“She doesn’t recognize the number—none of her friends use their phones as phones anymore.”
― Gabrielle Zevin, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
Mobile phones are hardly phones anymore. They have combined the functions of laptops, GPS, video game consoles, journals, books, DVD, and mp3 players into a single portable device. The list could go on and on. As the demand for the latest and greatest technologies to be found at one’s fingertips increases, you can be sure that the mobile market will continue to move to the forefront of all things media. That includes your business. If it doesn’t, then you might want to take notice before its too late. To thrive in the marketplace today you will need a mobile mindset.
THE FUTURE AT OUR FINGERTIPS
Mobile ranking is replacing desktop ranking as the more powerful platform for search visibility. In order to remain at the top of the search results, or get there if you are not, you will need to build and maintain a site that is mobile-friendly. Mobile mindset businesses will look for opportunities to optimize their content for mobile devices. Here are 6 ways to enhance your website to become more mobile:
1. Tailor your site to work well with voice search.
Here are a few from Forbes.com:
“Some ways you can optimize for voice search include:
Focusing on highly-specific, long-tail keywords.
Writing in a conversational style. Users are unlikely to use formal language when searching by voice.
Using the appropriate markup so Google knows what type of content you’re providing.
Directly answering popular questions being asked in your industry.
Ensuring your site is optimized for mobile (this is an obvious one, but too important not to mention).”
2. Incorporate multimedia that operates at the levels found on your average customer’s cellphones; beware of those that may be on the lower ends of the technology spectrum.
Google gives some helpful insight around the range of multimedia phones that operate on at least a 3G network.
3. Build in HTML5 and do not use flash.
This is another area Google reiterated over and over. Take note of the current technology and beware of those that are outdated or will be soon.
4. Incorporate video and multimedia where it makes sense, not for the sake of having it.
The mobile world is a multimedia world. Video is rapidly rising in the market as a “content king”. Know your customer and what media makes sense for them. Don’t simply take part in a trend to say you have. Multimedia does not guarantee longevity. When done well, it serves it. What matters most is providing the right products including multimedia to satisfy your market, your clientele.
5. Remember that mobile screens are small and fingers can be “fat”; design your site navigation in light of this.
I found this to be an excellent reminder of the importance of thinking through who and how people will use technology to find you. There is nothing more painful than flipping back and forth on your smartphone trying to go where you want on a website. Help your visitors move around your site by making it a functionally enjoyable experience. The mobile market will not wait to “get it right” and finally get to the page they want. A frustrated visitor is a lost customer…and potentially a vocal and socially connected lost customer. If you lose a customer on their first encounter, you will likely lose them for life. Today, if you upset a customer, they may share their experience with the entire web. First impressions matter. Make their mobile visit a comfortable one.
6. Develop your content around the goals of the visitors’ intended use.
It’s good to ask and think through how to get people to your site. You can’t stop there though. You need to ask, “What are the people that will show up going to be looking for when they get here?” This takes into account the aspects of user experience and search analysis. When you build your content, you will likely be writing it in such a way that it matches the need of a search query. You want to have the right content to fit queries that make sense for your business. You then choose which searches you want to be tied to and go after developing your content to satisfy users that will be looking for what you have to offer.
NOTE: Another great resource for a bit more technical treatment of building a mobile friendly website can be found at MOZ.