Did you know that over twenty million American households no longer have a landline telephone? By 2013 it is expected that more people will use their mobile phones than their computers to access online content, and according to one statistic, half of all local searches are already performed on a mobile device. These are impressive figures, and they illustrate a need for every business with a website to ensure it is optimized for mobile users.
Optimizing your website for phones and other mobile devices is important for anyone who offers products, services, or local information. Users often compare prices, read product reviews, and check product details from their mobile devices right in the store…while they’re ready to purchase. Since most people are in a hurry to find good, relevant information, they will not attempt to load your website multiple times on a cell phone. Instead they will stop trying, or even worse, turn to a competitor’s website for their information.
According to Google’s GoMo:
• 71% of mobile users expect a website to load as quickly on their phone as on their desktop computer
• 60% expect a site to load within three seconds or less
GoMo, which launched in November 2011, allows you to test the functionality of your website on a virtual mobile phone. This is a great tool for you, your website manager/designer, and/or marketing department. It gives you the opportunity to check your connection speed and see for yourself how well your site performs.
GoMo is a great place to start when you are evaluating your website’s mobile functionality. Simply enter your website’s URL and ask it to perform the test. After several minutes your website will be analyzed and displayed on a virtual phone and you will be asked a few questions about the intent of your website and how it is displaying on the virtual cell phone. After you answer the questions, you are directed to a score sheet, which grades your site’s mobile readiness and gives you helpful tips on how to improve its performance.
Another good resource with more in-depth information about specific site problems for mobile devices is mobiReady (ready.mobi). Websites may receive a different number score than with GoMo, but very specific issues are pointed out. These include 31 potential problem areas such as using frames, page size limit, large graphics, stylesheet errors, and caching issues.
One of the top performance indicators for mobile optimization is speed – how quickly your site loads on a cell phone. According to Keynote Systems in 2011 the average load time across mobile news and portal sites was just over six seconds…more three seconds longer than what 60% of mobile website viewers expect. Typically your “biggest offender” for slow loading time is too many images or images that are too large. Using smaller images and fewer of them, as well as optimizing them for web display through jpeg compression, can mitigate this problem.
In part two, we’ll discuss other ways to optimize your website for mobile viewing, and even how to deliver an entirely different interface experience made just for your mobile users. In the meantime, please test your websites and see how well they are currently performing for mobile users. Comment below to let us know how your website scores! Thanks.
Read Part Two in this series by clicking here.