by Tim Macchi
When building out a mobile website, it’s important to pay attention to the details. If you’re in the process of building out a mobile site, make sure you take these 5 best practices into consideration. Already have a mobile website? Make sure you aren’t missing any of the following steps – it could be costing you precious visits.
1. Keep it short
This first tip seems obvious, but I am surprised by how many mobile websites do not take it into consideration. You want to shorten your copy when creating your mobile website, don’t just copy it over from your desktop website word for word. As a general guideline, your mobile copy should be between 75-110 words. Most desktop website copy falls somewhere between 250-400 words, so you will likely have some condensing to do. Mobile users are not as patient as when they are sitting in front of their laptops or desktops – they scan, they don’t read. Get your point across fast. Brevity is your friend here. This rule, however, does not apply to blog articles or other “pure content” pieces, which should be shown in their full glory.
Also, on the topic of keeping it short, you don’t need to take ALL of your pages over to mobile. Focus on the pages that matter most to your mobile users. Use your desktop website analytics to figure out what your mobile users are looking for.
2. Make it thumb-friendly
One of the most annoying things you can do when creating your mobile website is to make your clickable areas too small. Give the thumb some room to land. Generally speaking, your clickable areas should be at least 44px tall to be considered thumb-friendly. Resist the urge to fit too many buttons on one page. If you are cramming buttons on your homepage as a way to provide navigation, the next tip will help.
3. Navigation is key
All across the mobile web, I see a lot of mobile sites that are afflicted with what I call the “Stack of Buttons Syndrome”, or SOBS for short. This is fine for a mobile website with 4 pages or fewer, but if you have more that that you really should consider a different navigation strategy. This is especially true if you want to have 3-tiered navigation pages, or child pages on your mobile website.
What should you create instead is a nested navigation system that gets out of your way when you do not need it, and provides robust, multi-tiered navigation when you do need to find a subpage. Consider this: using nest navigation clears up valuable screen space for information, making your pages much easier to read and scan. You can read a full article on mobile website navigation here.
4. Full site link on every page
Some people may want access to more information. Don’t neglect them, even if they are the minority. It’s always a best practice to include a link in the footer of every page that allows your visitors to view the full site. As a best practice, a full site link should always point from the mobile page to its equivalent desktop page. One common mistake people make is linking an internal mobile page to the full site homepage, forcing users to navigate back to the desktop page they were originally viewing on mobile.
5. No mobile dead ends
One of the worst things you can do to your mobile traffic is send someone who clicked on a link in an email (or social media page) to a mobile homepage, rather than to the specific content they clicked to see. Even worse is if the content they came to see if not actually on the mobile website.
There are steps you want to make sure you take to prevent this. First, map your mobile pages to your desktop pages (we make this very easy on the Bluetrain platform). This way, if someone clicks on a link for your “Services” page, they will be directed to the mobile version of that page, and not your mobile homepage. Second, make sure that you turn off your redirect script to any pages for which you do not have a mobile equivalent. In this scenario, a person is delivered to the appropriate desktop page (even if it’s difficult to view on mobile), rather than getting stuck in a mobile dead end.