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August 18, 2013 View Original Article

Mobile Is a Big Deal… Why Isn’t Your Website?

Consider these facts:

  • There are more iPhones sold per second than babies born.
  • Mobile Internet use is projected to increase 66% each year for the next five years.
  • Smartphones accounted for half of all mobile phones sold. Last year.

We hear that mobile is “on the rise,” but I think we’d be better off saying… mobile is exploding! As we enter into this tremendous growth period, what are you doing to optimize your website for mobile? Here are a few ideas to toss around before creating a mobile-friendly website…

#1 Use a Mobile-Friendly Platform

Comprehensive website solutions like Squarespace do all the work for you by providing templates that are designed with beautiful, functional mobile use in mind. See the differences between the desktop and mobile versions of the Native template, as an example. (Squarespace certainly isn’t the only site-builder that offers this feature. These days, it’s quickly becoming standard.)

#2 Tighten Up Your Copy

People don’t want to read 800 words about your film/book/business/service. They certainly don’t want to read 800 words about it on their phone. Practice your word economy. Mark Twain once wrote, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.” Lengthy writing is the easy way out. Don’t take the easy way out.

#3 Save Time & Money: Use Inbuilt Functionality

There’s no point in reinventing the wheel. Use what other developers have already pioneered. Instead of writing out directions to your business address, use a built-in Google Maps function. Instead of displaying your phone number in text, allow users to click-and-call.

#4 Does An App Make Sense? Probably Not…

Few and far between are the times where a mobile app makes more sense for a business or a campaign than a mobile website. Rather than run through the long argument, I’ll point to DreamScape’s four reasons why sites beat apps:

  • Your website already has the backend. A mobile website only needs frontend development.
  • You can add and remove features easily. No need to go through Apple’s approval process.
  • Mobile sites work on all mobile devices. Apps are device-specific.
  • Analytics are just as easy and familiar as they are on your main website.

#5 Don’t Bother With Adapting. Build Again.

Last year, Jakob Nielsen (who is pretty much the king of user experience) wrote that instead of optimizing our websites for mobile, we should just create made-for-mobile websites. Nielsen’s philosophy is that mobile users have needs and expectations so radically different from desktop users that business owners should just build two versions of their site and cross-link.

Though Nielsen is a leader in UX, it’s worth pointing out that many people offer fine rebuttals of his approach. Regardless, it’s an option that’s at least worth considering.

#6 Test, Test, and Test

So, your mobile website gets an A+ on the iPhone? But have you checked to see how it appears on the Android? According to recent reports… you better. There are a number of websites that allow you to test how your website functions on a range of mobile devices – not just Android devices and iPhones. Try mobiReady and W3C for starters. Ipadpeek.com is my favorite for testing out how a site looks on an iPad.