3 Steps to a Mobile-Friendly Website
In my last blog post, I discussed the “mobile revolution.” This week, I’ll share some specifics on optimizing your website for mobile devices.
Step 1: Review Your Website
View your current website on several mobile devices. Even though you can see your website on a mobile phone, that still doesn't mean that it's mobile-friendly.Mobile users want access to the most relevant information, quickly and easily. Can your customers access your phone number, business hours, service menu and booking information with one or two clicks at most? Are the links in a format large enough for fingers to press without selecting another option by mistake?
Websites that are hard to use form a bad impression. Think of the brand disconnect—your spa is a relaxing oasis, your website a constant source of frustration.
Tip: If you use Google Analytics, you can find the number of mobile devices that are accessing your website and compare the averages of those visitors to the averages of desktop visitors.
Step 2: Understand Mobile Fundamentals
When creating a mobile website, keep in mind the small size of mobile screens and mobile users’ behaviors. Website visitors act differently when viewing sites on a mobile device. Whereas users scroll from top to bottom on a PC, mobile users often navigate side to side (left to go back to the home page, right to go to the next page.)
While a website designed for a desktop computer can be viewed in today’s smart phones, reading the contents often requires a technique called ‘pinching and zooming’. Ideally, a site designed specifically for the mobile context will present text and images in a format that can be read without all of the digital gymnastics.
· Keep it quick
· Make it easy to buy something or contact you
· Simplify navigation
· Help people find and get to your local sites
Step 3: Build a Mobile Website or Integrate “Responsive Design”
You have two basic options for making your site mobile-friendly,” says veteran spa industry web developer Jeremy Rhoten. “The first is to maintain two separate sites – your current, full-size website and a mobile version of the site. The second is to design or retrofit your website to be both desktop and mobile-friendly using a technique called responsive design.”
There are pros and cons to each approach. In the first scenario, users are redirected to the mobile site when viewing on a tablet or smart phone. “The downsides are maintaining content in two separate locations and the unreliability of ‘browser sniffing technologies’ that determine what type of device someone is using,” says Rhoten.
With the second approach, your website is built to be “responsive.” Known as the “Rolls Royce” of mobile, a responsive website is able to dynamically change its layout according to the type of browser that it is being viewed on. Content management is handled in a single location, and no form of browser detection is necessary. “While more elegant, this approach can be more expensive to implement,” adds Rhoten.
Just do it!
The “high-touch” spa industry has always struggled to keep up with the technologies our clients are using on a daily basis. Don’t let your discomfort with technology prevent you from acting on the mobile revolution—your business depend on it. Just do it!
For more information on making your website mobile-friendly, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.