How to Build Your Website For The Mobile-First Experience in 2019

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If 2019 is the year you satisfy all your customers, it’s time to go mobile. If your website isn’t up to scratch to the mobile experience, they will bail out – leaving you with lost leads, sales and potential long-term customers.

Although your website doesn’t need to undergo a drastic overhaul as you prime it for the mobile experience, there are a few niggling things you need to take care of. The good news? It’s nowhere near as hard as you might have feared.

As you bid to bring your website in line with what users expect in 2019, let’s take a look at how to get it ship-shape for the mobile experience.

Optimize For Site Speed

It’s essential that you run your website through a mobile site speed tester to make sure your page load time is acceptable. If your website takes too long to load, impatient mobile users will quickly exit.

One thing you really need to do is minimize server response time. To that end, It’s important that you choose a hosting provider that won’t let you down when you begin to build your website and attract more traffic. Things like first byte time – also known as ‘waiting time’ – are crucial when it comes to the mobile user experience. You can also improve your web server configuration or software to further minimize server response time.

Work with an image compressor tool to ensure that your images are optimized for size, too. Oversized images are, after all, one of the biggest reasons a website is loading slowly.

Another thing you can do to speed up your mobile site speed is to reduce the amount of page redirects. According to research, redirects are “the single biggest source of wasted time in your code and can dramatically affect your page speed.”

Lastly, avoid Flash. Flash was all the rage a few years back, but it’s now bad for SEO and it can slow your website down. Moreover, there are some devices that don’t support it at all (including Android).

Prioritize The User Experience

Key to the success of your website on any device is its user experience. However, it’s even more important on mobile devices, with research showing that mobile users are more impatient than desktop users. This means they will exit your website pretty much straight away if it doesn’t conform to their expectations.

User experience refers to the usability of your website. For example, while on desktop your fonts can be quite small, they need to be bigger on mobile. This is because smaller fonts mean that a user has to zoom-in to see the text properly – which is super frustrating.

Essentially, it’s all about using common sense on your part and understanding what would make for a good user experience. Make your buttons larger and keep them at a fair distance from each other so that the user doesn’t tap the wrong one by mistake. Do the same with all your links. If two links are too close to each other, it’s really easy for the mobile user to tap the wrong link by mistake. This frustrates the user experience.

Switching autocorrect off for forms is a good idea. When filling out a form on their mobile device, the last thing a user wants is for their device to start automatically filling in each field with the wrong word.

Make sure to remove any unnecessary information from your screen, too. If information – or visuals – will only serve to distract or frustrate the user, eliminate them.

Another simple way to improve the user experience is by making it easy for the user to switch to desktop view. You’ll find that some users prefer this, so make sure you give them the option.

Produce Mobile Friendly Content

As mentioned, the way mobile users behave is different from desktop users. Research has shown that mobile users want fast, actionable information, and they don’t want any distractions. As such, you need to adapt your content accordingly.

Not just this, but you also have to take into account the different screen size. Because mobile screens are much smaller than desktop screens, the way you present your content must be different.

For example, you will need to shorten your headlines. Consider the following headline, which would work really well on desktop:

‘5 Reasons Why Too Much Coffee Might Be Keeping You From Being Your Best’

On mobile, you could shorten that to this:

‘Why Coffee Might Be Bad For You’

The same rule applies with your sub-headings and your entire body copy. On mobile, you need to get to the point faster, because the end user wants you to be more direct and concise.

Don’t forget to optimize your call to action for mobile users, too. It can be really easy for it to get lost in the crowd. Turn it into a button so that it’s instantly recognizable as a CTA and use contrasting colors for the button and background.  

Use a Responsive Framework

Responsive frameworks such as Bootstrap and Foundation are essential for ensuring that your website adapts to the numerous screen sizes that are now available. A responsive framework basically means that everything on your website – from your text to your images – adapts according to the device it’s displayed on. This means the mobile experience is clean, seamless and professional.

The best thing is that you don’t really have to do much. All you need to do is work with a tool like the aforementioned Bootstrap and Foundation, and they’ll do all the hard work for you, automatically adjusting your design according to the device.

Perform A/B Tests

Lastly, testing is crucial to the success of your website. If you don’t perform A/B tests, you simply won’t be able to get the best out of your website or deliver the best possible version to your customers. Moreover, by performing A/B tests, you can really see how differently your mobile audience behaves from your desktop audience. Then, you can make the necessary adjustments.

You should separately test the following elements:

  • Headlines – Have you made your headlines concise enough? Moreover, have you made them concise and compelling? Experiment with different headlines – some with numbers, some without – to see what works best at engaging people.
  • Call to Action – Earlier, we mentioned making your CTA a button. However, you might find that an image-based CTA works best with mobile users. You might even find that a text-only CTA works best with conversions. You could also try a ‘stick’ call to action that ‘follows people around’ as they scroll up and down your website. Experiment and check your results. Not just this, but you need to figure out what your CTA ultimately needs to tell the user to do. Research has shown that conversion rates are far higher on desktop than they are on smartphones, which means your CTA might be better geared towards grabbing someone’s email address, as opposed to going for the sale.
  • Images – Image size is obviously crucial. But the positioning and amount of visuals on your mobile pages is also crucial. While images might not have much bearing on your conversion rates, they’re still important for engagement and the overall user experience.

You should also see what works best on which devices. Mobile isn’t just mobile. For example, 78% of mobile purchases are done on iPhones instead of Android.

Conclusion

Making the switch to mobile doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, it can be really easy if you follow the tips in this article. And once you’re website is all primed for the mobile experience, you’re then free to concentrate fully on making more sales.

Michelle Deery is a professional writer for Heroic Search. She has over eight years of marketing and copywriting experience. She develops content strategies that help businesses increase their bottom line. You can find her on Twitter.

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-deery-ba7131123/
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/michwriting

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

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