April 29, 2015
As most business owners and online professionals know by now, a mobile website is a critical component of every company’s online presence and marketing strategy. With more than 80 percent of the population on mobile devices, it is essential to ensure that your website is optimized for their use, seeing as this will determine the levels of engagement your users will be able to have with your brand. Mcommerce sales are expected to increase by 32.2 percent from 2014-2015 according to eMarketer, so enhancing the experience for users on their chosen devices is more important than ever.
If you currently do not have your website optimized for mobile, you’re undoubtedly losing sales, and investing in a mobile website will be beneficial to your overall business growth. When you are designing your mobile site, it’s important to think about what would work best for your audience and their particular needs, however, regardless of the industry you are in, there are three “must-haves” that are vital to every successful mobile site.
1. A Prominently Displayed Phone Number
Your phone number must be easy to find on a mobile site. Users on mobile are typically on-the-go and want to find contact information without too much effort or time. To ensure that your number is easy to access, use a click-to-call button that is prominently displayed, and users will automatically be connected to your number through their Smartphone. Some poorly-designed websites use images or text for their phone number display that audiences can’t use to directly call a business, causing an inconvenience for users. If your customer is searching your website on their mobile phone, they’re looking for an easy, instant way to call you.
It’s important to think about the new customers that you are trying to draw to your website. Roughly 50 percent of searches begin on mobile devices, and with numbers that high, you need to cater to the way they’re accessing your site. If they are on their mobile device, and want to get more information about your company, they are going to look for a phone number. They don’t know much about your company, so if they can’t find it within a few seconds of looking, they most likely won’t convert. If simple expectations aren’t met in a positive manner, users are going to go elsewhere.
2. Bold Calls-to-Action
Whether you are B2B or B2C, you need to have calls-to-action on your mobile site. From medical practices to auto shops, these buttons are absolutely necessary and are going to directly impact your conversion rate. However, simply having a CTA isn’t enough to make a significant difference to your website’s conversion rate — it needs to be designed and incorporated into the visual layout of the page so that users are effortlessly drawn to it. Whether the button is a “Request a Quote” or “Make a Reservation,” it should be simple for the user to find and use.
The button itself should be prominent on the page, and directly beneath whatever your core message is. You can’t expect users to search for the button—it needs to be obvious. Since your customers are accessing your site through their mobile devices, you need to think about how the buttons should be optimized for someone’s finger on mobile versions of your website, instead of simply relying on the same buttons that work for users who are using a mouse and keyboard. Buttons should be an appropriate size, and easy to click on a touch-screen device without zooming in or out. If clicking the image takes you to a form, the spaces to fill in should automatically be a size that the user can type into. You don’t want to cause any frustration for your audience, or they will likely leave with a lasting negative impression about your business.
3. An Easy-to-Read Website
Certain elements are more important than others in order to build a website that is user-friendly. Font is incredibly important to get right on your mobile site, since users are reading on screens that are significantly smaller then desktops. The font you choose should be clean—nothing too unprofessional (like comic sans), approximately size 14, and have appropriate spacing between words that provides a pleasurable reading experience. You don’t want your customers having to zoom in to make the text decipherable.
Additionally, since you don’t want to bombard users with too much text, you can use font styling to emphasize certain points or messages, by bolding or choosing a larger size for certain key ideas.
Similarly, to ensure your website is easy to decipher and use, you should have a simple navigation. You don’t want too many different sections that overwhelm users or make it too difficult for them to determine what is relevant for their needs. It should be effortless for users to navigate your page, and easy for them to grasp what the core concepts are that they should pay attention to.
Responsive vs. Mobile
All in all, having a mobile site is absolutely necessary to build a profitable business. When it comes to the type of mobile design you choose, it’s worth remembering that a responsive design is going to do better than most of the other options available. While an adaptive design or even a mobile stand-alone site are still going to have better usability then a site that still has no mobile presence at all, a mobile site that is responsively designed is going to be the most user-friendly across any device at any time. Not only will it enhance the user-experience, resulting in more conversions and business growth, but your SEO ranking will be better because your website is more easily read by search engines.
The ultimate focus of your mobile website should be to provide a user-friendly experience that will encourage users to convert. If you include the assets discussed to make your website easy to navigate, and then integrate design elements that are unique to your industry and brand, you will be able to provide the ultimate user-experience that gets users converting.
Gabriel Shaoolian is a digital trends expert and CEO and founder of Blue Fountain Media, a digital agency in NYC focused on growing brands online through effective websites and online marketing. From start-ups to Fortune 1000s, Blue Fountain Media helps generate more leads and increased brand recognition for companies online.