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Smartphones are predicted to be in the hands of half of all Americans by the end of 2011, according to GigaOM. The growth of smartphones is impacting how we stay connected through social media, how we discover new restaurants via local search, and even the way in which we donate to charities after natural disasters, like the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. With the onset of QR codes, phone applications, and other mobile advancements, users expect businesses to, at the very least, have optimized websites for mobile use.
Many CMS platforms, like WordPress and Drupal, have a mobile plugin, making it super easy to adapt your website content to be mobile friendly. For website owners not managing their own websites, it’s time to consult your IT departments on developing a mobile-specific site.
Here are some best practices for creating and optimizing a website for mobile devices.
- Consider your mobile strategy, which should be centered around one main goal, such as increasing sales conversions, sign-ups, phone calls, etc. Then make this call to action very visible on each page of content with a well-sized button or tab.
- More is less on mobile because users don’t spend lengthy periods of time reading through pages of content on their cell phones the way they do on desktops. Use Google Analytics to help determine what the big draws are on the current site so that you can transition only the most popular or highly-searched content over to the mobile site.
- Test the website on multiple handheld devices to make sure the site design looks good and performs well across all devices.
- Mobile users don’t have the patience to wait for your page to load or to navigate through pages of scrolling content to find what they are looking for. Be brief and avoid all Flash.
- Submit a mobile sitemap to Googlebot-Mobile to make sure the content is indexed correctly, and thus, easy to find in general search queries. This will also help Google identify when a user is performing an Internet search on a mobile device versus a computer and will then redirect the user to the most appropriate version of your website.