When customers click onto your small business website, you have a matter of seconds before they decide to stay and look around or to click away and look elsewhere. And those are customers accessing your site on a PC; they're indoors with plenty of bandwidth, processor power and screen real estate.
Now consider the people who access your site using a mobile device. Challenging weather conditions, overloaded cell networks and tiny displays make it all the more critical that you deliver the information customers want as quickly, cleanly and legibly as possible. Make mobile users slog through a crummy site, and they'll never come back.
If you last tested your small business website on a PC browser a couple of years ago, chances are that it's woefully inadequate for these post-PC times. A mobile makeover is in order. But before you buy that book on HTML5 and fire up Photoshop, make sure that you steer clear of these four mobile web mistakes.
Mobile Device Denial
The BYOD movement is not a passing fad. Android smartphones and tablets like the Apple's iPad are just as home in the board room as they are on the couch. Whether you cater to consumers, other businesses or both, you do mobile customers a disservice if you force them to view a website designed for desktop browsers through a 4-inch screen.
Potential customers, who may not touch a keyboard and mouse for days, don't want to burn up their data plan wading through your website. Last year, a study by BIA/Kelsey and vSplash discovered that a staggering 93.3 percent of U.S.-based SMB websites don't render well on mobile devices.
Mobile marketing was named one of the top 5 small business marketing trends for 2013. Without a mobile web component, good luck getting any efforts to engage with mobile audiences off the ground. Think mobile-first. You may find that some of the mobile optimization techniques you employ may also breathe new life into your desktop site.
Where's Your Phone Number?
Local businesses take heed. Don't bury your phone number and make your customers scroll forever to reach it.
While developing your mobile site, make sure that your phone number appears front and center. Why? When local shoppers and diners arrive at your homepage, the Safari browser on the iPhone, for instance, allows you to initiate a call with a quick tap of the number.
It's a time-saving feature that brings you one step closer to a successful sale or a reserved table.
Playing Hard to Get (To)
Like phone numbers, make your location easy to find. Add a prominent map link to your mobile site. It's a huge aid for your any potential customers who are unfamiliar with the area and trying to navigate your neighborhood on their smartphones.
Stuck on PDFs
Although today's smartphones can render PDFs easily enough, it's a battery- and bandwidth-draining bother. It's also an unnecessary inconvenient for your customers.
PDFs, like desktop browsers, look best on PC browsers, full-sized tablets and print-outs. Smartphone users need to pinch and zoom to navigate the content. Consider mobile-optimized versions of your menus, promotions and notices. Your iPhone-toting customers will thank you.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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