Did you know that an astounding 80% of all internet users own a smartphone?
According to the recent research by Statista, the number of mobile users is predicted to jump to 5.07 billion by the end of 2019. In order to cater to such a large proportion of population and persuade it to act, marketers need to create a seamless experience across all devices, especially when it comes to mobile ones.
Obviously, mobile optimization conversion has become the key to a successful digital strategy. We have already addressed this trend multiple times on our blog, but what does it really take to build a perfectly optimized site for mobile users?
In order to unveil what the most critical steps in developing a mobile-friendly website are, we talked to six successful entrepreneurs. Grateful for the time the representatives of 123ContactForm, Estimote, Appscend, Kiip, Duct Tape Marketing and Beaglecat took to answer our questions, we are proud to present you with some first-hand tips and insights on the importance of mobile optimization conversion.
1. A mobile-friendly website is essential for all companies with a digital strategy: 123ContactForm
In the last few years, having a mobile-friendly website has become the backbone of any business’ digital strategy. As one of the companies that understand the value of this trend, 123ContactForm works hard on the continuous improvement of their mobile user experience. Juan Manuel Scarilli, the company campaign manager, explains why:
Having a mobile friendly website is essential, not only for online businesses, but for every company that has a website. In big countries and markets like the USA, more than 50% of internet daily traffic occurs on mobile platforms (the number decreases a bit in less developed countries). Smartphones are the second most-used device to surf the web, just after PCs and laptops. But be that as it is, PC and laptop conversion rates, in terms of sales, still triple-up the conversion on mobile phones. That’s because there’s a clear gap, since many of the sites we surf, use and like, are not mobile-friendly, are not optimized, causing discomfort and skepticism in customers and skyrocketing their abandon rate when accessed from these devices. Nowadays and for upcoming years, being mobile optimized is something you definitely need to think about for your business, if you haven’t up to now.
Keep your messages short and visually appealing
What you always need to keep in mind when optimizing a website for mobile users is that they have different objectives than desktop users. Restrained to smaller screens, they typically want to get valuable information in brief, quick and simply digestible bites.
From the strict point of view of communication, strategies vary a bit from the traditional ones. It’s not very likely that someone will read a book or a very long article on a smartphone, is it? Space is reduced, messages need to be shorter than the traditional ones, very precise and visually appealing. As you have less space to catch users’ attention, it’s not a good idea to clutter a small screen with stuff that does not really add value to the customers or, worse, which confuses them and make their navigation unpleasant.
Readapt in Order to Improve User Experience
It doesn’t matter if you started your company 30 years ago or yesterday, the constant improvementof your mobile users’ experience should be the crucial aspect of your business development plan. This simply means that you need to always acquire new trends in order to stay competitive. “As many companies created around 10 years ago, back then there was no mobile traffic, no optimization; so we had to re-adapt,” Scarilli further emphasizes.
Of course, optimizing a website for mobile users is now easier than ever, but implementing it successfully takes time, energy and depletes your creative pool. But, regardless of how long or difficult it may be, mobile adaptation will always pay off.
Redesigning a website and mobile adaption takes time and hard work, so it’s a long process. Last year we redesigned our homepage and the main landing pages of our website, making them more appealing and also mobile friendly, which they weren’t. This year we made a redesign of our forms, to match more current design trends and also making all our forms (new and past) mobile responsive. We have also launched our app for Android and iOS (at present, on iOS the app is under maintenance) to offer mobile users the possibility to access their account from a friendly app. A lot of development is still going and to go, but it’s the direction we have chosen for the following months and years and, up to now, it’s giving good results.
2. Mobile is the Way Many People Find Us: Estimote
For companies targeted at mobile developers, like Estimote, a highly functional mobile website is a must. “Even though we see most conversion coming from desktop browsing, mobile is the way many people discover us,” claims the company’s community manager, Wojtek Borowicz. To support this statement, statistics show that 4 out of 5 consumers use a smartphone to shop.
However, building a mobile-friendly website requires numerous aspects to focus to, especially when it comes to UI design. Some of the most critical things to pay attention to are:
- a layout that will fit the screen
- controls that can be precisely tapped by a finger
- ample contrast between the font color and the background, so content is readable
- no overlapping
- high-resolution versions of images
- the font large enough
- touch controls adapted to make interaction with your app simple
Optimizing a website uses a lot of visual elements including videos and animations, so making it light enough for comfortable mobile browsing was certainly important. It also packs a ton of content, so it was crucial to make it readable and clean on smaller screens.
3. Always Start Simple: Kiip
In the world of mobile marketing, the phrase “You only get one chance to make a first impression” has a more literal meaning than in any other industry. At the most basic level, a landing page determines the interaction a user will further have with a website and this is exactly what makes it critical for the success of your digital strategy. Addressing this issue, Andrew Macnider, one of the Front-end Developers at Kiip, says the following:
Ensuring your site looks good on smaller screens needs to become the default if it has not already. Just think about how you get information when a question pops into your head. Now think about what somebody might think when introduced to your company for the first time. More times than not, if they are going to look you up at all, they’ll do so from a mobile browser.
Macnider further emphasizes that it is the integrated approach that matters the most. In order to optimize your website properly, you need to go step by step. So, build a solid mobility strategy, stick to your plans, set some realistic goals and never rush things up.
It helps to start with a good skeleton and build from there. Start simple, make things look nice for the small screen and add more functionality only after you’re happy with your mobile site.
4. The Number of Companies Not Having a Mobile Responsive Website is Disappointingly Large: Appscend
As a company that provides mobile app development services, 2nd screen real-time engagement solution for broadcasters, native mobile video players SDKs for iOS, Android, Windows, and a real-time back-end solution for IoT, Appscend has built a mobile optimization strategy that addresses the needs of the growing mobile traffic.
In a quick conversation with us, Alex Dragos, the company’s representative, emphasized that one of the largest problems modern-age entrepreneurs face is not having a mobile responsive website.
Having a mobile-friendly website is definitely highly important, and I’m not stating this because I’m in mobility technology business, but look at the mobile market how much is evolving from YoY, everything is mobile. The youth segment is a high consumer of content and acts as a sponge to absorb as much information as possible. I can tell you that it is really annoying if a website is not mobile responsive, not going even to next step by having a mobile app in the stores. I know from the market that majority of the companies don’t have a mobile responsive website, which is a fact.
Similarly to 123ContactForm’s Scarilli and Estimote’s Borowicz, Dragos explains the importance of the mobile-friendly website design. When it comes to coding for smaller screens and shorter attention spans, he sees UI design as a pillar of effective customer conversion.
The easiness of reaching to the information the user is searching for. The UI is really important for a better engagement of the users and providing them a faster way of finding the content/information that is searching for. With this question you are including a larger spectrum of ways of engagement, it can be innovative mobile app that creates a fuss around it, provide them incentives if they perform any type of interaction with the company’s content, gamification, etc. It really depends on the company’s profile, business, products.
5. Continually Test Your Website for Potential Problems: Duct Tape Marketing
Just like 123ContactForm, Duct Tape Marketing is another successful company that needed to revamp their website in accordance with the latest trends. Their representative, Kelly Weppler Hernandez, the Principal at WH & Associates, claims that the main idea behind this was to adopt some new practices that would enrich customer experience and make the digits change:
My client runs an adventure company and the target market is 18 to 35-year-olds who do everything online and, for the most part, from their hand-held device. We used to have guests who would try to make reservations on our previous site and would have trouble, so they would either abandon their reservation or have to call during business hours. When people want to spend money and make a reservation, you want to be as convenient as possible to make the sale happen. Whether that’s with mobile responsive optimization or ensuring all the FAQs are posted so prospects can easily find the answers to their questions, you want to continually test where users abandon and try alternatives to see what makes the stats change.
Once the mobile traffic goes up, the next step you need to take is to check whether all your customers are provided with the seamless user experience.
Because people were seeing these tags on their mobiles, we needed to ensure that if they wanted to make a reservation, they could do so easily from their phone, while they were excited about the event and being influenced by their friends.
However, Weppler Hernandez points out that things didn’t always go so smoothly. When optimizing a website, you need to detect all potential problems quickly and eliminate them in no time. She shares with us some of the major issues they came across when it comes to mobile optimization.
We found that the reservation page didn’t fit neatly in the browser window and guests would have to scroll side to side. Now the reservation page fits with no side scrolling. We also used to have a four-page checkout process and we’ve downsized that to make it more efficient for those trying to complete their reservation on their mobile. We also found that the navigation menu comes up a little differently on a mobile and that means you have to make sure that your customer service understands how things work on a mobile device vs. the standard view on a computer. You don’t want your customer service providing information that is incorrect and even more frustrating for the customer.
6. Responsiveness is essential, but it’s not everything: Beaglecat
For Beaglecat, a B2B digital marketing agency that works with tech companies, having a mobile-friendly website is a crucial factor for developing seamless user experience.
Great user experiences drive word of mouth and organic virality. They inspire users to like, share and comment upon, driving all of the positive attention to your website. By scaling websites to be responsive on mobile devices, companies can make themselves accessible to more prospective clients, increase sales, generate more traffic, and overall boost customer engagement, claims Alexandru Chiuariu, a content marketer at the company.
From his point of view, having a mobile responsive website is the most effective way to drive traffic and, most importantly, to retain your customers. After all, the mere fact that more than 40% of web users would abandon a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load proves how important this all is.
More than half of your website visitors never come back (mobile traffic in 2015 surpassed desktop traffic). Imagine trying to buy a pair of shoes on your mobile phone from a non-responsive website. Why would it be less frustrating for a potential client to try and look at your previous work samples and be unable to see them?
Precisely because of this, as the mobile marketing landscape changes, marketers need to focus on adapting their strategies accordingly.
Among some of the mobile website aspects that should be tailored to match the “less is more” theory are easy to read content, simple and clear CTAs, and easy to find contact details.
In the end, apart from all the mobile optimization elements and tools that could give your mobile users’ experience a boost, never forget to set some values and goals that would differentiate you from your competitors.
Responsiveness is essential but it’s not everything. If you don’t have a clear value proposition that sets you apart from your competitors, customers won’t really understand why you are their one and only choice.
Your next step…
What you need to know is that there is no uniform rule that can turn your initial ideas into an overnight success. However, we believe that these great lessons from companies that have already optimized their site for mobile could provide you with some useful insights into the challenges your company might go through. Hopefully, these tips would inspire you to keep optimizing your website for mobile and successfully overcome all the roadblocks you come across.
Originally featured on the Domain.ME blog, here.