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Still Don’t Have a Mobile Site? Here Are the First Steps to Take

by aschmidt

steps_for_getting_a_mobile_siteIn only a few short years, the need for businesses to have a mobile-friendly website has shifted from a nice-to-have convenience to an absolute necessity. A recent report released by ComScore noted that roughly 60 percent of all online traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets, up from 50 percent the previous year. In addition, Google’s recent algorithm change (dubbed “Mobilegeddon”) now gives more weight to mobile-friendly websites in their search rankings, which means that your site could experience a significant drop in search traffic if it’s not compatible with mobile devices.

With dramatic transitions such as these taking place, making sure you’ve got a mobile-friendly online portal that can cater to the traffic from hand-held devices is key. And if you haven’t yet ventured into mobile territory, it’s not too late to get started. Below are the first steps to take to get the ball rolling on mobile website development.

1. Decide if you want to develop a separate mobile site, or simply redesign your current site to accommodate mobile traffic. Both choices have their benefits and drawbacks; for example, building a separate mobile website will mean greater speed, efficiency and compatibility with practically all mobile devices, but you’ll also have to consider the fact that you’ll now have two sites to maintain instead of one.

The effort involved in redesigning your current website to accommodate mobile traffic can range from fairly simple to quite complex. On the simple side, a special CSS stylesheet can adjust the site’s appearance for mobile devices. A more complex redesign involves developing a wholly responsive site that’s coded to automatically resize pages and rearrange page elements to fit screens of all sizes. Much of this decision will be based on factors such as your current website capabilities, budget and technical support.

2. Remember that your site layout will be different. It goes without saying that mobile interfaces are smaller in size than desktops, so you’ll have to pare down much of your layout while keeping the essential elements of your pages intact. Your logo should be prominently visible, but small enough to download quickly, as images often take a longer time to load on mobile networks. Your navigation elements should always be at the top, and easy to recognize and use. Your footer should be concise, carrying only essential information, and not be loaded down with links. When it comes to outfitting a site for mobile use, elegance and simplicity are the priorities.

3. Pay attention to minor details, as they can make all the difference in the quality of your visitors’ experience. Font sizes should be increased to improve readability. Buttons and other clickable items should be large enough for visitors to tap with ease. Phone numbers should feature click-to-call functionality, as most mobile devices have phone capability. Always keep your visitors in mind during any site development – in the case of mobile sites, try to think in terms of optimal usability for someone who is “on the go.”

4. Keep in mind that scripts like Flash and JavaScript can be a complete flop on a mobile device. Regular website browsers should read these just fine, but most mobile browsers tend to “choke” on this type of code, resulting in either a badly fragmented page or a frozen browser altogether. In addition, other script-based elements such as hover-activated drop-down menus don’t serve mobile visitors well. Be sure that your most important navigational choices are plain to see, and that they don’t require any unusual action on the part of the user to get to them.

5. Building a mobile site is a daunting task, so it is a good idea to connect with a digital marketing agency that has experience and proficiency in the area of mobile website design and development. Working with a digital agency will help you fill any gaps in your understanding regarding mobile site design, and they’ll provide you with the guidance and expertise you need to make informed decisions regarding how to proceed with the development of your mobile site.

They’ll also give you an array of options in terms of optimizing the look and feel of your mobile-friendly site, enabling you to maximize the potential of your mobile traffic. By partnering with a qualified digital marketing agency, you’ll have access to a team of people who have the insight and technical know-how to turn your website into a mobile powerhouse.

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