The world has gone mobile. Mobile use for searches and shopping increases every year, and in the meantime, other screens and devices have been added to the mix as IoT takes the world by storm. What does this mean for website owners? In the “old days,” you were probably told you needed a mobile site, but that’s no longer the case. What you need is a responsive site that is optimized for all screen sizes, from mobile and tablets to computers and smart TVs. That being said, mobiles are still the most popular device used for learning about brands, shopping, and gaming, but you should keep in mind where the future is headed when optimizing your site for mobile use.
Mobile website vs responsive theme
Many website builders used to offer the option to create and manage a mobile website. This is a site separate from yours that is designed for mobile phones. It was usually created separately and had the advantage of being able to actually see what your site would look like on a smartphone when editing it. The main disadvantage being that you had to edit your main site and mobile website separately. So, if you made a change to your main site, you’d have to go to your mobile site interface and make the changes there as well.
A responsive site is one site that is designed to adjust itself to any screen size. This means you work from one site only and can use a mobile phone to see what your site looks like as you make changes. There are many site builders that allow you to preview your site on different screen sizes.
Test on multiple screens
Even a responsive design or theme can look strange on different screens, depending on the images and layout you chose. It is important to always test out your site on many different resolutions. Remember, desktops and laptops these days come in many different sizes, as do tablets and smartphones. Many people are also using their smart TVs to browse, which is a much bigger screen, and you can expect more screen sizes to be added to the mix every year. See how your site adjusts to changes in resolution from big to small to make sure nothing looks out of place, your call to action is always above the fold, and texts and images are clear and appealing.
Optimize your website for mobile with mobile features
Certain features are relevant only on mobile devices, but are still important enough to implement. One example is “click to call”. This feature allows you to add a button that your mobile users can click to instantly engage with your support team or sales team, making it easier to communicate with you. Not only can this increase conversions and sales, but it increases brand loyalty. Despite the increased use in mobile searches and shopping, it seems that many still prefer to talk to someone, either via chat or phone, before making an important or big purchase, so this feature can make a big difference to your bottom line.
Social media integration
Every social media account has a mobile or tablet app, and mobile use on social media has already surpassed desktop use. Make it easy for users to follow you and contact you on these networks with easy and visible links that open their existing social apps. Create automatic posts for them so that they can click a button and share a product or service of yours in seconds. Add other social media features, such as a sign up and login button via Facebook or Google. Social media is all about speed and ease, and it can significantly increase your exposure when used properly.
Consider screens when writing content
A lot of content is never easy to ready on any screen that’s not built for it (e.g. Kindle), but this becomes an even bigger issue with smaller screens. The longer the content, the more scrolling a user has to do on their mobile phone. Always think about how your content looks and how easy it is to read on various screen sizes. Think about things like titles, bullets, and short paragraphs to make it easier to read, and even consider dividing very long content into multiple pages so users don’t feel like they’re scrolling endlessly. Remember to do this for all pages. Every single page on your site is important, from your homepage to your 404 page.
CTA and important content location
Creating a nice header with a strong slogan and CTA (Call To Action) can easily be done above the fold for a normal desktop screen, but that’s no longer the case on laptops and mobiles. The important content you want people to see, such as what you do, your main benefit, and the CTA, should all be above the fold. That means it should be seen easily without having to scroll at all. Always test it out to make sure that it’s all there on smaller devices to make sure you’re not missing out on any conversions from mobile users.
Your primary users
If you’re redesigning your site, you should have statistics on how the majority of your visitors access your site. If you know that 80% of your visitors are desktop users, you’ll still want it to be a responsive website, but you can focus your primary design for them. Alternatively, if you know that mobile users account for most of your visitors, your main design can be mobile-oriented from the get-go.
Once you’ve completed the redesign, or even if you are designing your first site, keep track of who your visitors are and what adjustments you can make. Your site will be friendlier and more appealing to them without compromising your responsiveness on other devices.
Find the right site builder
If you’re using a site builder to create your site, make sure to go with an option that offers designs and templates for responsive websites. Wix is a great example of a site with a strong emphasis on appealing and responsive templates that work on any screen size. You can easily preview your site in different sizes before publishing to adjust as needed. If you’re using BoldGrid, for example, you can find countless WordPress themes that are responsive and very professional, usually at around $50-$80. Before choosing, do a little bit of research on which site builders are best for mobile devices, have responsive themes, and have the features and prices you’re looking for.
Often, finding the menu or how to navigate a website can be difficult when using a mobile phone. Menus don’t look the same because there is no room for a desktop menu, so they are usually a button on the side or hidden. Make sure that users can easily find their way around your site on all devices, and that the design is intuitive. Ideally, have someone that is not familiar with your site test it out for unbiased feedback.
Keep in mind what it’s like to use mobile device every step of the way when your build and optimize your site for mobile. Remember that you don’t want to type too much and fill in too many forms. You don’t want to scroll endlessly through unreadable blocks of content. You want to be able to understand where things are and how to contact the company. The time and effort it takes to create a good responsive site for mobile devices is worth the investment.