Mobile First: Make the Change
It's time for small businesses to prioritize mobile-first over responsive website design, which takes the approach of developing first for desktop and then scale down to suit smaller frames.
Instead, small businesses should approach web design with mobile users in mind from the start.
One in five Americans now uses their smartphones as their primary computer; for some Americans who are smartphone-dependent, it's their only computer.
That's not the only reason for mobile-first design. Since March 2018, Google has been using a mobile-first index that considers a website's mobile rather than desktop form when ranking pages. What's more, many small business owners see higher conversion rates on mobile than on desktop.
Mobile-First Design Strategy
Here are five approaches to consider when making the switch to mobile-first:
- Rethink your content: Less is more. Your mobile reader has different expectations — and a lower attention span — than your desktop reader. Make your content as succinct as possible. Break up text into one-to-two sentence paragraphs. Save in-depth content for larger formats.
- Make your site easy to use: Remove visual clutter as much as possible. Decrease the number of pages, simplify form fields, introduce larger and simpler fonts, and make it easy to search.
- Make your CTAs mobile-friendly: Don't miss out on conversions — make your calls to action mobile-first, too. For example, check to see that your landing page's link doesn't lead mobile users to an off-centered form that won't generate leads. Adapt your CTAs to mobile users by making it simple for them to follow through on their phones. Try using easy touch screen navigation or texting options instead of a complicated form field.
- Make it easy to contact you: Consider using help desk software that will help automate the process, prioritize certain conversations, and keep a record of previous ones. Chatbots might be helpful too. They can greet your users at any time of day and respond to questions and direct queries.
- Increase your speed: Google considers page speed in mobile search ranking — check your page speed with Google's Test My Site. You might want to compress your images so that they load more quickly (while still looking good) or switch to HTTPS, which is also faster and more secure. You can also look into installing a Content Distribution Network (CDN) to decrease load times.
Go Beyond: Mobile-Only
There's one more thing to consider: the growing trend towards mobile-only. Many small businesses are starting to forego building websites aimed at desktop and laptop users, and only build a mobile experience, often complemented by a presence on social networks. So you may want to register a .mobi domain — the only top-level domain (TLD) designed with mobile users in mind. Benefits include short and memorable URLs and entry in the Internet Zone File. Plus, search engines automatically read .mobi addresses as mobile sites and prioritize them in search results. A .mobi domain helps both search engines and your users quickly find you, and signals to mobile consumers that their priorities are your top concern.
Having a mobile-friendly site that is useful to users, incorporates minimal design, and facilitates easy interactions and transactions should be a priority for all small businesses to deliver the user experience customers expect today.
Whether you go for mobile-first or take the leap to mobile-only, you can make the process easier by taking advantage of the fact that registrars will often offer website builders, hosting services, and email from one interface that directly connects with your domain name.