5 Essential Features for Every Mobile Site

21Oct

It's getting increasingly difficult to ignore the evidence that having a mobile site is now an essential part of any businesses marketing strategy. It seems like every day more and more statistics, blog posts and infographics are being released evangelizing about the fact that people are using smartphones to go online, to purchase goods, to do local searches and that the upwards trend in these areas is phenomenal and undeniable.   

Mobile is a crucial part of any business's marketing armoury and 2013 is the year that more and more people are beginning to notice this. Swathes of businesses have already gone mobile this year and the trend shows no signs of stopping. Making the decision to go mobile is a great step forwards, but once you've made your mind up you also need to ensure your mobile site is as good as it can possibly be. You can start by including these 5 essential mobile site features:

Beautiful, good-quality images.

Images give a mobile site life, colour and expression. Images will often be the first thing a customer notices about your mobile site and it's important to choose carefully. Eye-catching images are great, but they also need to relate to your business and what it does. Use images as an opportunity to show the customer about your business and create a personal touch by including pictures of some of the staff or the location itself. Also remember to always check the quality of your images - blurry or low-quality images on your mobile site will make it look cheap and unattractive.

Easy navigation.

Have you ever been on a website on your phone that wasn't mobile optimised? It's almost impossible to find your way around, with the simplest actions requiring lots of pinching, tapping or swiping. This is a sure-fire way to ensure the customer doesn't stick around to see what greatness you've got to offer them. To avoid this think about navigation with the user in mind, make sure they can easily access the information they are most likely to want. Split the site into pages each with a easily-readable font-size and make sure that the button for each page is a good-size so that the customer isn't always accidentally selecting pages she doesn't want.

Click-to-action buttons.

With all this talk of mobile websites it's easy to forget that smartphones are communication devices too. One massive benefit of having a mobile website is that you can include buttons that will allow the customer to take action immediately. With just one click the customer can phone or email you right away, or find your exact location on a map. A mobile site works best when it is designed to minimize the amount of friction between the customer and you. The customer should be able to get what she wants in as few steps as possible and click-to-action buttons are a great way to help her do this.

Make your content succinct.

Mobile device screens come in all different sizes - some of them big, some of them small. When writing the content for your mobile site it's best to design for people using smaller screens first. If you fulfill their needs then those on bigger screens will also have no problem, but if you include too much content then those on smaller screens will find your website hard work. Make sure that your mobile site's copy says everything that you want it to in as few words as necessary. This is good practice for all websites, but particularly important on mobile sites.

Social Sharing.

Recommendations used to come from friends by word of mouth, either face-to-face or over the phone. These days this is still happening, but social networks such as Facebook and Twitter have provided a new, quicker and easier way for people to share and recommend the things they love. By adding social sharing buttons to your mobile site, you enable your customers to share your business with 100s of their friends in an instant. In doing so they spread your business to 100s of potential new customers and help your online reputation grow. 

If you follow these recommendations, then you'll be well on your way to creating a low-friction, user-optimized mobile site that makes the most of the advantages mobile devices can bring. The biggest mistake that people make is to think that they can simply make their desktop site viewable on phones and that will be good enough. The mobile internet functions in brand new ways and has unique features that can't be found elsewhere; mobile sites should be designed and optimized to take advantage of this.