In the last five years, the use of smart phones has more than doubled, and with internet friendly smart phones now being in the hands of over 50% of cell phone users, many people are now using smart phones as their primary way to browse the internet. In 2008, less than 1% of all internet traffic was done through cell phones. Last year, that number reached over 15%, and Marketing Land is reporting that that number is expected to jump to over 50% next year. With so many people using the smart phones to access the internet, online entrepreneurs are under increasing pressure to make their websites mobile friendly. For some, this can mean investing some extra cash, but for those who don’t have the money, here are five tips that will help make your site more mobile friendly without investing any money.
1: Images and Videos
Adding multi-media elements to blog posts and website has been a key tactic to keep audiences engaged, but this may be a trend you want to curtail if a significant amount of your traffic comes from smart phones. The reason being is for this is that web pages load up significantly slower on smart phones than they do on computers. Even the fastest 3G services lag behind. Including images and videos does make it easier for visitors to share your page on social networking sites like Pinterest, and makes the page more engaging, it may take longer for your page to load up in there is an excessive number of images, in which case you may lose some traffic. This will be exacerbated if you have Google Ads on your page. Be sure to stick to one or two images only, or one video, that way visitors won’t be discouraged by loading time.
2: Java Script
Jennifer Lonoff Schiff, from CIO, reports that Java Script can likewise be a bad idea. The primary concern with Java Script is that not all devices and browsers run as smoothly as others, and some don’t even run at all. If a visitor goes to your site and the Java Script doesn’t load up, or asks that the visitor download an update, you will likely lose a visitor. Though some might suggest that you can still use Java Script, I would suggest avoiding it or keeping it to a minimum. Use platforms that are easily accessible to all platforms, hardware and web browsers so that you don’t lose any visitors.
3: Short Posts May Be Best
To facilitate easy loading time, be sure to try and keep your posts short. In order for your posts do well on search engines, it is generally a good idea to have at least 500 words per post so that search engine spiders recognize that you do have content, but if a significant amount of your traffic comes from smart phones, try to keep your content under 600 words. Not only does this reduce loading time, but smart phone traffic doesn’t tend to make for long visits. Short posts ensure that visitors get all your content. Before structuring your content for smart phone users, check out your analytics and see where your traffic is coming from. If you have longer posts and notice that visitors are staying a while and coming from computers, don’t feel like you have to shorten things up, but be sure to continuously monitor traffic trends and ensure your content is geared toward your visitors.
Anybody who has used a smart phone knows that trying to navigate on a website with your thumbs and fingers is not as easy as it is to navigate through a website on a laptop or computer. Make sure that there is significant space between your tabs article headlines. This way, visitors won’t be as likely to accidently click on the wrong one. Aside from leaving space, you can also make tab and headings bigger, which gives visitors a larger surface to click. If you have Google or Bing ads on your site, you may also want to position them so that visitors don’t accidently click on an ad when trying to navigate to another page. Making the page easy to navigate on a smart phone will allow for a more user-friendly page and a more positive experience for your visitors.
5: Test it
A lot of people make the mistake of only visiting their website when previewing recent posts or editing old ones. Because most users update their websites on their home computer, this means that they don’t always see what their website looks like on a smart phone. To be sure that your website is easily navigable on smart phones, always be sure to check out new posts on your smart phone after loading them up, and be sure to check out your posts through a couple of different browsers. If possible, have a friend with a different smart phone check your posts out as well as not all smart phones have the same functionality and you want to be sure that your website is navigable on all hardware.
If you found this article helpful and would like updates on my latest posts, be sure to follow me on Twitter @MikeBashi. And if you want to read more about making your website mobile friendly, check out Barbara Findlay Schenck’s post on Entrepreneur.com, Jennifer Lonoff Schiff’s post from CIO.com, Susan Gunelius’s post from Forbes, and Dmitri Lau’s article from SitePoint.com, all of which are very helpful.