Mobilizing your website

Nowadays, more and more people use the internet almost exclusively through a mobile device as opposed to a PC or even a laptop. Thanks to ever-increasing mass production, smartphones have seen their costs reduced incredibly low without sacrificing much in terms of quality. Everyone has a smartphone these days, and it’s more than likely that they also have a mobile internet connection to check their Facebook and perform Google searches.

Consequently, the latter is how your business will get much of its traffic – depending on individual stats, your website could already be accessed through mobile devices a lot more than through computers and laptops. Regardless of whether it’s already there, you’ll definitely want to optimize your business site so that it caters to mobile visitors no matter their type of device.

It’s not just about offering more convenience to potential customers – Google now includes mobile optimization as a fairly significant factor when deciding where to rank a website. That’s right: people will find your website more easily if you went through the effort of mobilizing it. So how can you put wheels on your static website?

Ways to cater to the mobile individual

First off, you’ll have to decide whether to have a high-bandwidth site AND a mobile one or simply a one-size-fits-all edition. The former could be called better: visitors of the regular site get more content while those opening the mobile one are treated to something tailored to their connection and device. Of course, having two websites requires a lot more work even with modern website tools that seemingly put you a few clicks away from anything.

Having your website detect the visitor’s device and use it to decide which version of the site should be served might sound overly complex or downright off-putting. Don’t worry – a single mobile-optimized website can work just as well in a lot of cases while costing you a lot less effort.

When mobilizing your website, make sure to cater to every kind of bandwidth. The landing page can be low-size with light images and no videos but also include pathways to heavier content that can be seen on-demand by those with the right connection. If your landing page or one of the main pages is full of multi-megabyte images and autoplaying videos, Google won’t like you, and your visitors might share the sentiment.

As for the design, fitting a website to a smaller screen is difficult but doable. On one hand, you want your pages to be as narrow as possible – your visitors will already be scrolling downwards, so it’s probably not a good idea to make them scroll sideways as well. Likewise, the downwards scrolling should be limited and not cause thumb cramps for those wanting to read through the entire page. Try to work with an editor who can downsize your website text so that it says more while using less space.

Likewise, try to keep it as simple as possible – widgets and similar fancy features rarely work well on mobile devices and can cause them to freeze. The same goes for Flash – while adding stylish Flash features to your site might seem like a good idea, there are plenty of mobile devices out there that are too slow to properly render Flash or might not support it at all, so eliminating it altogether might not be such a bad idea.