Mobile Apps Win Out: Mobile-Optimizing Your Website

SEO and web icons setIn the first half of this series, we examined the rising use of mobile applications, as well as what companies and their development teams should consider when testing these programs for performance and functionality. Now, we’ll take a look at the other side of the equation – mobile-optimized websites.

Although many users seem to favor mobile applications, retailers should not let their websites fall by the wayside. Especially in certain industries, many individuals still prefer to connect with brands via their web pages.

Recent research shows that while users spend more time on mobile apps, mobile websites produce more sales than their application cousins. Fiftyfive percent of consumers made a purchase via a mobile website last December, according to eMarketer. This is in comparison to the 34 percent who completed a transaction on a mobile app. Moreover, 32 percent of American consumers regularly make purchases via mobile websites, according to statistics from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“Apps may be where mobile users spend most of their time…but when it comes to spending money, mobile websites are where consumers funnel their funds,” eMarketer stated.

Therefore, when enhancing or building your own website for your company, it is critical to consider mobile optimization. But how can organizations go about ensuring that their website is fit for use on a smartphone, tablet or other mobile device? Here are a few tips and best practices for mobile optimization:

Utilize similar brand elements, but simplify
In order to create a unified experience across your desktop website and the mobile-optimized version, designers should seek to leverage matching brand elements, suggested SocialMedia Examiner. These can include the brand’s name, logo and color pallette.

However, the mobile website shouldn’t be an exact copy of the regular site. Designers should aim to simplify elements, content and capabilities for mobile users, whose screen size is often limited.

“Given the restricted amount of screen space, it’s important to figure out what key pieces of information your visitors will probably be looking for,” SocialMedia Examiner noted. “It’s also important to keep the steps involved in going from entry point to purchase as simple as possible.”

Build a responsive mobile website
WPExplorer contributor Tom Ewer also emphasized ensuring that the mobile website is responsive so that it reacts appropriately to the size of any mobile device. For instance, a responsive site is displayed differently when viewed on a smartphone versus when accessed via a tablet or desktop computer. Components are automatically arranged according to the device’s screen size and display capabilities. This projects an impage of a modern, technologically inclined business.

“Having a responsive design to your site simply means that it will be customized automatically, no matter what source your viewer is visiting from,” Ewer wrote. “Pretty cool, right?”

Graphics and text: Choose wisely
Remember when we talked about simplifying the mobile website? The same principle should be applied not only to brand elements, but the text and graphics of the site as well. Ewer advised eliminating all but the important graphics, particularly those that are elaborate. The same goes for text content – users aren’t likely to zoom and scroll to read text, so this information should be included judiciously. While a lack of bells and whistles may seem questionable, users will likely enjoy the site more without these needless additions.

“Forget about all the ‘frills’ that many sellers try to use to garner more attention to their products,” Ewer wrote. “Give shoppers only what they need to make an informed purchase.”

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