In today's market, your website is the most important marketing tool you have. I doubt we need to convince you of that. You already know you need to be where your customers have easy access to you, and that's clearly the internet.
However, the internet of 2017 no longer resides on desktops and laptops. It's a mobile internet. And that's the internet Google has concluded it must serve to stay competitive. As a result, if you handle your website as if you lived in a mobile-only world, it fosters relevancy and ranking in Google's search machine.
Your three big questions for 2017 are:
- How mobile-friendly is my website?
- How mobile-friendly are my videos?
- How mobile-friendly is my social media strategy?
Your answer to all three questions needs to be, "Very friendly." Otherwise, you won't be competitive in the mobile-first world Google insists you must adapt to.
How mobile-friendly is my website?
Gone are the days you can depend upon pinch and zoom to render your website mobile-friendly. Nor does having a separate mobile-friendly version of your website work well today.
Imagine the website visitor who accesses your website from both mobile and traditional devices. Few people like to find their mobile experience differs significantly from what they are used to on their computer. That's why using a responsive design is so much better. Sure some things have to move around, yet the experience is cohesive. And visitors don't miss out on content because it wasn't deemed 'mobile-friendly.'
There are other things to look for as well.
- Does your site code include a viewport meta tag? You can use this little piece of code to tell browsers to size content to fit the screen. You can also use this tag to set up custom variables so auto-zoom doesn't render images and navigation in odd sizes.
- Are you using 14px as your minimum font size? This larger font size reduces the need to resize. Only labels and forms should use 12px. Anything smaller should be avoided completely.
- Are buttons large enough? When you use 44px by 44px as your minimum button size, you make it easier to hit the right button. Good-bye fat finger angst.
- Are your images hi-res? Mobile devices may be small, however, they have very high resolution screens. A low-res picture delivers a poor experience!
- Are your forms set to autocapitalize and to not autocorrect? It's not a big thing to have to toggle the capslock key, yet your visitors will appreciate your thoughtfulness if they don't have to use it. In addition, you want the real name, not some autocorrect version, so it's in your best interests to turn off autocorrect in forms.
Finally, you want to test your website on as many mobile platforms as possible. See how your website looks on an Android tablet and an iPad. Compare the results on different models of Android, iPhone and Windows phones. Everything won't be exactly the same; however you'll want to ensure you're user-friendly no matter what your visitor's prefered device may be. We recomend using a tool like Google's Mobile-Friendly Test page here.
How mobile-friendly are my videos?
Having a responsive website doesn't guarantee your videos are responsive. Fortunately, this can be an easy fix. If you use YouTube to host your videos, the embed code ensures your videos are responsive to mobile devices.
However, this may not be true if you're using a different hosting solution. It's worth making sure your video hosting has upgraded to responsive delivery. If they haven't, it may be time to find a new solution.
Responsive video is an essential strategy. Make sure your website is delivering a positive experience when visitors click on your videos.
How mobile-friendly is my social media strategy?
If you're using social media, and you should be, it's time to recognize that mobile is where people are viewing their social content. If 92% of Pinterest users were mobile in May 2014, that's not a number that's likely to have dropped. It shouldn't surprise you that Twitter users were 86% mobile by May of 2014. That platform is a natural fit for people who find texting large blocks of content exhausting.
Facebook users have gravitated to mobile as well. In 2014, 68% were using mobile. By 2016, 51.7% were using their mobile device exclusively to access their Facebook accounts, and 90% of the most active users were using mobile.
Our portable devices offer us a way to fit in some social connection time while you're on the go. And they've also transformed our travel and shopping experiences. Recognizing this can become one of your strongest social marketing assets.
Rules of Engagement
Because mobile is in many ways more personal than a desktop experience, it's even more important that you respect the privilege of serving content in the mobile environment. To ensure you're doing that, ask:
- Have I sought and received permission to send this? If the answer is, "No," don't try to engage before the answer is, "Yes."
- Am I keeping my messages on target for my audience? Off target messaging destroys the trust you're trying to build.
- Could I find a more compact way to say this? Take the time to hone your message and the package you deliver it in.
- Am I delivering content in mobile-friendly packages? This is a big one. File sizes matter when a mobile user is using their data plan. It's better to entice your mobile users to see more, than to put the big video up front. Choose PNGs first for their dependable color, but if you use JPGs, make sure they are progressive..
- Do I understand how my audience is using their mobile devices? This information can help you tailor your content. For example if you're serving shoppers, your content and mobile website could be quite different from the site of someone who provides consulting services.
No matter how mobile-friendly your website seems today, don't assume today's mobile-friendly will be tomorrow's. As new devices enter the market, you want to run tests to ensure your website continues to deliver a positive experience. Keep your website on top of the technology. It will reap benefits in a world that's going to stay mobile and possibly become almost fully mobile. If you want more information on mobile and how it has redefined the consumer decision journey download our eBook below.