31 Oct Going Responsive – A Marketing Must
Did you know, every day an average of 353,000 babies are born across the world and according to Apple, 667,000 iPhones are sold every day?
Did you know that smartphones are now the most popular way to browse the internet? Mobile-ready websites, sometimes referred to as a “responsive website”, are here to stay and are fast becoming one of the dominant ways users access the content. According to Google, nine out of ten smartphone searches result in an action (purchasing, visiting a business, etc.). When you look at statistics like these, having a mobile-friendly or responsive website is no longer a maybe, it’s a must.
Mobile-Friendly vs. Mobile Website
What is the difference between a mobile-friendly website vs. a mobile website? A mobile-friendly website is an HTML based website that doesn’t contain flash. This type of website is viewable on a smartphone, but it is not necessarily optimized for a smartphone. The user is required to pinch to zoom, scroll left and right, etc., to get to comfortable viewing size.
A mobile “optimized” website is a website that is designed specifically for a smartphone, not a desktop, laptop, or even a tablet. A mobile website is optimized for a much smaller screen and doesn’t require that someone pinch to zoom or scroll left and right. A mobile website is built to be efficient and effective.
Remember, if your website is flash-based or has any flash elements, it falls into neither of these categories. It falls into the “non-viewable, non-user-friendly” category.
Creating an Effective Mobile Website
Creating a mobile website that can accomplish the same goals as your main website can be tricky. First, you need to realize that the user’s objective is most likely different on a smartphone than on a desktop computer. In order for your mobile website to achieve Web success, your mobile marketing strategy might need some re-thinking.
- Start with architecture. Before you create a mobile version of your website, you need to look at the site’s architecture. This will help you decide what information is important to your audience’s needs. Look at the navigation. Are all menu items vital to the user? Shorten the copy by putting yourself in their shoes. Would you read someone’s entire bio from your smartphone? It may mean eliminating some of the fluff so that it’s easier for users to digest. Remember, viewers have short attention spans so you need to decrease the number of pages. Make sure to include mobile-specific links like a “contact” page. One of the main reasons users visit your site via their mobile device is to either email you, look for your phone number, or to find your office address.
- Short, sweet, and simple. Keep the navigation simple and built for efficiency, because speed is everything to smartphone users. The design should stay within your branding style, images should be optimized for quick loading and the content scaled to provide an even more effective user experience.
- Social media, yes. Even though you may incorporate social media feeds into your mobile website, your audience still needs to be able to find links on your website. Be sure to put links such as LinkedIn on each person’s bio page or your firm’s Facebook or Twitter page icons on the contact page. These buttons should be there, but not on the home page. You don’t want the viewer to leave your mobile so quickly.
- Test it on multiple smartphones. Test the mobile website on a variety of smartphones. What looks good on an Android phone may not look good on an iPhone or BlackBerry – just as some websites don’t translate well on all desktop browsers. In developing the mobile site, it is key to have it tested on multiple browsers and mobile devices to ensure optimum performance. In some cases, it may make sense to develop more than one mobile website to reach your audience with different smartphones.
- Measure results. Just like your main website, make sure you have the ability to track analytics. This way you can quickly figure out how much traffic you’re getting from smartphones. Measuring your mobile audience is extremely important and vital to your online marketing success. Being informed about what devices your target audience use will affect your mobile website design decisions. For example, if your mobile audience is 90% Android and iPhone, you shouldn’t worry too much about compatibility for old BlackBerries.
Transitioning your full website to a mobile website is one of the most important and strategic moves that associations and nonprofits are making. According to studies, mobile websites could easily be considered the fastest-growing segment in the digital space today. And if done correctly and strategically, it could be extremely profitable. Mobile websites are quickly becoming an essential part of the web marketing mix—no longer an option but a must. Your clients and prospects are on the go and they need the flexibility of mobile access. Audiences are going to visit your website on their smartphones whether or not you do something about it. The question is, will you take the steps to grow your brand and embrace the mobile revolution?