Ways to Achieve Mobile Website Optimization
By Elizabeth Nguyen Son | June 22 2017
Nothing is worse than try to access a link on your phone and not being able to see the full homepage, or not being able to navigate through the website because the buttons are too small, and of course, the very worst is when a page won’t even load. Mobile website optimisation tries to avoid all of these problems to make sure you’re not unknowingly turning mobile visitors away.
More and more people are spending time on their smartphones and tablets. This isn’t surprising given how practical it is. Yet with this huge mobile audience, many websites still aren’t designed to allow for different screen sizes and loading speeds. Mobile website optimisation means considering various aspects of a website such as a site’s design, structure, and page speed.
Mobile website optimisation is vital to ensure that visitors accessing your website from mobile devices will have a pleasant and optimised experience. So how exactly should you be going about it? Keep reading for our favorite tips!
Page speed is even more important for mobile users than desktop users due to hardware and connectivity issues. Besides optimizing images, be sure to minify code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects to limit the loading time of your website!
Previously, webmasters of mobile sites blocked one or all three because some mobile devices couldn’t support all of these elements. The Smartphone GoogleBot wants to be able to see and categorize the same content that users do. So don’t hide it! These elements are also critical to helping Google understand if you have a responsive site or a different mobile solution.
Don’t use Flash
If you want to include special effects, opt for HTML5 instead of Flash. Not all devices may be able to use the plugin and it would be a shame if half of your visitors couldn’t see the fun stuff!
Don’t use pop-ups either
We are well past the era of pop-ups. Not only do they remind us of annoying ads or viruses, but they can be infuriatingly difficult to close on mobile devices and don’t usually fit on the screen correctly. People might get so frustrated that they’ll just leave your page. Trust us on this one – no pop-ups!
Design for the Fat Finger
The last thing you want to do is have your visitors jumping through all of your website’s pages accidentally. If buttons are too big, they’ll keep accidentally clicking them. If buttons are too small, they might click the wrong ones. Either way, it’s no fun for them, and it won’t translate to any good conversion rates for you either. Don’t forget that the placement of buttons is also important when it comes to mobile website optimisation. Touch screen navigation often means a lot of scrolling, so keep buttons out of the way of scrolling fingers!
Shrink titles and meta descriptions
Be concise! Make sure your titles, URLs, and meta descriptions are to the point so that people see what you have to offer in search engine research pages (SERPs). Don’t forget that you’re working with significantly less screen space when a user searches using a mobile device.
Mobile site configuration
There are three kinds of mobile site configurations: responsive, dynamic serving, or separate site. Although Google prefers responsive design, it supports all three options and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.
Responsive Web Design
Responsively-designed sites use CSS3 media queries to serve the same content to mobile and desktop users using a fluid grid and a flexible design to automatically adapt to the size of a user’s screen.
Dynamic serving is when you use a URL to display different sets of HTML and CSS depending on what type of device your visitor is using. Displaying different content based on the user agent is done using the Vary HTTP header. If you don’t have the resources for a complete site redesign or want to display different content for mobile visitors than you do for desktop ones, this could be an option for you.
Separate Mobile URL
Another option is to create a second, parallel site for mobile users. This allows you to create completely custom content for mobile visitors. To avoid URL confusion, most parallel mobile sites use an “m” subdomain.
If you choose to use dynamic serving configuration or separate mobile URL, be sure to make it easy for visitors who end up in the wrong place to click over their preferred experience (regular or mobile). You’ll also want to make sure that your site redirects are all in place and as lean as possible to decrease page speed. And to avoid duplicate content issues, you’ll need to set up rel=”canonical”.
What about using an app?
Do you want to create an app instead of opting for mobile website optimisation? Creating an app is another great way to tailor the mobile experience for your visitors. Just beware: the interstitial page many sites use to alert a mobile user than an app is available can also serve as a block to search engine crawlers. Don’t forget to make your app internationally available! Just because your website targets one country, it doesn’t mean all users will be from the app store of that specific country.