It is estimated that by 2013, 50% of all website traffic will be coming from mobile devices. If your site isn’t optimized for these users, it’s likely that your traffic will drop, as users start looking for easier sites to navigate on their cell phones and other mobile devices. Your job as a website owner is to create a site that is both useful and easy to use. To best serve your visitors, you need to get your site prepared for mobile traffic.
However, if the current state of many websites is anything to go by, if your site isn’t mobile-ready, it’s in good company. Even some sites that should know better have websites that are nearly impossible to use on a mobile phone, and the problems these sites have are usually some combination of the following:
- Complicated Navigation. When you’re working on a small touch screen, or worse, having to use arrows to move through a site, the last thing you want is a complicated website. Make sure the information most useful to mobile users is easy to find.
- Links too Crowded. Most people are only going to zoom into your site as much as absolutely needed. That means your links are already going to be a little difficult to hit accurately for touch screen users. Make things easier by spacing your links out.
- Long Download Times. Don’t let the cell phone commercials fool you– we aren’t all living in high-speed 4G hotspots. A lot of users are dealing with a slow, inconsistent connection, which means your massive site is going to take forever to download. Get rid of the excess, and your site’s loading time will improve considerably.
- Poor Layout. No one wants their browsing to be broken up by ads, or to have to scroll back and forth to read text. Keep the site streamlined, and reduce the extras.
- Missing Details. If your business has a physical location, your front page needs to have your phone number, address, and possibly even a map (for those without a smart phone’s GPS abilities). Make it easy for someone to find you.
There are reasons for and against creating a separate mobile version of your site. If your site is already easy to navigate with a great layout, you may not need to consider creating a second site. Also, many of the adjustments recommended for mobile sites are a smart adjustment for your main site, too. Making your site mobile-friendly can improve the overall usability of your site at the same time.