Gone are the days of carrying a paperback book, there are now Kindles. Gone are the days of lugging around your big bulky laptop, there is the Ultrabook and tablets. And gone are the days of flip top cell phones, they’ve been replaced by smartphones that live up to their name – they are indeed smart.
You’d be hard pressed to find someone not carrying a mobile phone nowadays. Whether it’s a mom, grandparent, teen (kids as young as six now carry cell phones) or business executive, the very point is the world has gone mobile.
In a mobile world where people are in a rush and use their mobile device to find everything from products, to information, recipes and locations, will the average, impatient person be able to easily navigate your site and find what they need? Or will they move to the next site because your site wasn’t mobile friendly?
In no particular order below are some measures to implement so that your site is mobile friendly.
Speed is a an Important Factor
Again, with people in a rush and on the go they are likely to be short on time, which can cause them to quickly leave your site for the next. The thing is, you want and need for your site to be a pleasant experience for loyal and new readers alike, whether they are on their mobile device or in front of their large monitor at home.
Designers used to put all their focus on designing for modern browsers but that isn’t the case anymore as an increasing percentage of visitors are now online via their mobile devices.
If you have a WordPress blog than you already know that you can find resources to do just about anything that is needed in a fairly simple fashion.
While there are many plugins available for WordPress, users can install WP Touch to begin the process of making your site mobile friendly. The plugin is free and it can be customized to suit your site needs.
As an aside, before you install plugins and begin making changes to your site, it’s a good idea to back up your blog first.
Mobile vs. Standard
While this article is centered on the idea that you should have your site optimized for mobile readers, and you should, it’s still a good idea to give the reader the option of mobile vs. standard viewing. Depending on the site, there may be times the visitor wants to see the full website. I’ve had this happen and without the option, I left the site frustrated.
Your most important content should be easily accessible and clear to your readers. This is the single most important factor of making your site mobile friendly. I can’t stress enough that readers are impatient and will quickly leave and move on to the next site. I know because I tend to do it and you probably do too. Time seems to be the one thing everyone is short on.
Content & Images
Keep the content simple and to the point, so that you instantly grab the attention of readers. Use catchy headlines to draw the reader to the important content. If the content is jumbled and too long, causing the reader to keep scrolling you will more than likely quickly lose their attention.
Images are always a good idea, but try to use less and limit to one or two. They tend to clutter the page and also can affect the load time as well.
General Good Design Tips
Whitespace is a good thing, embrace it. It helps to break up the content and makes it easier to scan.
Think of the things that turn you off when visiting a site such as cluttered information that causes you to scroll and scroll. For mobile readers this is even more nerve racking and definitely not to your benefit.
Don’t let these tasks overwhelm you when you can start by using the plugin, WP Touch, mentioned above to make the process fairly simple.
This might just be me, but one of my BIGGEST pet peeves is when things follow me on a page or when I am forced to click something to view content. This doesn’t make for a pleasant experience especially on my small smartphone screen.
Lastly, do take notice of your traffic stats before and after tuning up your site and see if there is a difference in visitors and the time they spend on your site. After all, that is the very point, isn’t it?
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but there is enough information here to get you started in the right direction.
About the Author: Belinda Lima is a freelance writer for bbgeeks.com. She graduated from the University of Texas with her Graduate degree in Creative Writing and now uses her word smith talents and her love of technology to write about a variety of social media, consumer electronics, and mobile accessories topics in her articles. When she’s not writing, Belinda can often be found hiking and rock-climbing the gorgeous vistas that surround her city.