12 Most Momentum Building Steps to a Mobile Web Presence
Track back on any social media, marketing, or communications blog worth its salt around the turn of this year and you’re sure to find some mention of the mobile web being a game changer in 2012.
And justifiably so.
The ability to visit sites via smartphones (now over 50% of the US population, according to Nielsen) and, increasingly, tablets, is making accessibility to users-on-the-go a prime concern for everyone with a valued web presence. The question is:
How should you make the move to mobile? And how quickly should you make it?
Okay, that’s two questions, but I’ll make up for it with these 12 answers on how to build momentum for your own mobile web presence:
1. Start out light
Despite all the fervor, we’re still early in the life cycle of the mobile web. Of many billions of websites, the estimate is that those friendly to the mobile web number only in the low millions. Just getting on board now makes you an early adopter! If your site runs on WordPress, check out the WordPress Mobile Pack plugin to get a better smartphone–accessible version running. For other platforms, services such as Mobify or Onbile are a great place to start and both offer free options.
2. Plan for regular reviews
As characterized the early days of the Internet, the way that we access the mobile web is changing rapidly. Cellular providers continue to up data speeds and WiFi edges closer to being more of a right than a privilege. You need to review and adjust your mobile web presence accordingly, taking advantage of new tools and ensuring that your site is accessible across as many current mobile devices as possible.
3. Easily navigable
At the heart of your move to mobile must be a desire to make key information on your site easily accessible on the small screen. Condense the core message or objective of each page down to its most concise form, in a way that makes it easy for mobile visitors to move to and fro.
4. Build for conversions
With screen real estate at a premium on mobile devices, you need to prioritize your content based on visitors seeing calls to action. Strip out the fluff of heavy marketing copy, blitz any lag-inducing images that don’t add value, and utilize clear buttons or simple forms to make conversions easy. Trim and tighten each page until it focused clearly and concisely on one objective.
5. Consider competitors
Once you have a basic mobile foundation, spend some time benchmarking what you have against the competition. Are you a leader in your field or are there improvements you can make to match your competitors? Either way, reviewing what others are doing will help fuel ideas for your own efforts.
6. Reward mobile visits
Rather than being yet another chore on your digital to-do list, you can view catering to your mobile audience as a unique opportunity to gain trust and win new business. Tailoring special offers to this audience, such as those based on location check-ins, is a great place to start.
7. Stay on top of the tech
As already mentioned, the mobile web is advancing at a rapid pace. In order to react effectively, you need to be aware of new developments. Sign up to resources such as Mobile Marketer and AdAge Digital to stay sharp on the subject.
8. Branch out to new platforms
As you become familiar with your current mobile web presence and understand how your visitors are interacting with it, you’ll begin to see opportunities to add extra functionality. Experiment with new platforms that align with your end objectives. Set up metrics to analyze performance and keep those elements that add to your overall mobile experience.
9. Focus on (and revisit) user experience
Hand in hand with expansion goes reviewing and improving what you already have. What worked last year may be ineffective today, so regularly polling users for experience feedback is important. Always put user experience at the forefront of any changes you plan to make.
10. Is there an app for that?
In addition to the mobile web, cell phone apps account for a significant proportion of people accessing mobile content. Some believe that this trend will continue, with apps becoming the main way people will find you on the move. It’s too early to be certain but the cost of hiring someone to build a custom app for your organization might be worthwhile, especially if you can offer some uniquely useful functionality to the end user.
11. Consider QR codes
Despite having passed through ‘flavor of the month’ status, QR codes — those black & white squares you sometimes see on ads imploring you to scan them — remain a handy option to link your other media, especially printed items, to your mobile web presence. A quick snap from a camera phone can give access to a landing page, targeting conversions of your choice.
12. Mobile ads
As Facebook’s early figures show, mobile ads can offer more clicks than traditional web advertising. If your mobile site is suitable for serving up adverts, this could be an interesting option to add an extra revenue stream to your web presence. Weight this, however, against the added clutter that will be served up to your visitors. Google’s AdMob service offers a quick intro to this option, should it pique your interest.
What steps have you taken to move your website towards mobile? And what recommendations do you have for those yet to start the process?
As always, your comments are the real gold here, so I look forward to sharing in your smarts!
Featured image courtesy of Plbmak licensed via Creative Commons.