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Optimizing Your Website For Mobile Devices

The optimization of websites has been a trend that has dominated the conversation for most of the decade, and for good reason: smart devices have brought the Internet to everyone. Thus, nearly every living adult can be categorized as a potential customer, meaning you need to do whatever it takes to ensure everyone can use your website to its fullest potential. Regardless if visitors are browsing using a desktop, tablet, or their trusty smartphone, a solid web experience is crucial to convert those browsers into buyers.

But what do you need to know in order to ensure your website is welcoming on all devices? You don’t have to be a genius – and our Windsor digital marketing company can certainly optimize your website perfectly – but it’s important to understand why optimizing certain aspects of your site is so crucial to your success. Keep reading – we guarantee you will learn something.

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Mobile friendly or mobile first?

Which should you choose? If you want the least amount of work possible, a mobile friendly approach is your best bet. Taking your desktop-tailored website, optimizing it using mobile friendly rules simply shrinks your website down so it’s scaled to your mobile device and simple to navigate. Unfortunately, it has its drawbacks – primarily with text being too small for a lot of people to read. Moreover, you may find artifacts that are a pain to make go away (e.g. text that bleeds off the page, unaligned images, etc.). When the mobile friendly approach works well, it just works; when it doesn’t, it’s a hassle.

Alternatively, consider mobile first. It’s a safe option to take in 2018, as the number of users that use a mobile device to browse the Web in Canada was 22.8-million in 2016; it’s expected to be 28.6 by 2021. To give you some sense of an idea, the entire population of Canada in 2016 was 35-million. Even in 2016, only 12-million Canadians didn’t use a smartphone!  It’s safe to say that optimizing your website using the mobile first approach is not only a safe idea, it’s arguably the better one. Using a simple design and layout that can automatically scale depending on the device, it’s arguably the most flexible option you have. The beauty of the mobile first approach is that it just works – and looks damn fine no matter if you’re reading on a desktop or smartphone.  

Keep it simple

Gone are the days of loading your website with every Flash object you can get your 90’s hands on; on the Web, simplicity is king. Figure out exactly what needs to be viewed on the mobile version of your website and plan accordingly. Sure, that sped-up wedding cake video looks awesome on a desktop, but a simple picture of a cake can also suffice. Place an emphasis on keeping only relevant content that showcases exactly what your brand is all about while making it simple to navigate the site. Be aware: if your website is difficult to navigate on a mobile device, nobody is going to stick around. Ease-of-use is essential (more on that in a moment) and it goes hand-in-hand with keeping your mobile site simple.

Also keep your load times minimal

It doesn’t matter how beautiful and minimal your website looks – if it isn’t optimized appropriately, it’s all going to be for nothing. This includes ensuring that the load times on every page are quick and seamless (i.e. every page should load in less than three seconds – anything less and you risk losing potential customers). It avoids frustration on the customer’s end and it ensures your site’s ranking doesn’t get penalized by Google.

Load times not where you want them to be? Consider removing any unnecessary images, resizing images so they aren’t as fileheavy, remove unneeded elements (e.g. a blank text box you forgot to delete), and more. Keep it simple, keep it light.

Easy navigation

When tweaking the navigation of your site, always ask yourself the following: “Can my grandmother find everything?” If your answer isn’t met with a resounding yes, you need to fix your site’s navigation. Moreover, think about the goal of the site. While you want to make money, what are the steps that must be taken for that to happen? Does a potential customer need to call you first? If so, ensure that the call button is always one click away no matter where the visitor is on your site.

Want visitors to buy from you directly on your website? Ensure that not only can visitors easily search no matter where they are on the site, but also create easy-to-navigate categories and self-explanatory. If a visitor wants to buy a scarf, don’t hide the product deep in unisex, woven apparel: put it in the first place you would want to see it.

User testing

Before going live, ask a couple of people to navigate your mobile site to see if anything needs to be tweaked or fixed. Load times should be optimal, navigation should be a breeze, and knowing how to find something should take no longer than a second. A mobile optimized website is mandatory in 2018 – do your part to ensure your visitors have a worthwhile experience.

If your website is in need of a refresh to make it mobile friendly or you are looking to create a brand new mobile friendly website, schedule a meeting with Web Geeks and we can create a functional website that suits your business needs!