As a layman, one can easily assume that all websites are naturally compatible with smaller screen devices such as those of tablets or smartphones.
The truth of the matter however is, that this is not the case at all. Upon viewing a website on such smaller screens, a regular-sized site's content can suddenly be illegible and/or prove problematic for visitors.
There are many web design companies offering mobile websites to Clients and if you don't know what to look for when considering a mobile-friendly website provider, you can easily end up with a less-than-desirable website.
The Web & Search Team here at White Shark Media wanted to offer you some tips on what providers should always deliver on when helping your company making the leap to a mobile website.
Humberto Cuadra, top Webmaster at WSM, felt it is essential to always include the following:
1. A "Call Us" Button below the Header:
Visitors wanting to call you via your website on a mobile-friendly site, need to be able to just press on a button and instantly connect with you. Websites with your displayed phone number (and not appearing as an actual "Call Us" button), can easily translate to massive spikes in your website's bounce rate.
In this day and age, you must make it as easy as possible for visitors to get in touch with you. Asking people to visually remember and then retype your phone number in order to call you, is simply not going to cut it. Your leads and sales can quickly suffer.
2. A Friendly Menu with Up to 5 Elements:
Then of course, there is the great reduction in screen size you're dealing with. It stands to reason that you'd want to keep your screen space as unsaturated as possible so as not to drown your visitor visually. Limiting your menu to 5 elements is definitely best practices for creating a truly mobile-friendly site.
3. Optional Vertical vs. Horizontal Screen Visibility:
As you may or may not know, mobile owners have the ability to view their device screens in a vertical or horizontal format, so always assure your website is able to adapt to this possible repositioning of your site. Prospects viewing sites with such pitfalls can easily cause a loss in user engagement and ultimately, a loss in conversions.
Claudia Muñoz, the second halfof our top Webmaster team, had these additional guidelines:
4. A "Back to Home" Button on Every Page:
Navigation can become easily frustrating for visitors when they can't find the back button. Make sure this is on your checklist when you're reviewing the job the designers did for you.
5. Assure Every Link on your Mobile-Friendly Site Looks Truly Clickable:
Just as a visitor should always be able to click and call, you should also ensure your links look genuinely clickable on your mobile site. Mobile sites differ from normal screen sites in that links and regular text can prove to appear ambiguous, so color blue and underline what is truly clickable within you site.
Additionally, it’s also recommended to not use the color blue or underline text that is not clickable.
6. Prompt Visitors When They Are Downloading External Files (Such as PDFs, MS Word, Excel, etc.):
There's a need for a certain level of etiquette on such small screens. Visitors are going through the daily hustle and bustle of their lives so you must be considerate if they download something that can totally skew their mobile experience.
It's considerate to give folks a heads up, so always prompt when appropriate!
Mario Delgado, Lead Developer at WSM, pointed out that you should not forget to:
7. Make your Site's Content Clear and Concise:
You have a smaller screen to deal with now so what you choose to present your visitors... matters. Ask yourself, "Have I communicated my message as efficiently/effectively as possible within this highly-constrained space?
8. Thumbnail-Sized Images:
Pictures can easily appear distorted on smaller screens so make sure your provider works with thumbnail, reduced-sized images so they appear at their best on all mobile devices.
9. Create a Proportionally Small Footer Containing Disclaimer-Related Information:
The terms and conditions of your products or services always need to be displayed, but smaller screen dimensions must be considered as well when fitting to scale.
10. Expandable Menus on Every Page:
Again, real estate is limited on smaller screens so if your menu is elaborate, then always assure your provider sets up Expandable Menus vs. menus taking up too much space.
Mark Bell, Director of Search Marketing at WSM, closed the interview by highlighting the importance of:
11. Fast Loading Times
A sure-fire way to lose a prospective customer is by having a very slow loading time for you site. Prospects checking out your site have very high expectations regarding loading time.
People want to quickly access their information and be able to swiftly take action. So if you can’t even make it to first base in this respect, then your website’s bounce rate is going to skyrocket!
12.The Need to Always Test Your Site:
Then of course, there is the most basic of rules… always check your site! People too often “assume” that what they were promised, was actually done. Well… you know what they say about assuming!
Furthermore, it’s strongly suggested you test your site periodically, to ensure its proper functionality over the long term. Again, never assume anything!
13. Optimize Periodically
Lastly, just as with anything else… optimize, optimize, optimize!
Content and functionality can easily grow stale, outdated… even irrelevant. We have to stay on top of content and constantly ask ourselves, “1- Does my mobile site’s content support one of my company’s key business objectives? Or, 2- Does the content fulfill my visitors’ needs?”. If both answers are “No”, then you definitely need to update and optimize your site ASAP!
All in all, there are many bells and whistles you can incorporate in a mobile-friendly site, but you have to take care of the basics first.
Remember, you have only one chance to make a first impression with a prospective Client... What will that first impression be when users visit your site on their mobile device?