10 Best Practices for Mobile Optimized Websites

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Smartphone users worldwide will total 1.75 billion in 2014. This means having a mobile optimized website is fundamental in maximizing your marketing budget.

It is a mistake to simply create a mobile version of your existing website. Instead, create a website customized to the behavior of mobile users, independent from your desktop site.

Here are 10 must-haves on your brand new mobile website:

10. A Search Box

Mobile devices are smaller and, as you can imagine, navigating a website on a small device is not easy. It is much simpler if users can quickly search for what they need. Use a search box that retrieves only relevant results to boost your website’s mobile experience.

9. Tell Users How to Achieve Their Goal

Have visible and clear call to actions on the top part of your mobile website. This will help you convert more often, but also help your users find what they are looking for right away.

8. Identify What Customers Need the Most

This will help you create a website that serves their needs. Do not cluster your pages with unnecessary content, but rather focus on what makes your customers happy. Mobile users are looking for a flawless experience and might bounce right away from a site that looks too complex to navigate.

7. Use a Visible Phone Number

Based on the Google Mobile Playbook, 48% of mobile searches end up calling a store and 29% make a purchase. This underlines the importance of having a visible phone number with a click to call function. Additionally, add your closest location to a user in the landing page since 94% of mobile users are looking for local info.

6. Help Users Navigate Through Products

If you sell products online, you know how important it is to leave a first good impression. Given the small screen dimensions, it is fundamental to make sure users can find the product they are looking for right away. Using a detailed and effective set of filters will definitively make the difference and help provide a great on site experience.

Screenshot take from A/B

Screenshot taken September 2014 from Google Mobile Handbook

5. Study What Other Companies are Doing

This is extremely important since it will give you ideas and jumpstart your mobile site creation. Don’t limit yourself to your own industry! Look to other industries as well to find unique ideas that will help you get ahead.

4. Responsive Web Design is not Always the Right Answer

A responsive web design is a great way to have a nice looking mobile website, but it won’t be enough to generate a good mobile experience. You might want to come up with a custom mobile site URL and create something completely different for your mobile users. This will allow you to customize call to action, texts, the website menu, and as many more things depending on your needs!

3. Continue Optimizing Your Mobile Website

Once your mobile website is up and running you will be able to use the data from Google Analytics to decide what elements are weak and need to be optimized. This allows you to apply changes to the website and analyze the impact they have on the business performance.

2. Integrate Mobile Traffic with Other Offline and Online Activity

Based on Google’s Mobile Playbook, people visiting a site via a mobile device are likely to purchase later via a desktop device, in store or simply later on during the day. Google also mentions how more than 50% of Walgreens’ mobile traffic comes from people currently in one of their stores!

This explains how important it is to have a proper attribution model and to understand the effect of a click on a mobile device has a much more long-term effect than you might have thought of!

1. Go Beyond Conversion Values on the Website

M any companies think of ideal conversion cost based on the relationship between cost per sale and average profit per sale. However, this approach is mostly right only for lead generation or one time sale companies.

There are other factors to consider:

  • Lifetime customer value
  • Average referrals per customer
  • Sales generated from users converting with a different device than where they saw your paid ad

This means that before deciding on the success of your mobile site, there is a more complex analysis that needs to be performed than the simple profit – cost one!

In Conclusion

Creating a mobile website is not something you do just because you think you should have one. Use these 10 best practices above to jump-start your mobile website creation, and feel free to share websites you believe do a great job with me in the comments below.

 

Featured Image: State Farm via Flickr (Creative Commons)

Rocco Baldassarre
Rocco Baldassarre is a digital marketing consultant and entrepreneur. He is best known for being the founder of the award winning digital marketing agency Zebra Advertisement and being the youngest Google Partners All-Stars Winner at the age of 24. Clients include Bing Ads and he has been featured by The Huffington Post, The New York Times, and oDesk's Annual Impact Report among other publications.
Rocco Baldassarre
Rocco Baldassarre
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  • Sanjay Singh

    Search box, visible phone number and click to call function. Very useful for any mobile website. Thanks for sharing this great piece of knowledge.

    • http://www.ZebraAdvertisement.com Rocco Baldassarre

      You are welcome, Sanjay

  • http://www.youthveda.com Lakhyajyoti

    Another informative post. Surely I’ll follow your tips to make my website more mobile friendly. Thanks for the awesome share.

    • http://www.ZebraAdvertisement.com Rocco Baldassarre

      Thanks for your nice comment!

  • Brian Brown

    I don’t agree…I much prefer a responsive design. I see so many of my clients that have a separate mobile site and they forget when doing updates to something like the specials page because it needs to be updated on both sites. Per Google’s Matt Cutts in this article http://searchenginewatch.com/article/2308069/Googles-Matt-Cutts-Responsive-Design-Wont-Hurt-Your-SEO – “Responsive Design is the Smarter Option”.

    • http://www.zebraadvertisement.com Rocco Baldassarre

      Hi Brian,

      Very good point!

      It all depends on the client I guess. I recently was at a meeting at Google and they experienced higher conversion rate on separate sites due to the ability to customize things. However, it is not for clients that forget to update the site! You are totally right when you say it takes more work to take care of it.

      Have a great weekend,
      Rocco