Mariana Ashley has provided this great post for those who are worried their websites aren’t mobile friendly but don’t know what to do about it.
Smartphones—just about everyone has one. In fact, according to the most recent statistics, more than half of Australians owns a smartphone. Their popularity comes as no surprise really. These devices enable on-the-go users to stay “connected” at all times; for some the convenience of a smartphone has even replaced computers for Internet access. In short, smartphone users depend on their devices— a lot. With that said, it’s imperative that webmasters diligently work to ensure that their Web site is mobile friendly in order to properly acquire traffic flow and satisfy the growing number of mobile users. To get you started, continue reading below.
Install Automatic Mobile Detection Software
First let it be known that there are several different ways to go about getting a mobile-friendly Web site. By far the easiest option is to take your already established desktop Web site and then use an automatic mobile detection service, such as Switcher to instantly format your site for mobile use. Because there is in fact specific browser detection scripts assigned for specific platforms, make sure you choose the correct one if you wish to use the automatic-converting service. For a list of some free automatic mobile detection scripts, click here.
If your existing site doesn’t load well on a mobile phone (even with automatic mobile detection software) then you can use one of the many free mobile web builders available such as Mobify, WpTap, and WordPress Mobile Edition to create a separate site just for smartphones. Just make sure to use a builder that is compatible with the platform that you want—most builders specifically say which platforms it supports, whether it is iPhone, Blackberry or Android operating systems.
If you choose to go with this option, then it’s imperative that you consider the following things when formulating your mobile-web site:
- Make Layout Compatible. Your desktop Web site might look fancy with a variety of headers, footers and side bar links, but with mobile web sites it’s important that everything, including the navigation, is clean and simple. After all, mobile users typically only go to mobile sites to look at just one page and having a bunch of junk can confuse and frustrate them, which can easily persuade them to never visit your site ever again. So don’t be afraid to eliminate particular elements to simplify the layout for your readers—even getting rid of advertisements on your mobile site may be a good idea. An easy way to go about this is to think of your mobile web site as a “light” version of the desktop version—only the important elements should be included.
To create a “light” version you should also consider moving some elements to compensate for the mobile version. For example, on the desktop version you may have your contact information at the bottom of your footer. However, since mobile users are looking to acquire fast information, so you should place the contact information as the header, or at least somewhere more noticeable. You should also have a search bar near the header so that mobile users can find what they are looking for with more ease. While your mobile version’s layout should be designed to be less complex than the original, you should provide an option to view the standard version of the site. With that said, to take a peek at some ideal layouts for the iPhone, click here.
Mariana Ashley is a freelance writer who particularly enjoys writing about online colleges. She loves receiving reader feedback, which can be directed to mariana.ashley031 @gmail.com.