What device are you using to read this blog post? If the answer is a tablet or smartphone, you’re in the majority. Most consumers access digital content via mobile devices. Since 2015, more Google searches have occurred on mobile than desktop, and the rate increases every year. Not to mention, there are more mobile-only users than desktop-only users. So, what does this mean for you? That it’s more important than ever to make your website mobile-friendly.
Making your content accessible to your customers is a great reason to create a mobile-friendly website, but it isn’t the only reason. Google includes mobile-friendliness in its ranking algorithm and indexes mobile-friendly content higher than content that isn’t mobile-ready. When you make your website mobile-friendly, you’ll be benefitting your search rankings too, and increasing your chances of showing up in a potential customer’s top search results.
You don’t need a ton of tech or design experience to create a mobile-friendly website. Here are 10 things you can do right now.
1. Choose a responsive layout
A responsive design adapts to a user’s screen. Whether your customer is changing the size of their browser window or switching between their smartphone and tablet, having a responsive layout allows your website to look a little different from each view so that your customer always gets the best user experience.
Most web design platforms like Squarespace, WordPress, and WIX offer themes and templates that are built to be responsive. If you’re changing or updating your organization’s CMS, a responsive layout is a great item to look for.
2. Be concise
Mobile-friendly content that appeals to mobile users is short, easy to scan and optimized for a smaller screen.
Keep your headlines to five or six words so that they are easy to read and won’t get cut off or shortened in a mobile view. Use short paragraphs so that a reader will be able to grasp the subject of each paragraph without scrolling. Limit the number of words on each page to communicate only your most salient points.
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3. Vary media
A picture speaks a thousand words? Perhaps — but the right balance of text and imagery will capture your mobile viewers’ attention and keep them engaged to the bottom of your page. Use the “80/20” rule — turn at least 20% of your text-based content into another medium, like an image or video, or replace it with assets your organization already has.
Include images, graphics, and video to supplement your copy and support your points. If you add graphics, make sure that they will show up clearly on small screens and make sense to a mobile user.
4. Make it quick
Every item you include on a webpage needs to load each time someone opens the page. Images and videos are heavier, meaning they take longer to load. Remember, mobile viewers are impatient. About half will abandon a site that takes longer than three seconds to load. If your website takes longer than five seconds to load, you’ll lose up to 90% of your viewers.
Page load speed is also a critical component of Core Web Vitals, which will be one of the most important Google ranking factors over the next couple of years.
Keep your site light (and quick) by:
- Hosting videos on a third-party platform such as Vimeo or YouTube
- Compressing images so that they load more quickly (aim for under 100KB)
- Minimizing the amount of code on every page
- Avoiding Flash player — many mobile devices won’t load Flash at all
You can run a free speed check on your website through the BrowserStack SpeedLab.
5. Optimize links and buttons
Think about how you hold your phone. Likely, in your palms with your thumb(s) pointing in. The placement of your clickable features — links and CTA buttons — should respond to this position. If you want to make your website mobile-friendly, make sure to place your links and buttons within thumb’s reach.
Check that your buttons are sized to accommodate touchscreen interactivity, and that your links aren’t placed close together. For a mobile user, there’s nothing more frustrating than clicking the wrong link over and over again by accident. For an even better user experience, link out to pages that are also optimized for mobile usage.
6. Keep forms simple
Filling out forms can be cumbersome for a busy person at any time, but a busy person visiting your site via mobile while they’re on the go? Even more so!
If you’re displaying a form on your mobile site, make sure to ask for only the information that you need. If you can, disable autocorrect to prevent typos and user frustration.
7. Think big with font size
Even if your site uses the recommended 14-point font size, your text may appear small on mobile. Test how it looks (check right now using your smartphone). If it’s hard to read, consider making it bigger.
8. Disable pop-ups
Pop-ups are a great marketing tool on desktop. But here are a few reasons why they can work against you in a mobile experience:
- Since mobile screens are smaller, pop-ups take up a larger percentage of the mobile view.
- The “X” or “close” button is harder to see and harder to tap, causing frustration.
- Pop-ups can obstruct the content a user came to your site to see.
Pop-ups can drive away mobile traffic. If you use them, keep them on your desktop-only experience.
9. Make top content accessible
Chances are, your mobile visitors are searching for something specific. And if it’s not easy to find, they’re going to look for it elsewhere. Keep key info — such as addresses, contact info, online bill pay, and your provider finder tools — visible and accessible. Not sure what’s most important? Glance at your Google analytics (or other web analytics) results to find your most-accessed pages. Based on that, you can determine what links belong front and center.
Quick links, tabbed content, and hamburger menus can help simplify your site navigation for a mobile user. Find out what your CMS and web design will allow, and experiment with creating the best user experience for your visitors.
10. Test and retest
What’s the quickest way to check if your website is mobile-friendly? Test it yourself. Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool can tell you if you’ve done enough to make your website mobile-friendly.
You can also check current pages — and preview new ones — on your own mobile devices. Play around with different shapes and sizes to see how responsive your layout and design are. By doing your own testing, you might find even more ways to optimize your site and more opportunities to make mobile-friendly content.
Do you need help optimizing your content for a better mobile user experience? The digital experts and content strategists at WriterGirl can help you create a healthcare website that reaches the right audiences. Contact us to get started today.