Your website provides a lasting impression of your business. A dated web presence suggests a business that is behind the times. The profusion of smartphones and tablets has initiated changes in how websites are displayed and what kind of content is required. Increasingly, users are expecting your site to have less text, more pictures and video. In essence you will need to be “mobile friendly”.
Check out your website on your smart phone and tablet. What do you think? Would you be happy as a viewer? PC’s, tablets, smartphones have different usage patterns. While a tablet may look and feel like a smartphone, in many ways viewing patterns are closer to PC’s. Look at one or two of your favorite sites. How are they different from yours?
Want to know what Google thinks of your website? Put a few pages into this link. It is likely you will be surprised and not very happy. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/. The vast majority of pages will come back as not mobile friendly.
With more than a third of internet content coming from “mobile” devices, it’s time to relook at your website. Here are some approaches to make your internet presence more mobile friendly.
Look at your content and layout. Many websites were designed as a version of your business brochure. They have lots of text, a few pictures, and an assumption that you start at the home page, read it through and end up at a contact us page. This is not what actually happens. For most information sites, around a third of the people start on the home page. The average viewer looks at about 2.5 pages per visit. So, you have to assume that each page is a “start” page and the next page can be any other page on the site.
Here are a few tips:
- Make it eye friendly – add a picture or two to capture my attention – let the picture tell the story; leave only the text that enhances the pictures
- Make it finger friendly – link to videos – for key links put an exaggerated click location (a box or a circle) – or a “click here” notation.
- Make it easy to contact you – add a contact box with email and phone number on every page that makes sense.
- Make the links to your social media more prominent.
If your volume is shifting mostly to tablets, making the changes suggested above may handle many user issues. It is still unlikely to solve the search problem and allow you to “pass” the Google test.
If you are seeing a large shift to smartphones, there are a couple more changes to consider.
- Look at a mobile or responsive site – these sites adjust to the size of screen accessing the content.
- Work with a web person who understands the Google requirements.
- Vastly simplify your presentation. Understand the basic questions your viewer is asking and focus on answering these
- Eliminate reliance on links to pdf’s and downloads. As a restaurant, rather than asking viewers to download a menu to understand what you serve, create a specialties page with your top 5 items. A specialties page can give the viewer information as to what you serve, how much it costs, plus, some insights into your skills in food preparation.
- Consider an app or an online booking service like Open Table. They understand how to create an excellent user experience.
Google has announced that it is changing its search process on April 21st to help searchers on mobile devices get the most relevant and timely results. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in search results. http://googlewebmastercentral.blogspot.com/2015/02/finding-more-mobile-friendly-search.html
As a small business person, it is likely you will be contacted by developers, suggesting that you need to quickly respond to this change. One website developer characterized this change as “Mobilegeddon” What should you do to respond to this change?
Know your numbers. How much of your traffic is coming from personal computers, tablets, and smartphones? For most “information” sites, the majority of traffic is still coming from PC’s. This change will have little impact on those users. Also, you need to understand how much of your website traffic is coming from search. You can get these numbers from Google Analytics, which is available at no charge. If you are not regularly reviewing these numbers, talk to your web expert.
If your website is more than two years old, it’s time for an update. If tablet and smartphone use is significant, it is important to stop and rethink your content creation and user interactions. A new website is in order. But most of your traffic is still personal computers you may not need a rebuild, but certainly a remodel. The remodel, however, will still require more pictures, video and interaction.
When was that last time you looked at your numbers? Updated your website? Revisited your internet strategy? How are you integrating your content creation into your selling process?