Do you have your website optimised for mobile performance?

Despite the fact that mobile devices account for 52 percent of search traffic and nearly 50 percent of online shopping sales, nearly 50 percent of marketers have not updated their website for mobile performance.

Do you fall into that category?

In April 2015, Google announced that they were including mobile friendly webpages in their search algorithm and this had marketers scrambling to ensure that their websites were responsive and touch-screen compatible.

But now that the hype has died down, it seems that many have forgotten the importance of running a mobile friendly website and are complacent with just having a responsive page.

In fact, recent studies have found that when it comes to searching for content on mobile devices, nearly 48 percent of users start on search engines.

This means that in order for your website to even have a chance of appearing on someones device, it has to not only be mobile friendly but also at the top of search results and the only way to get it to the top of search results is to ensure it is optimised like a pro.

You can read all about Google’s mobile integration process, otherwise known as “Mobilegeddon” here, but if you are looking to get your website higher up on search results you may want to keep reading as it is just not good enough to have a responsive design.

Due to smaller screen sizes and the environment that mobile browsing usually takes place in, consumers are really looking to find a mobile website that has a clear plan of action.

This means that if your mobile website doesn’t instantly give them the information that they need and do it in an organised and quick way, they will very likely move on to the next thing.

To put it in perspective, the average mobile user has an attention span of between 4-8 seconds.

Speed is everything when it comes to mobile browsing and it is important that your mobile page loads quickly, doesn’t contain too many graphics and doesn’t require users to zoom in or adjust their screen.

Stop right now and take a minute at your mobile page and ask yourself the following questions-

  • Does it instantly convey a message?
  • Is it easy to navigate?
  • Is there just one main call to action per page?
  • Are the buttons touch screen friendly?
  • Can users read content without zooming or toggling with the screen?
  • Does the page load instantly?
  • Are images, ads or other features on the page blocking readers from gaining access to something?
  • Is the checkout process easy to follow and simple?
  • Are opt-in forms simple and easy to fill in?
  • Are your social share buttons easy to find and do they work?

This list is basic, but will help you to get started when it comes to assessing the quality and performance of your mobile site.

If you do find any shortcomings or you want to ensure that your website is as mobile friendly as possible, here is our list of 10 things your mobile friendly website must contain-

1. Make Your Menus and Navigation Bars Easy to Use

When using a tablet or mobile device it is very difficult to navigate through a large navigation bar or menu due to the lack of screen space. This means that your menu bar on your mobile page needs to be adjusted in order to appear simpler and easier to navigate through.

If you do have a large navigation option, try to narrow it down to your most popular searches or destinations and then from there you can give them more options of where they need to go once they reach the actual page.

To give you a rough guide, the menu should really not have any more than 4-5 options and you should avoid having sub menus within the main menu as these can get tricky and confusing to navigate.

For example, for a restaurant chain your navigation menu should include-

1. The food menu

2. The location or hours of operation

3. An online ordering button

4. Contact information

Even though on the desktop version you may have more options like lunch menu, dinner menu, specials etc., when it comes to mobile devices you really need to narrow down what is necessary.

The “hamburger” or drop down menu icon is usually popular when it comes to mobile navigation, so try to use this symbol where possible as most mobile users understand what it means.

2. Opt-In, Payment and Contact Forms Need to Be Simple and Easy to Use

Most mobile users are not interested in filling out online forms and giving up their personal information, which is why it is so important to make the process as painless and as simple as possible.

Most consumers are also hesitant to make purchases on mobile devices, so having a really clean checkout process is also important if you want to make a sale.

To optimise your mobile opt-in and contact forms, remember the golden rule- only ask for what is 100% necessary.

For example, if you want users to sign up to your newsletter try only asking them for their email. If you want them to purchase something, try only asking for the bare essentials like name, shipping information and billing information.

Don’t get bogged down in asking users for “greedy data” like their mobile phone number, date of birth and other unnecessary things. You can always send a follow up email asking them for this information at a later time or you can choose to make these fields optional to fill out.

If you have a more complex check out where users have to select dates or specific locations, try to give these categories their own field to make it simpler and clearer as to what the consumer is ordering.

You may need to split test what fields you choose to ask for to see if it has an effect on your conversion rates, but remember less is usually more.

And no, asking customers to make an account or download an app in order to checkout or purchase is probably best avoided.

3. Make Those Call to Actions Not Just Beautiful But Also Eye Catching 

Call to actions or CTA’s are your most desired action for your customers to take and play an important role in any web design, whether it be for mobiles or desktops.

When it comes to mobile pages however, call to actions need to be as easy as possible to find and as clear as possible to find in order to instantly communicate to the customer what their next action should be.

Ideally, your CTA should be above the fold and should use contrasting colours, fonts or other stylistic elements to help it stand out.

You also want your CTA to be “actionable” and it should clearly communicate to your customers what they are getting or where they are being directed to. You should also definitely avoid using flowery or vague words to describe your CTA.

You will of course need to split test what phrases work best for your brand and consumers, but a good example of what works comes from the American fast food chain, Papa Johns Pizza.

The popular pizza store decided to run a mobile campaign which read- “Buy $25 gift card get a free pizza”. Underneath this slogan they then had the simple call to action of “Order Now” which allowed customers to know that they would be instantly directed to the ordering page.

Remember, most mobile users are in a hurry and don’t want to be redirected to a page that they are unaware of or unsure of what is going to happen, so for these reasons try to keep your CTA’s on mobile devices clear and to the point. This may also help your conversion rate to be higher as well.

4. Offer Filter Options to Help Users Find What They Are Looking For

When browsing on their phones, users are less likely to scroll through pages and pages of products or hunt around tirelessly for the perfect piece of content.

This is why it is important that your search results provide exactly what your audience is looking for on the first page.

For example, if you run a big e-commerce store, you should clearly have search options to help users filter through the results and quickly find what it is that they are looking for.

It is also important to feature relevant information like price, colours, descriptions and featured images on the same page to avoid users having to click around too much.

Try experimenting with also having clickable images that expand on the same screen, to avoid users getting side tracked or redirected to another page.

A good example of this comes from the sports clothing brand, Under Armour. On their mobile site they offer several filtering options such as prices, size, location and style, which helps customers to narrow down all 371 of their products.

5. Make it Easy for Users to Contact You and Ask Questions

Especially if your brand runs a consulting or e-commerce business, it is important to ensure that your clients, leads and customers can instantly contact you if necessary.

This also allows your audience to feel comfortable with making a purchase or reaching out to you for your support or for your business.

On a mobile device, it may also be helpful to have a “click to call” feature which allows customers the ability to instantly call you from their mobile device.

This feature should be in an easy to see location, especially if you are selling a product or getting users to input their credit card information.

You may also want to experiment with offering an email contact option as well, as studies have found that people are more likely to email you first instead of calling.

To expand on making your mobile website feel friendly and welcoming, you may also want to offer a frequently asked questions or FAQ page that allows them to seek answers to popular questions that they may have.

Another way to make your business more reachable is to include a Google Maps function that allows users to instantly put your business address into their GPS.

Social proof through testimonials and social media may also be a good idea, but this is something that you may have to test to ensure that it doesn’t become distracting or move audiences way from the desired call to action.

6. Keep Thumbs and Fingers in Mind When Designing

Research has found that one of the most common complaints when it comes to using mobile sites is that the buttons are too small and the text is too hard to read.

While you may have more liberty when designing your desktop webpage, when it comes to mobile pages bigger and less is often best.

This means that buttons need to be large and easy to click on and your text should be easy to read and navigate. You should also avoid having unnecessary information or distracting side bars and pop ups.

You should also be mindful of the spacing on your page and ensure that your buttons and call to actions are not all squashed in together.

When designing your mobile page, you may also want to keep in mind that the minimum tap area to accommodate a users thumb width is about 44 px by 44px.

Of course, this is just a rough guide as all phone screens are different, however it can help you to keep spacing in mind.

7. Time is of the Essence so Load Times Should be Minimal 

When users are browsing for information on their phones they want things quickly, if not instantly.

It is important to keep this in mind when designing your webpage and the general rule of thumb is that your site should take no more than 4 seconds to load.

This is because over half of mobile users expect a site to load within 4 second or less and on top of that, 80 percent of consumers are unhappy with the current browsing speed of their smart phones.

When users are unhappy with load times, they are more likely to bounce around and click on other links to see which will load faster. This means that in a matter of 4 seconds you could have lost a potential customer.

You should also ensure that your mobile pages are able to accommodate both Wi-Fi and 3G or 4G connections and that the entire site is kept under 1MB.

This means that you need to use images and videos wisely as the more you have, the larger your mobile site will be.

8. Avoid Pop Ups on Mobile Devices 

In general, pop ups don’t work well on mobile devices. Research and surveys also show that consumers are not thrilled about pop ups, especially when they are trying to navigate something on their mobile device.

Time is also of the essence for those browsing on mobile devices and pop ups seem to just get in the way and offer little benefit to consumers.

Pop ups also take up valuable real estate on mobile screens and may distract your customers from completing your desired CTA.

Of course, this may be something that your brand has to split test for itself, but it is important to think about whether or not having a pop up on your mobile site is really worth it.

You can also get creative and experiment with having an optional pop up that can be clicked and opened if the user chooses to do so.

The popular content site, BuzzFeed does this with their posts and allows readers the option of clicking on sponsored links and other content without having to include a pop up.

9. Optimise your Keywords for Mobile Friendly Searches

When it comes to selecting keywords for your mobile friendly page, it is important to think about what your users are going to type into their mobile devices as compared to what they type in when they are using a desktop platform.

Research has showed that when it comes to searching for information on mobile devices, users are more likely to ask questions, search by location or postcode and use terms like “how”, “where” and “what”.

Keeping these factors in mind, you may want to think about what keywords to use for your site. For example, if you run a marketing company, consider including your location or postcode as part of your keyword.

For content articles, you may want to consider including terms like “how to” or “what is” in order to be more relevant to your audience and their needs.

You can read more about choosing the perfect keywords for your webpages here.

10. Keep your Layout Simple and Well Organised

When it comes to your overall mobile page design keep things simple and well organised so your customers and leads know exactly where to move from one moment to the next.

This means that from the minute a user clicks onto your page they should be able to –

  • Find exactly what it is that they are looking for or be able to search for what they are looking for on the same screen
  • Be able to complete their desired action such as buying or sourcing information
  • Easily navigate through their desired process in simple steps

By following suggestions 1-9, your mobile friendly page should be in good shape however, you may want to test out your pages for yourself to see if you can easily navigate through and move around in a linear way.

Your Mobile Friendly Checklist 

Mobile searching, purchasing and browsing is definitely here to stay and in fact, if trends are anything to go by it is only something that is going to become more popular.

This means that you have to prioritise updating your mobile site and staying ahead of trends and statistics or risk losing a huge percentage of potential customers and leads.

Now that you have read through 10 ways to optimise your mobile page for the best performance, here is your final checklist that you can use to go through each page and assess whether it is up to scratch.

Of course, the real proof it going to be in the statistics, so definitely ensure that you are monitoring and tracking your mobile pages as you do your desktop pages.

Here is your checklist:

  • Does my website load in under 4 seconds on both Wi-Fi and 3G/4G connections?
  • Are the images, videos and content optimised for a mobile or tablet screen?
  • Is there just one main call to action per page?
  • Are my call to actions easy to click on and easy to read or see? Do they stand out?
  • Is the navigation menu simple to use and limited to 4-5 options only?
  • Do customers know where to go once they have landed on a page?
  • Does my search options contain filters so customers can find what they are looking for?
  • Am I using mobile friendly keywords and researching their effectiveness?
  • Are my opt-in forms easy to fill out and quick and easy?
  • Do I offer enough fields for customers to know what they are ordering?
  • Is my contact information easily accessible on every page?
  • Are pop ups reducing conversions or time spent on my site?
  • Are customers able to complete their purchase in a few simple steps?
  • Is my entire site kept under 1MB for easy loading?
  • Are my call to action buttons well spaced and easily clicked?
  • Is there enough room for people to touch buttons without accidentally clicking on something else?
  • Is the content readable without having to zoom in?
  • Do images open within the same page instead of redirecting users to another page?
  • Does my mobile website offer customers instant and clear information about my services and products?

This checklist should be all you need to get your mobile web page functioning like a well-oiled machine and ranked high up in Google’s search.

If you are looking for additional help in getting your mobile site running professionally why not have a chat with us? Contact us here for more information.