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How to optimise your website for mobile (and why you should)

From the Resene Trade blog

As much as any trade is all about physical skills and tools, a lot of your branding and marketing is locked behind a digital screen.

For a long time, a well-designed, helpful and appealing desktop website was the key ingredient to marketing yourself online. While it’s certainly still important, the relevance of a mobile site has grown exponentially, to the point where it has even surpassed that of a desktop site.

Read on to learn about why a mobile site is so vital, and how you can improve yours for the best user experience.

Why mobile is more important than ever

It’s been over two years since the scales tipped in favour of mobile searches, with more people using their mobile phones to look things up online than they use their desktop computers. Now, consumer data company Hitwise reports that almost 60 per cent of searches are carried out on mobile, meaning that when people view your website, they may well be looking at it on a small screen.

“Almost 60 per cent of searches are carried out on mobile.”

So how can you boost your mobile site?

Keep it simple

Keeping it simple means trying to keep all your basic contact information on the front page, to editing down your content. While you should certainly still include all the important information as well as lots of useful content, your users will want to be able to find that information quickly, so extraneous words, pages, and links may just get in the way.

Avoid pop-ups at all costs

Pop-ups are bad enough on a desktop – but at least then your users can easily click the ‘x’ to close it down. On mobile, it’s not always so easy, and it can again turn your customers away.

This is usually because when something pops up, either the ‘close’ button will be too small or the pop-up is larger than the screen and the user has to zoom out or scroll to close it. If you’ve ever experienced this in your own searches, you’ll know just how frustrating and off-putting it can be.

Make it touch-ready

For a while there, smart phones were just getting smaller; these days they seem to be offering larger screens than ever. Whether your customers are visiting your site on a large screen or a small one, they’ll need to be able to navigate your site with a touch.

In terms of user-friendliness, this means that fonts should be large and easy to read, links should be obvious and easy to click, and your visitors should never have to zoom in or out to see the page.

Phone a friend

Call in a favour from a friend and get them to visit your mobile website. Either let them roam around the site on their own, or give them a list of simple tasks such as ‘find my contact phone number’, ‘find examples of my work’, or ‘sign up to the newsletter’.

This way, they can offer feedback on how easy or difficult it was to carry out the same tasks that people visiting your site on mobile might be doing. Ideally, you’ll be able to find a friend who perfectly fits into your usual audience demographic, such as a baby boomer, so that you can get a good idea of how your targeted customers will experience your website.

You can carry out this test before you start making changes for some initial insights, but it’s also important to follow up (with a new volunteer) once you’ve finished to ensure you’ve made your site as user friendly as possible.

If you’re unsure about how to make these changes, consider investing in a specialist to go over your mobile site to make any improvements needed.

And remember, when it comes to a website, it’s never really finished so you do need to keep looking after it to keep it up to date.

June 2018

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