by Lori Campbell of PressTheWord
Mobile websites are more than a passing fad. They are now a necessity for anyone hoping to do serious business on the internet or wanting to provide maximum exposure for a business.
If you are looking to setup your own mobile site, below are a few tips that will help you design and setup your site.
1. Check out the Competition.
If you want great ideas on what works in regards to mobile websites, check out some of successful websites from businesses similar to yours. Check them out with all types of mobile devices and make notes on which devices and features work the best, which sites are the easiest to navigate, and even make notes on how they present their contents. This will be invaluable as you design your site.
Also, make sure you keep tabs on them in the future as you may run across ideas to improve your mobile website down the road.
2. Focus on Important Content to Your Customers.
One mistake that many web designers make when designing their mobile sites is assuming that all of the information on their parent site needs to be on the mobile site. The problem with this assumption is that the mobile version becomes cluttered and difficult to maneuver.
Instead, you should focus you content in such a way that it provides the information your customers will typically look for in order to help them make a decision. Include information that is likely to interest your customer and leave the rest for the main site.
3. Avoid Flash and Popups.
Popups and Flash should both be avoided in a mobile environment. Much like in the desktop environment, popups can be very annoying but in a mobile environment they can cause sites to take longer to load and drive away visitors looking for quick answers.
Flash animations are another feature that detracts from mobile content due to their slower load time. You will be best served to replace these flash animations with text driven content that is fast loading.
4. Incorporate WP Touch for WordPress Sites.
If you are a WordPress user, then you will want to explore the option of using the WP Touch plugin. It is a free tool that will create mobile-optimized version of your site automatically and you can customize it to fit your branding elements.
Some don’t like the basic theme style of this plugin, but for many out there this will more than fit the bill for a mobile site. This is great for those with blogs or simple websites that are set up using WordPress.
5. Include Access to the Main Site.
When designing your mobile site, be sure to include a way for users to get back to your main website should they desire to go there. Mobile sites are setup for quick data and are great for most users, but some will still want to access the full site. This link can be at the bottom of your page, but make sure it is there.
6. Avoid Third-Party Hosting for Your Mobile Site.
When the mobile website craze began, many companies popped up giving website owners options of having their websites setup and hosted. While these are a convenient option, the reality is that they no longer are the best option for mobile users. Google now penalizes you in search results when your mobile site is hosted in a different location than your main site. This can cause your mobile site to be too far down on a search list for anyone to discover.
With numerous options available to create simple mobile sites, there should be no reason for you not to host them on the same provider as your main site.
7. Adequately Test Your Mobile Site.
Many of you know that most websites will show up differently when displayed on IE versus Firefox or Chrome. The same concept applies to mobile websites. With well over 500 different screen variations in existence for mobile devices, you will want to make sure that you do adequate testing on your site to ensure that the majority of devices have a great experience. You can do a search for these tools or discuss with your developer what options you have for testing.
So there you go, I hope that these few tips can help you get started in creating your mobile friendly website. If you have more questions about WordPress or web design in general, visit our latest tutorial on how to create a mobile friendly website and chat with us through comments and we’ll help you get started:
Lori Campbell is a member of the PressTheWord, a web design tutorial channel on YouTube which teaches small businesses and startups how to easily build websites on their own.