Category: Mobile Website Best Practices

10 Steps to Improve your Mobile Commerce Strategy

Did you know that 82% of millennials check their mobile devices within an hour of waking up? It's just one of the many facts you'll learn in the infographic below provided to us by our friends at Reading..

I Was Shocked When I Learned About This Fatal Flaw in WordPress Websites

Before I let you know what stunned me about Wordpress websites, let me provide a little background.The 60 Second Marketer uses a customized approach for the back-end of our website. By that, I mean we use Freeway Pro to design many of the pages on the site, then we use Wordpress as the platform for the blog portion of the site. This approach for our website has worked for us for quite some time.When someone visits our website from a smartphone, they're redirected to a mobile version of our site, which can be seen here. This is  an adaptive version of our site (as opposed to a responsive version). Adaptive versions of websites use sniffer code to re-direct smartphone visitors to pages designed specifically for smartphones. In other words, there's a line of code at the head of the website that sniffs out whether someone is visiting from a desktop or a smartphone. If they're visiting from a smartphone, they're re-directed to a mobile page on website (often designated by an m. subdomain, as in you're interested in using sniffer code to re-direct people to a mobile version of your site, you can read this blog post on the 60 Second Marketer blog).Responsive versions of websites serve up web pages based on whether someone is visiting from a desktop, a tablet or a smartphone. In other words, they respond to the size of the screen the site is being viewed from and then change the layout based on that information. Most people use responsive designs for their websites, but there's a fatal flaw if you're using Wordpress.

What's the Big Problem with Wordpress Responsive Themes?

The problem with Wordpress responsive themes is that most of them simply re-package all of your content into one long, cumbersome mobile page. In other words, they take all of the existing content and simply lay it out vertically onto one super-long page. This means your mobile visitor, who is looking for short and specific information, is served up a big, clunky web page that gives them too much information. (Special shout out to Desiree Scales, CEO of Bella Web Design who helped clarify a few questions I had about this issue with Wordpress themes.)This approach ignores the fact that your mobile visitor doesn't want a ton of copy. In fact, because they're typically visiting your site when they're at walking through a mall, at a coffee shop, at a stoplight or in a parking lot, they're interested in just the essential information.Here's how I addressed this issue in Go Mobile, the book I co-authored with Jeanne Hopkins:The first step to developing a mobile website is to get inside the mind of your customer. When you step outside yourself and go inside the mind of your customers, you begin to see things from their perspective. Typically, given the medium, your mobile website will be more streamlined than your corporate website. People who will be visiting your mobile site are themselves mobile, and they have a very specific set of needs—none of which include the desire to read a lot of extraneous information. Thus, you can do without company press releases, employee bios, case studies, company philosophy, and photos of your employee holiday party.So, in the end, most responsive Wordpress themes don't take context into consideration when they serve your website up to your visitors. In other words, they ignore the fact that most visitors don't want a ton of information when they're visiting your site from a smartphone. This is a fundamental flaw in the way Wordpress themes currently work.

How Can You Solve This Significant Flaw?

Here are some steps you can take to adjust and fix this issue:
  1. Try to find a responsive Wordpress theme that adjusts the amount of copy based on the size of the screen. So far, I haven't been able to find a Wordpress theme that does this, but maybe a member of our community knows of one. (If so, please make a comment below.)
  2. Alternatively, create an adaptive site by adding re-direct code: Ask your web designer to install a browser re-direct feature onto your website the way we've done with the 60 Second Marketer website. That’s a line of code that “sniffs” out whether your visitor is coming from a large regular browser or a smaller mobile browser. With a browser re-direct feature, your website will be able to re-direct mobile users to the pages on your website that were set up to be viewed in a mobile browser. (You'll find the line of code to accomplish this by clicking here.)
  3. Redesign key pages: In most cases, you’ll want your mobile website to be a smaller version of your regular website. After all, visitors are typically looking for a few key pieces of information — directions to your store, information about your services, special offers, etc. In our case, we set up the 60 Second Marketer iPhone website with 6 key pages — Videos, Blog, About Us, Work with Us, Call Us and Speaking.
  4. Follow best practices: Here are three key tips to make your re-designed mobile web pages the best they can be: 1) Reduce the amount of content — mobile visitors want essential information about your products or services, not in-depth information, 2) Make it thumb-friendly — mobile visitors are often in a parking lot, a coffee shop or at a stop light, so keep navigation simple, 3) Take context into consideration — mobile visitors only want the key facts. Will your mobile visitors be looking for directions? For hours of operation? For a click-to-call button? Think this through as you re-design your mobile site.
In the end, if you're a small business that handles its site in-house via Wordpress, you may be stuck with this less-than-optimal Wordpress responsive theme approach. If you're a mid- to large-sized business, you'll want to ask your agency or web design firm to fix this issue for you. After all, there's no point in having a mobile website if it doesn't take context into consideration.  Jamie Turner is the CEO of the 60 Second Marketer and 60 Second Communications, a marketing communications agency that works with national and international brands. He is the co-author of "How to Make Money with Social Media" and "Go Mobile" and is a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe. 

9 Essential Tips on Mobile Web Design for the Small- to Mid-Sized Business

If you work at a larger company with an ad agency or web design firm, they've probably already set you up with a good, functioning mobile website that uses something called Responsive Design to re-format your desktop site for a mobile platform.If you're a smaller business that doesn't have easy access to an ad agency or web design firm, then your first step to building a mobile website is to read How to Build a Mobile Website on the 60 Second Marketer blog. It provides step-by-step instructions on how a small- to mid-sized businesses can easily set-up a mobile website.Once you've got the hang of creating and developing a mobile website, you'll want to take the next step which is to think through mobile web design best practices. With that in mind, I've included 9 mobile website best practices in the post below.But before we dive into the 9 best practices, it’s important to keep one thing in mind – the person viewing your site is mobile. That may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many people forget that simple truth. When someone is mobile, they’re expecting an entirely different experience from the one they’ll get on your standard website.For example, a mobile visitor is typically looking for a few key pieces of information: directions to your office, a click-to-call phone number, or a map of your store locations. What they’re not looking for are lengthy staff bios, information about your corporate philosophy, or PDFs of your latest press releases.With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the 9 Best Practices for Mobile Website Design that can help you create a site that puts your best foot forward.1. Simplify Your Design: The first step in creating a mobile site is determining what content you’ll include. Given the restricted amount of screen space, it’s important to figure out what the key pieces of information your visitors will probably be looking for. A store locator? Probably. A “Contact Us” form with 13 different fields to fill out? Not so much.It’s also important to keep the steps involved in going from entry point to purchase as simple as possible. Fandango does a great job of this by eliminating much of their non-essential content to quickly bring their consumers what they want: movie times.Better still, Fandango completes the sales cycle by providing a QR code that acts as a mobile ticket for the purchaser. Just bring the phone to the theatre and have them scan the code there – it acts as the purchaser’s ticket.2. Analyze Your Site Layout: Mobile web pages will load slower than traditional web pages, so it’s important to keep the number of pages to a minimum. In addition, users won’t have the patience to click several pages deep on your site. Given that, it’s important to keep the site layout as streamlined as possible.One technique I encourage people to use is to think like Steve Jobs. As you know, Jobs is famous for creating user experiences that are streamlined and intuitive. Put on your Steve Jobs Hat to remind you to keep things as streamlined as possible. By doing so, your visitor will have a better experience when they’re on your site.3. Match the Branding Elements from Your Desktop Site to Your Mobile Site: Even though your mobile site will be much more streamlined than your standard site, you’ll still want to incorporate the same branding elements on both sides of the equation. This is important for two reasons. One, a mobile site is a brand touchpoint and, like any other property, should reflect and promote your brand essence. Two, for users who are already familiar with your company, a similar design will make them feel like they’re visiting an old friend, which is an important consideration for your most loyal customers.The 60 Second Marketer site uses the same bright color palette and iconography in both the standard and mobile websites. The result is that a user who is familiar with the standard site will have a similar familiar on the mobile site, too.4. Utilize White Space: When designing any website, it’s a natural tendency to cram in as much information as possible. But, fight that urge. Not only does white space give a cleaner, more sophisticated appearance, it also ensures that users can easily click the button they’re aiming for.5. Avoid Flash or Java: The obvious reason for avoiding Flash is that Apple products do not support Flash and have declared that they have no intention to do so in the future. Because iPhones make up about 30% of the smartphone market, a significant portion of your audience may not being able to access your content if you use Flash.6. Reduce The Amount of Text Entry Necessary: Do you suffer from Fat Finger Syndrome, which makes it difficult to use a smartphone keyboard? Most of us have trouble typing on tiny keyboards. When possible, use drop down menus, checklists and pre-populated fields as a means of data entry. This helps minimize the challenges people when typing text onto a smartphone.Take a cue from FedEx’s mobile site. Even though a lot of information has to be entered into the site to accomplish the user’s goal, their use of checklists and dropdown menus cuts down on the amount of text a user must enter.7. Do Not Use Pop Out Windows: Navigating between multiple tabs and browser windows is more difficult on mobile and can cause slow load times. If you need to open a new browser window, make sure you alert your user so that they know how to navigate back to the original page.8. Redirects:  Once your site is designed and ready to go, make sure to put redirects in place that will sniff out when a visitor is using a mobile device and direct them to the mobile optimized version of the site. (For more on website re-directs, read How to Build a Mobile Website which explains them in detail.)Once your redirects are in place, any mobile user that types in your web address or clicks on a link in a search engine will be sent to the mobile optimized version of your site.9. Allow People To Visit the Full Site: You’ve worked hard on your mobile site. You want people to see it and you want people to love it. But the fact of the matter is, even if you’ve done a good job of paring down your content, there will likely be someone who wants information you’ve chosen not to display. As such, make sure you include links on multiple pages that allows the user to return to the full version of the site. You can see this feature on most mobile websites including sites like USA Today, The Home Depot, and Target.Mobile websites are a new landscape for most marketers, so designing and building them can be a bit of a challenge. However, mobile sites also bring an awesome opportunity to showcase your brand and your creativity. As long as you keep the user’s needs top-of-mind, stay true to your brand, and follow a few simple rules, you will have the hang of it in no time.About the author: Jamie Turner is the Founder of the 60 Second Marketer and co-author of "How to Make Money with Social Media" and "Go Mobile." He is also a popular marketing speaker at events, trade shows and corporations around the globe.