You've probably heard that mobile is increasingly important, but even so, the latest stats may astound you.
- As holiday shopping ramps up, IBM Coremetrics expects 15 percent of people in the U.S. logging onto a retailer’s website to use a mobile device.
- Mobile shopping will increase November shopping by up to 15 percent from last year, according to IBM.
- Mobile searches have grown 400 percent since 2010, according to Google.
- 61 percent of mobile users call a business after searching, and 59 percent visit the location, Google says.
Recognizing this, Google is now using mobile site optimization as a factor in scoring ad quality for mobile campaigns. The AdWords system will automatically visit your landing page, and evaluate the way your site would look to a smartphone.
If your mobile site loads slowly or doesn't render correctly, you could end up paying more for less traffic, according to Chelsea Davis, senior search engine marketing analyst for Site Pro Specialties, a pay-per-click campaign management company.
Should you Go Mo?
Google is trying to make it easier for small businesses to optimize their websites with its Go Mo initiative. The special site is full of information, stats and includes a free preview tool that lets you see how your current desktop site looks on a smartphone. The GoMoMeter will analyze your site and give you customized recommendations on how to make your site more mobile friendly, as well as a directory of vendors.
Sleek and fast
Optimizing your mobile site means cutting out the junk, Davis says. Cut down on images and eliminate any Flash. Remember, mobile users tend to be searching for quick information; they're not so interested in site-seeing.
A mobile-friendly website uses just one single column, according to Dennis Mink, vice president of marketing for DudaMobile, one of Google's Go Mo partners. DudaMobile's platform automatically translates websites into their mobile-friendly versions.
"All that information on the left- and right-hand sides of the page has to go away," Mink says. "With a mobile phone, you have such limited real estate that you have to boil it down to what's the most important thing you want to communicate about your business."
Use bullet points instead of blocks of text, he advises, and prioritize the content mobile users are most likely to want. For example, your website may contain information about your company's history, your management team and your mission. That's great stuff for the desktop, but your mobile site should put front-and-center of the action you want mobile users to take.
"If you want someone to call you, have a click-to-call button," Mink says. "If you want people to come to your business, have a click-for-directions button that leads directly to a map. If it's a way to generate leads, don't have a complex form. You might instead have a simple, click-to-e-mail button."
Don't forget to take advantage of smartphone functionality, Davis advises, such as providing click-to-call functionality so that people can tap a phone number to make a call instead of having to punch numbers into the keypad.
Work your analytics
Don't guess; instead, track, advises Peter J. Wylie, vice president of Three Ships Media, an agency specializing in customer acquisition and performance marketing. Realize that mobile will not be equally important to everyone.
"There will be a huge range," he says, "so don't let what's being written or talked about drive your decision. Instead, look over your traffic reports from the last year to get a sense of the trend."
For a B2C company, mobile traffic may be as much as 30 percent, while for a B2B company, it may be as low as 3 percent.
Says Wylie, "That should dictate what you do and what level of investment you make today and in the next 12 to 36 months."
Photo credit: Cha già José