Businesses of all sizes are falling behind customer expectations when it comes to making their websites mobile ready, a recent study from the Local Search Association reports. Between 47 percent and 67 percent of U.S. small businesses with websites don’t have a mobile-friendly website, the report states. That’s a lot of small businesses that risk losing sales — or not being found at all by customers who are searching on a mobile device.
A mobile-friendly website is important because today, the majority of Internet searches take place on a mobile device, not on a desktop or laptop computer. If prospective customers can’t view your website on their smartphones or tablets, they’ll head over to your competition.
Most small businesses in the study say they haven’t developed a mobile-friendly website because it’s too complicated or difficult. In reality, simply using a website design company that offers responsive design to create mobile-friendly websites will ensure that your website works on a mobile device. Responsive design means that your website “responds” to the device being used to deliver the appropriate experience.
Of course, not all mobile-friendly websites are created equal. To ensure that yours delivers what customers want from a mobile-friendly website, the report recommends:
- Fast load times. Google rewards rapid load times, and users like them, too. Optimize your images so they don’t slow down load time, and be selective about how many images you use.
- Quick contact info. Often, what mobile searchers want most is a way to contact your business. Put your phone number, address and business hours either on the home screen of your website, or no more than one click away. You can also add a click-to-call button for even greater ease.
- Simple navigation. Keep your menus and navigation streamlined. Make sure that links aren’t too close together, and use enough white space so that even people with big fingers can navigate through your site.
- Easy-to-fill forms. The difficulty of filling out forms on a tiny phone screen keeps many customers from making online purchases on a mobile device. However, forms can hinder even simple tasks, like inputting a name and email address to subscribe to a newsletter, which can keep you from generating valuable leads. Simplify any form filling that your website requires by using an auto-complete capability, and minimize the amount of information you request.
One last tip from the report: Once you’ve got your mobile-friendly business website up and running, make sure any mobile apps and/or websites that refer website visitors to you (such as Yelp or Google) have accurate, complete information about your business. If the correct information is on their desktop websites, you can feel confident it will populate their mobile apps as well, so you only need to check it in one place.
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Karen Axelton is Chief Content Officer of GrowBiz Media, a media company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Visit her company’s blog at SmallBizDaily.com.