Do you know how you could make your blog or website more appealing and usable to your visitors today?
It’s quite simple – make it mobile-friendly.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been finding it increasingly irksome to navigate or even just read web pages on my mobile phone. The text is tiny, the buttons and links are too small and the page takes an age to load.
Sure, they weren’t designed to read on the phone, so I should cut them some slack, right?
Well, maybe last year, but frankly it’s about time everyone got on board this train, as it ain’t stopping.
Let’s take a quick look at a couple of numbers. There are now 7.1 million people in the UK accessing the internet via their mobile devices, with 46% of users accessing mobile media daily.
That’s a lot of people. So right now, if your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing a great opportunity, and hindering your visitor experience. Oh and those numbers are only set to get bigger.
So what’s the problem?
Most of my blog reading is done on my phone. I read posts when I’ve a spare moment – usually via Twitter. There are essentially two problems I frequently face:
1) Slow pages - If a page is slow to load on my phone (quite possible depending on 3G or WiFi) then I might skip it and move on to the next article.
2) Readability – If the normal desktop webpage opens up, it’s going to need some work on my part to read it. I’ll probably give it a chance and zoom in to read, but it’ll need to be a good article to keep me squinting until the end.
The problems aren’t just affecting your existing readers either. You’ve got Twitter and Facebook Like buttons on your blog and web pages, right? Smart move, that’ll help your readers share your content their networks. However, consider this – both Facebook and Twitter users are prolific mobile consumers (Facebook have 150 million active mobile users). So when they share your link and their equally mobile-enthused friends access your site via their mobile Twitter clients or Facebook apps, what kind of mobile experience are they going to get?
Given the meteoric rise of mobile use, it should be a no-brainer to fix this today.
You’re not alone
Its not just small blogs or website that are overlooking this aspect of mobile; some of the big names are too. To illustrate this point, I took a small sample of sites from my Twitter feed. There are some notable names in the No Mobile list, ironically, several of which, frequently dedicate significant screen space enthusing about the fast adoption of mobile.
Interestingly, these brands may have a separate mobile site. However, if they have, it didn’t detect my device, so you have to bear that in mind when you investigate a solution for your site.
Mobile Friendly? NO
Mobile Friendly? YES
So how do you make your site mobile friendly?
I’ m no expert on the technical build side of things (check this great post from Inspiration Feed for a list of companies that are), so lets just focus on two simple solutions:
WPtouch for WordPress
If you run a blog on WordPress you’re going to laugh at how simple this fix is going to be. Simply install the WPtouch plugin. It will detect when a visitor accesses from a mobile device and will serve up an iPhone-style interface. Its very quick to load and simple to use. With WPtouch this is no excuse for a WordPress blog not to be mobile friendly in less than 2 minutes.
(I use WPtouch on all my blogs, works a dream)
If you want to build a mobile site you can hand code it all yourself or you can use a product such as MoFuse to do the work for you. A smart suite of tools, MoFuse lets you easily adapt your desktop site for mobile use. It includes a WYSIWYG editor (no need to learn HTML), Google Checkout, Form Builder, Image transcoding (to resize images for mobile), Google Maps, Store Locator and Mobile Analytics. Importantly, it also enables you to sync your content from your desktop site via RSS feeds.
I’d recommend you implement a mobile friendly site as soon as possible, as the number of mobile internet users is only set to rise. Check your analytics before and post-launch to monitor the impact of the change. With a better user experience you should see an increase in visits and / or time on site as visitors read further through your posts.
Happy mobile reading!