According to a study done by Statista, mobile accounts for 58.33% of global website traffic.
The mobile traffic has definitely surged considering that back in 2012, mobile accounted for only a measly 10.88%.
Times have indeed changed. Nowadays, people rely on their smartphones instead of their desktops when looking for information and researching products.
This shift has also expanded to consumer behavior, as people prioritize location and proximity compared to branding.
In fact, 82% of mobile users use the search term “near me” to find new shopping and food spots.
This is a huge perk for small businesses and local businesses who rely on foot traffic and searches to be more visible compared to their big brand counterparts.
If you are a small business and you don’t have a mobile site, you are severely losing out.
But how do you ensure that your site is mobile-friendly?
How can you maximize your website design especially if you don’t have the money or resources to hire a web design team or agency?
Don’t worry as our article will lay down a few tips that can help you design an effective mobile site. Let’s get started!
How To Optimize Your Website For Mobile
A beautiful and easy-to-use mobile site attracts users, increases sales, and provides a positive online experience for your users.
It also builds your brand reputation. If you are a small business, a website can help prove that you are credible and legitimate.
If you can’t be found on mobile, you’ll risk looking like a scam.
Plus if your users have a seamless and smooth experience on your site, they are more likely to be loyal to your business.
Convinced by the positives of a mobile site? Here are some tips on how to create an effective mobile site:
Implement a “Mobile First” Approach
A “mobile first” approach means you’ll create your website with the mobile version in mind.
This is in contrast to the usual approach of creating a desktop version that you will then adapt for mobile.
Why is this approach more effective?
This is because mobile sites usually have a lot of constraints compared to desktops. Some examples are the smaller screen size, limited functionalities, and design restrictions.
By tailoring your website for mobile, you’ll create a more efficient and user-friendly design that deals with all these restrictions.
It’s also better for small business owners as you won’t need to waste precious time and resources trying to adapt your desktop site to fit mobile requirements.
Use Responsive Design
While the above tip is great if you are just getting started on your website, what if you already have a desktop site? What’s the best way to adapt it for mobile?
The answer is a responsive design.
Responsive design is defined as a “design that adapts the web-page layout to the viewing environment by using techniques such as fluid proportion-based grids, flexible images, and CSS3 media queries”.
To put it simply, a responsive design is when you code your site to automatically adjust to the different screen sizes and orientations of the device.
This way, your site will look good whether you view it on a teeny iPhone or on a big tablet.
This ensures a consistent and seamless experience for your users no matter which device they use.
It also means that you can still use your desktop site without having to redo it completely for mobile, which saves tons of money.
Simplify your visual design
Everyone wants their site to be visually appealing. Maybe you are thinking of adding tons of colors, complex animations, or trendy user-interface (UI) elements to attract your users.
However, keep in mind that your site will be viewed on mobile. Mobile device screens are a lot smaller compared to a desktop.
This is why focusing on using minimalist and simple designs that will not overwhelm your users is important.
As much as possible, try not to use more than three colors. It’s also better to use more muted color palettes instead of overly vibrant ones so that it’s easier on the eyes.
Tons of websites use a white background and put a lot of space between their elements. This makes their content pop while also making it easier to read. Win-win, right?
But even as you simplify your visuals, don’t forget to always include your logo on your site.
It’s your main visual identifier after all. If you don’t have a logo yet, check out some low-cost logo maker tools online.
Simplify your navigation
A simple approach is not only applicable for your visuals, but for your user-experience (UX) design as well. Your UX includes how easy it is to navigate your site and how fast can your users find what they need.
Make sure your website navigation is simple, says Lumify Learn Sydney. Use intuitive buttons that anyone can understand. For example, magnifying glass, shopping cart, and heart icon.
All of us know what it means, right? Next is to simplify your menu.
List down the essential items so that they won’t need to tap so much just to find what they need. Add tons of filtering options (A-Z, Price Low to High, etc.) as well.
Make sure your website flows in a clear and logical way as well.
For example, if you list down your opening hours in your About Us section, make sure you also include your location and contact number there as well.
Don’t make your users comb through your site by having essential info scattered around.
Of course, simple doesn’t mean boring and plain. You can still spice up your site but just don’t go overboard.
Keep note of the latest UI/UX design trends and see if there are some that you can tastefully implement on your site.
Make important elements easy to click
Make sure to enlarge any object or element that needs to be clicked on your mobile site. This includes photos, links, CTAs, or navigation buttons.
You don’t want your users getting frustrated if they need to click a back button or a link but they can’t tap it.
In addition, make sure your elements are properly spaced. If the elements are too close together, it can lead to a lot of misclicks and frustration.
Pop-ups are already frustrating for most people on desktop, but even more so on mobile. This is because it’s much more disruptive with the limited space and harder navigation.
As much as possible avoid pop-ups. If you really have to add one, make sure the “x” button is easy to click for your users.
Shorten mobile forms
If your website needs forms, make sure they are mobile-friendly. Keep it short. Don’t ask for too much information and have your users type in lengthy answers.
Use drop-down menus if appropriate. Consider implementing auto-fill as well.
Keep your text concise
Short and sweet is the key for mobile success. This applies to your written content.
Avoid a long block of text. It’s already undesirable for desktop but even more so with mobile.
Think of your users having to scroll over and over just to get to the end of it. It will frustrate you too, right?
Keep your paragraphs short by having only two or three sentences to it.
You can also break up your text by putting it in bullets or numbers. You can do this by using images or gifs in between your texts.
If you have a blog article, having a TL;DR summary at the end can also help. This is useful for your users who tend to skim over a post.
Use the right font
Speaking of text, let’s not forget your font.
While using fonts that are inline with your branding is great, it’s better to prioritize readability as much as possible.
So while the fancy calligraphy font you have on your logo looks beautiful, don’t use it all over in your website!
Stick to sans-serif fonts like Helvetica, Roboto, and Open-Sans.
Tons of mobile sites use them as they are easy to read. Check them out and see if they work for you.
Prioritize website speed
We live in a fast-paced world where people prefer things to come to them as fast as a snap of a finger. Your mobile site is no exception.
According to a Google research, “The probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 second to 3 seconds.” This means that your site needs to load within those three seconds.
What’s the best way to increase mobile speed?
First is by having a simple design. Lesser images, videos, and animations mean faster loading times. Make sure to compress and optimize your images as well.
Second is to implement some technical changes such as minimizing HTTP request, enabling browser caching, minifying resources, limiting your plug-ins, or minimizing redirects.
Third is by testing it on website speed tests. These sites will also give some tips on how to improve your website performance.
The average page load time on desktop is 2.5 seconds and 8.6 seconds on mobile. As you can see, mobile is already slower compared to desktop.
It’s best to prioritize website speed to give your user a better experience.