized for mobile. If you still need Flash-like animation, you can get many similar benefits by coding everything via HTML5.
In the digital age, the idea of "keeping up with the Jones's" is more important than ever before. If your competition is making money moves and you're not, it's very easy for your business to fall behind!
This is one of the biggest arguments for mobile optimization. If you aren't optimizing, you can be assured that your competition is. And when customers click away from your non-optimized site, they are that much likelier to click on your competitors' links.
Even if your competition hasn't optimized their pages, it's worth it to renovate your own. After all, you now have a unique chance to revolutionize your business niche (and potentially poach some of the competition's customers while you do it).
So, what are your options when it comes to mobile optimization? You essentially have three options: dynamic serving, dual URLs, and responsive design.
With dynamic serving, your website has the same URL regardless of the device used to access it. But dynamic serving can sense which device a user has and give them a different set of HTML and coding based on that info. In short, desktop users get a site that looks one way and mobile users get a site that looks a different way.
With dual URLs, you have (you guessed it) two different URLs. One of them is for the desktop version of a site and the other for the mobile version. This allows you to create a unique mobile page, complete with its own URL starting with "m."
Finally, there is responsive design. This uses the same URL and same HTML coding while simply adjusting the website for screens of different sizes. Many businesses prefer responsive design because it is easier for designers and users while to optimize such pages for SEO.
Sometimes, aspects of optimal mobile design are downright obvious. For example, you really need to ditch any of those pop-ups that are on your site!
On desktop, pop-ups are annoying but still manageable. But when someone encounters pop-ups via a mobile device, it can make it downright impossible to navigate your website.
If you absolutely have to have pop-ups for some reason, you may want to rely on dynamic servers or dual URLs. Both of these will let you have different versions of the page for different devices, allowing you to use pop-ups for desktop and to ditch them for the mobile version.
Another key to mobile optimization is pretty "meta." Specifically, the secret is to use the right meta titles and meta descriptions.
Some businesses like to really maximize the number of characters they use in each field. That means no more than 70 characters for titles and 160 characters for descriptions.
Mobile optimization changes the math on this, though. You'll want to use fewer characters in each field because the mobile search results may cut this field off, meaning users cannot see each character.
That means efficiency is key. Try to lead with the most important info to ensure that users find the info right away!
Ever wonder how Google scans the entirety of the internet? With a robot, of course!
The Googlebot "crawls" websites, scanning their content to improve user search results. It's important that you check your site's robot.txt to make sure Google has permission to crawl your site.
While you're at it, you can use third-party analytical tools to figure out what the Googlebot sees and use this info to improve your site.
Now you know the importance of becoming mobile optimized. But do you know who can help you transform your websites?
We specialize in SEO, content marketing, web development, and much more. To see how we can jumpstart your mobile overhaul, contact us today!