Consumers are going mobile, using their smartphones and tablets to do everything from looking up hot restaurants to comparing product prices in-store. But if your business website isn’t mobile-friendly, you could be losing out on traffic, visits and sales. Here are seven simple tips for creating a mobile-friendly website.
- Think simple. Small mobile devices require paring down your desktop-oriented website. For instance, if you have an ecommerce site, streamline the layout by using short product names and small images. When users click, you can deliver expanded product descriptions.
- Go visual. Icons such as arrows or gears save space compared to words. Just make sure your icons are universally recognizable—don’t try to reinvent the wheel.
- Use smaller images. Photos load more slowly on mobile devices, and customers in a hurry will give up in frustration. Use fewer or smaller images (keep in mind that most mobile device screens are under 200 pixels wide).
- Test legibility. Mobile users will access your site outdoors, in dim lighting, in their cars—who knows where? It’s important that your typeface, design and colors be readable in a variety of settings. Test different fonts and color combinations with users of different ages.
- Avoid auto-refresh. Often, websites periodically auto-refresh. However, this causes problems on mobile devices because it makes downloading take longer.
- Don’t forget the fat-fingered. It’s harder to click on buttons or icons on a small mobile device than it is to use a mouse or keyboard. Make sure your clickable links, buttons or icons have enough white space around them to allow for fat-fingered fumbling.
- Try single columns. If your website has lots of type or images, you probably use multi-column layout. For a mobile device, a single-column layout is much more readable becuase users don’t have to scroll side to side as well as down.
When you’ve got your website mobile-friendly, register it on local search engines such as Yahoo! Local, Bing, Google+ Local and Local.com so customers on the go can find you when they’re doing online searches for businesses to patronize. Don’t forget about the major in-car GPS navigation sites, as well as any niche sites relevant to your business, such as restaurant review or search sites.
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Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a media and custom content company focusing on small business and entrepreneurship. Email Rieva at email@example.com, follow her on Google+ and Twitter.com/Rieva, and visit her website, SmallBizDaily.com, to get the scoop on business trends and sign up for Rieva’s free TrendCast reports.