When people are searching for something on the web these days, they don’t think computer vs phone. They use whatever is at their disposal to find what it is they want to view. For retailers like restaurants and coffee shops in particular, where potential customers are likely to be searching for you while driving (hands free devices only of course), it almost makes more sense to design a website for smart phone and tablet use first. If you already have a site, though, and want to make it easier for mobile browsers to find and explore it, here are some tips for making your site more mobile-friendly.
1. Use plugins.
If you built your main site on a WordPress platform, right now you are in a good position to easily make it mobile-friendly. WordPress has plugins that you can use to convert the basic elements of your site into smooth mobile site.
…although overall WordPress sites adapt much more seamlessly to mobile versions.
The plugins create a reduced alternate version of your website to be displayed on mobile devices, while the full site is shown on desktop. Plugins are available for Drupal and Joomla-based sites as well, although overall WordPress sites adapt much more seamlessly to mobile versions. Get the plugins and you’ve already taken a big step forward.
2. Highlight key information.
Make sure your site features the most important information about your business right up top, so when the site appears on the smaller smart phone screen, people can quickly see what you have to offer and how to get in touch with you. Put it in large typeface so it can be more easily read. Make phone numbers and locational maps clickable.
3. Think light.
Pay attention to the size of images and the formatting of videos. You want the page to load quickly for the finicky mobile viewer, so think site light. Website images can be resized so they don’t take as long to load, and videos with flash are completely useless in the mobile world.
4. Make navigation easy.
For a mobile site viewer, list based (either vertical or horizontal) offers a better solution than the traditional drop-down menu. For a small business website, you should be able to present all key information in list format. This will also help you to keep the most relevant and wanted information at your customers fingertips.
5. Don’t sacrifice your brand.
You want to simply your site for mobile. Your mobile version does not have to be the workhorse your website has become. Keep content to the basics – who, what, where, when and how. But do NOT gut your brand. Use the same logo (you may need to redesign your logo so it works better on mobile).
Keep the same color palette. Key words and phrases describing what you do remain unchanged. The images you have selected to support your brand should appear on the mobile version. Your site should say “This is ME!” wherever people see it.
Creating an effective and engaging mobile version of your website will not only benefit potential customers, but should offer some insight into how to make your primary website more user-friendly. People are demanding easy-to-load, easy-to-read and easy-to-navigate sites regardless of the screen they’re searching for you on. Your job is to make sure your website is giving them the experience they want.