Tips for Building A Successful Mobile Website
More than 70% of Fortune 500 companies say they will be implementing some kind of mobile technology in the future. This is an important sign that the internet is constantly changing, now is the best time to invest in this fast growing trend.
The reality now is that all websites get some traffic from mobile devices, as the number of mobile websites increase, so will the amount of mobile traffic. Having a mobile website not only caters to mobile users but it is also a great method of developing client retention.
Where will be the home of your new mobile site? You can either use a subdomain like m.yoursite.com or purchase a.mobi and have the mobile site hosted separately. Setting up traffic stats like Google analytics is another important initial procedure so you can know how well your mobile site is doing. Other basic features you should consider adding are: auto-redirect mobile users from your desktop site to your mobile site, a link to your main website, click-to-call functionality, click-to-map functionality, and of course a contact form . Since Facebook and Twitter are the most commonly used sites on mobile phones, it only makes sense to include those links somewhere in your mobile website design. One more piece of advice when building your mobile website … SIMPLIFY!
Speed & Bandwidth
Many websites contain flash and graphics that may take too much time to load on a smart phone. Smart phone users do not have time for website to load, therefore you need to "shrink" your website content and graphics so that the site will load immediately. Most data plans have a certain amount of bandwidth, no one wants to view a website that kills their bandwidth and costs money.
Trying to navigate a normal desktop website on a mobile device is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. You can see all the little buttons and things but they are too small to read and you can barely click on the links because they are so small. The point of having a website is to make it easy for people to find you, now what is the point if they find you and can not see you properly? When developing your mobile site, select carefully which will be the main buttons of the site, if your site currently has 10 main buttons, shrinking that down to 5 or less would be ideal. Make these buttons large and easily viewable from the home page, this way you can easily categories the primary information within these buttons. A restaurant for example might have: Menu, Coupons, Map & Directions, Book online, etc … Most mobile users are looking for high level information, making that information easily accessible will make for a happy mobile user. Since most mobile phones are designed to be viewed from top to bottom, it only makes that you design your layout the same way, avoid building pages that go from left to right.
Since the mobile device is smaller, you need to rethink the whole design and layout of the website too make it attractive for the mobile version. Websites that are non-mobile-friendly immediately appear too crowded and make it overwhelming for the user. It's like trying to fit all the information of book onto a business card, it just does not make sense.
One important aspect to consider is that the reason so many millions of people love the iPhone is because of how easy it is too use. Making your website the same will ensure client retention and is a critical factor in ensuring your business continues to grow online. Once users discover that you have a mobile version of your site it will get contagious.
APP vs. Browser Based Mobile Website
A business considering a mobile solution usually has two options, either a mobile website or a mobile application. Both these options are quite different, especially in pricing, add a few digits when it comes to developing an app. A mobile web design on the other hand can be built within the same budget as a normal website. Statistics show that the mobile browser is growing in popularity and compared to the mobile application.
How to implement the mobile site
Once you have finished building your mobile website, you need to add a script to make your site recognizable to mobile users. Because there are so many types of browsers and platforms used by mobile users, beginners in mobile web design should focus on making the site available to the most commonly used devices. Make sure to constantly test the site on your mobile site to make sure everything is working smoothly.
Do not …
Use pop-ups: Nobody likes pop-ups on desktop websites so they will be even less appreciated on a mobile device, they can also cause browser problems.
Use too many images: As mentioned previously, the pages need to pop up quickly, the less images you have the better.
Clutter your website: I can understand normal websites having all sorts of links and clutter everywhere but this is really unnecessary on a mobile device.