Without putting too fine a point on it, it really doesn’t take a genius to figure out that ignoring the mobile web market is about as advisable as not bothering with a website in the first place. But at the same time, there’s quite a lot more to it than simply hashing out any-old mobile website just for the sake of getting the job done – at least if you’re bothered about any semblance of success.
Technically speaking, those yet to catch up with the mobile movement are already painfully late to the party. On the plus side, the same latecomers have the benefit of being able to tap into a vast arsenal of knowledge, insights and indeed the trials-and-errors of a thousand and one others. And when you have the mistakes of others to use as reference points, there’s really no excuse for making the same mistakes yourself.
So with this in mind, here’s a quick overview of the five most important ‘dos and don’ts when it comes to building a mobile website that will hopefully do more than just exist:
Do – Design With Your Visitors in Mind
First up, avoid getting into the process in a mind-set whereby you are creating a mobile website for the purpose benefiting your business and expanding current web operations. This will lead you down the wrong path entirely – it’s a much better idea to design the site from the ground up with your visitors in mind. Or in other words, think about them, forget about you.
Do – Make Links Clickable
Try to bear in mind that just because the tiny text on your mobile website can technically be read, this doesn’t mean your links can be clicked. There’s nothing worse than not being able to get where you want to be simply due to textual links being too small to press. For this reason, it’s better to assume that all of your site’s visitors will have somewhat stubby and chubby fingers.
Do – Focus on Speed
There’s almost nothing more important than speed when it comes to the outstanding mobile web experience. With limited hardware power and bandwidth to play with, this means keeping things as simple and smooth as possible.
Do – Keep it Concise
Also try to bear in mind that the average mobile web user dips in and out of things when they only have a couple of minutes, maybe even a few seconds to spare. As such, you need to get straight to the point with what it is you are saying/offering, otherwise you’ve no chance of winning them over.
Do – Test it to Death
Sure, it works great on Android, but what about iOS? Windows Phone? 3.5-inch screens and 13-inch screens? Suffice to say, there’s no such thing as too much testing.
Don’t – Try Replicating Your Desktop Site
If you try to faithfully replicate your desktop site, you’ll completely lose sight of what matters and end up ruining the whole thing…end of story.
Don’t – Show Off
Even if you have all the web design talent in the world at your disposal and plenty of money to spend on the venture, you’ll gain absolutely nothing by showing off. Flashy visuals, videos, intricate navigation systems and so on – all huge turn-offs for the mobile crowd in general.
Don’t – Forget Streamlined Action Buttons
Technically speaking, whatever it is you do or whatever it is you sell, it should be way easier for mobile visitors to convert than standard desktop visitors. Ideally, you should be looking toward things like one-click purchases and streamlined action in general in order to help them get where they need to be, fast!
Don’t – Make Your Mobile Site Mandatory
Oftentimes, there’s really nothing more annoying than hitting the web with a shiny and powerful 13-inch tablet only to find that the sites you want to visit will only let you view their respective low-definition mobile versions. Feel free to direct mobile traffic to your mobile site, but be sure to ALWAYS give the option of transferring to your standard desktop site…and make it easy to do it, too.
Don’t – Forget Your Contact Details
Last but not least, never forget that the vast majority of consumers are already using the web…by primarily mobile devices…to check out goods, services and brands before being willing to part with their cash. As such, you need to make it extraordinarily easy for your mobile site’s visitors to find your full and comprehensive contact details within seconds of arriving. You have to assume that they technically already know what they want and therefore only need to know where you are and how to get in touch with you. If it’s too tricky to find your contact details in a matter of seconds, they’ll simply go to one of your rivals instead…and never return.