May 16, 2012

3 steps to a successful mobile website

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Plan for a mobile site that meets your strategic needs

This is the first of a two-part series on the mobile Web. Tomorrow:
The Ultimate Mobile Web Infographic

Target audience: Mid-size and small businesses, Web publishers, mobile developers, entrepreneurs, educators, journalists, general public.

Deltina HayAs we’ve been saying, the time has come for you to offer your readers a mobile version of your website in one form or another.

But before leaping in and creating a mobile website just because you need one, pull back and plan for a mobile site that meets your customer’s needs, fulfills your business objectives, and integrates the features you need now and in the future.

Here are some guidelines to help you plan a successful mobile website:

Plan for user expectations

1In a previous post, we discussed how people use the mobile Web. Mobile device users already know what they want when they get to a mobile website, and are more likely to take action once they get there. To plan for this type of user behavior, answer the following questions about potential visitors to your mobile site:

Include features on your mobile site that will encourage mobile users to share your content, contact your business, access your social media sites & find your business
  • Why are they most likely coming to your site?
  • What information are they most likely seeking?
  • What types of actions are they most likely to take?

The answers to these questions can help you prioritize the content on your mobile site. You should highlight the three most important items and make them prevalent on your site. You may only have a few seconds to make a conversion, so call-to-action links or buttons should be one of those priorities.

If possible, reach out to your mailing list or social networking connections and ask what they would like to see on your mobile site.

Plan for business objectives

2Mobile visitors are not going to navigate around your site the way they might on a PC, so have your immediate goals in mind when planning your mobile website. You should also consider the resources you have to put toward your mobile website. Answer the following questions about your goals and resources:

  • What are my immediate goals: Sell products, drive traffic to my location, generate leads?
  • How much money do I have to invest in the set-up and maintenance of a mobile website?
  • How much time can I put toward the set-up and maintenance of the site?

Answering these questions can help you focus your mobile website content and decide on the most feasible overall solution.

Plan for mobile features

3We learned that mobile device users:

  • Access social media sites second only to search sites
  • Take action more often than PC users
  • Are location motivated
  • Like to share information

Using this insight, you want to include features on your mobile site that will encourage mobile device users to share your content, contact your business, access your social media sites, find your business, and so forth. Depending on the results of steps one and two above, consider the following features to include on your mobile website:

This is not an exhaustive list, but should give you an idea of the types of features to consider for your mobile website.

These steps can help you flesh out the information you need to move forward with your mobile website strategy.

Bootstrapper's Guide to the Mobile Web

This excerpt was paraphrased from The Bootstrapper’s Guide to the Mobile Web by Deltina Hay. Learn more about the book at The Bootstrapper’s Guide website, where you will find a plethora of resources, worksheets, and examples.

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Deltina Hay, a partner in, is an author and educator who develops online curricula on social media and other Internet marketing topics. She also helps businesses prepare their content for semantic search and big data analysis. Contact her, follow her on Twitter and Google Plus, or leave a comment below.

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