What Your Website Needs for Better Mobile Performance
Small business consumers, especially millennials, are now using smartphones at every point in their customer journey to engage with your business. Almost half of all U.S. consumers turn to mobile to access financial services, search for real estate, and engage with healthcare. 4 out of 5 consumers use mobile to shop. But business performance in the mobile channel has disappointed. Average mobile conversion rates are significantly lower on mobile than on desktop (but higher on tablet than phone), contributing to a substantially lower customer lifetime value.
Optimizing Your Website for Mobile
There are a few things small business owners can do to improve the way their websites are viewed and used on mobile devices. Efficient page performance has six dimensions: speed, responsiveness, searchability, content, conversion, and usability. When you assess your website's existing mobile experience, use this checklist as a starting point for identifying quick opportunities for performance optimization.
6 Things Your Website Needs for Better Mobile Performance
Cellular mobile networks are not simply slower versions of broadband networks. Each individual network request has a much higher initial response delay than landline broadband. And every individual image, video, script, stylesheet and font generates its own request. That means that it’s far more important to bundle and combine page contents into as few files and images as possible than it is on desktop. Using the same technical strategy as for desktop is not enough.
Many mobile sites are now being built using responsive designs that reflow the same content as the desktop site into new layouts. But reflowing layout should be just the starting point for your small business mobile page strategy. Images also need to be explicitly “pre-sized” for various mobile screen sizes, and where possible their compression level should be lowered to save bandwidth. In addition, pages need to have separate tablet and phone layouts.
Mobile pages need to be correctly configured for the best search ranking. This could include pointing Google back to the appropriate desktop page for indexing (also called a canonical link). Google has also recently updated its algorithm to promote pages that are mobile-friendly over those which are not.
Content is a key part of mobile optimization. Apart from pages on information sites like news, sports and reference sites, pages with 150 words or less above the fold tend to perform best on mobile. Another important consideration is the font. It’s extremely important to get font sizes right for the device - particularly if a significant part of your audience is older and unable to read small text. And it’s surprisingly easy to have calls-to-action disappear below the fold in badly implemented responsive sites.
For information sites, remember to check how your page will display in “reading mode” on iOS, and consider adding inline calls to action.
Improving conversion rate is usually a key goal when optimizing mobile experiences, and often the best optimization opportunities are in form completion and in checkout. Mobile sessions tend to be short and users easily distracted. So it’s best to avoid long checkouts cluttered with promotions and upsells. Do everything you can to minimize the number of form fields, and always turn off the built-in autocorrect for form fields.
Start with the basics. The hitbox for tappable items should be at least 42 pixels in radius, and there should be at least 20 pixels between items. It’s surprising how easy it is to miss this somewhere on your page.
An important part of creating memorable, high converting mobile experiences is designing and delivering each page for the highest possible level of performance. It starts with an effective small business website, which should be an integral part of your small business marketing plan.
About the Author:
Ajay Kapur is CEO and Founder of Moovweb, the pioneer in powering engaging mobile experiences for the world’s leading brands. Moovweb Optimize is the industry’s first MEO platform that enables companies to grow revenue, engagement and brand loyalty by providing device-specific, contextual mobile experiences that convert up to 70 percent better. The company also launched its free mobile performance tool, MoovScore, to help companies assess their technical performance versus their industry peers.