5 Keys to building mobile sites that work

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KND-building-mobile-sitesIf you want to expand your business and increase sales, you need more than a mobile-friendly website.  You need a mobile site that delivers the kind of experience people expect.  It needs to be fully responsive, load quickly, have intuitive navigation, and deliver clear messaging. 

Given the pervasiveness of mobile usage, the stakes couldn’t be higher for business.  Consider for example these metrics from Impact:

  • In 2016, marketers spent more than half of all digital marketing dollars on mobile
  • 80% of internet users now own a smartphone
  • 80% of social media time is now spent on a mobile device
  • 57% of internet users won’t recommend a business that has a poorly-designed mobile site

What Do Mobile Users Expect?

Competition in the mobile market is fierce, which means users have more options and demand better mobile experiences.  To succeed, you need to follow best mobile marketing practices, including the following 5:

1.  Build Your Site Using a Responsive Framework

“Responsive” means the elements on your website will automatically configure themselves to fit the dimensions of any device or screen size, whether it’s a laptop, smartphone or tablet.  Kevin Janosz, COO for marketing agency RITTA, explains the importance of using a responsive framework (like Bootstrap) to build your mobile site:

“Responsive is a more unified approach to Web development that allows you to create a similar experience for the user no matter how they are accessing the site (desktop, tablet or smartphone).  “In addition to being a better user experience across devices, it consolidates your website so you do not need a separate mobile URL, it has SEO benefits, and it’s also much easier to manage.”

2.  Use a Simple Design

When someone first visits your site, you have only seconds to get their attention and tell them what your site is all about.  That means you need to avoid complex design elements and get right to the point.  This is especially true for mobile sites because of their smaller size. 

Before designing your site, clarify your messaging—what is it, in other words, that you want users to understand about your business?  Deliver that message in as few words as possible—the clearer and more concise your message, the more likely that message will resonate with site visitors and inspire them to move deeper into your site.

3.  Make Sure Your Site Loads Quickly

According to Kissmetrics, 40% of consumers will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load, and a load time delay of just 1 second will reduce conversions by 7%.  To ensure you don’t encounter this problem, eliminate site elements that slow load time, like heavy media files.  Try removing large header images from the mobile view. This will reduce scrolling too. To be safe, use a reliable tool to test the load time of your mobile site.

4.  Frontload Contact Information

Every website should make contact information, like your phone number and location easy to find.  According to HubSpot, for example, the lack of clear contact information is one of the “17 Things People Absolutely Hate about Your Website.”  

Posting clear contact information is even more important for your mobile site since mobile users are often looking for your store in real time.  To avoid any confusion, include all relevant contact information on the home page of your mobile site.

5.  Design Online Forms for Mobile

The fewer fields you include in your online forms, the more likely site visitors will be to use them.  Because mobile screens are smaller, it’s even more important to avoid requests for unnecessary or irrelevant information.  Only ask for contact information that is critical to return their enquiry. You can get the rest later.

Designers are not all made equally

Mobile users expect an experience that is simple, clear and intuitive, that enables them to find the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible. Understanding user experience (UX) and responsive design is a specialist skill. You won’t commonly find graphic designers that have a deep understanding of the fluid designs that are required to adapt to any screen size. You need a UX designer and that is often more than one person.

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