Since the introduction of Google’s ‘Mobile-First’ indexing earlier this year, businesses have scrambled to create mobile-friendly websites that’ll please the search engines and salvage the best ranking possible. The challenge here though is that many agencies and companies are simply applying the same thinking they used to build desktop websites to the building of mobile websites. This mistake can prove to be very costly for the business.
The most important thing everybody needs to understand when it comes to mobile-first is that your mobile site is not for converting leads. Rather, it exists to provide quick, easy information that generates both interest and leads. The whole point of a mobile device is convenience, so we need to make sure we’re providing that same convenience on our mobile website and you will notice this as a recurring theme throughout the article.
Now that we’ve moved past the golden rule, I wanted to share the 3 biggest mistakes I’ve noticed with most mobile websites I visit.
Common Mistakes with Mobile Websites
Overly Complicated Forms
One of the main objectives we have when somebody lands on your website is to get them to hand over their information, whether it be through an enquiry or sign up. A form with several different required fields is simple when you have a keyboard and can tap the large keys with accuracy. However, when you’re on a mobile device typing is a nightmare and this previously simple form is a mountainous task you don’t want to do. What this means is that you’ll get a lot of drop-offs as people simply don’t think it’s worth the effort. Remember: Mobile users want convenience.
To create a page that generates interest, you should only ask for the absolute bare minimum information on your enquiry forms in order to minimise the need to type: What is the single most useful piece of information you need after their name? An email address or a phone number? Beyond that, your forms should also feature simple buttons that are easy to tap. Simplicity is key here and you should also make sure to test your forms out on a mobile device before hitting the Publish button. There’s nothing more amateur-looking than a form that doesn’t work!
The homepage of your website is often a person’s first impression of your business. According to research, you have approximately 0.05 seconds to generate a first impression on a website, so the last thing you want to do is overwhelm them with too much information or a cluttered design.
Something important to note is that Google’s Speed Update was rolled out last month, meaning that slow-loading content will have an even bigger impact on your ranking than before. Elements like video backgrounds and animations grind your load time on mobile to a snail’s crawl, so keep things like that exclusive on your desktop website. Your mobile site should be simple and avoid flashy gimmicks that’ll probably be difficult to see anyway. Users want to get to the information they want as quickly and as easily as possible, so make sure you’ve got the least number of barriers possible between them and their destination.
The Wrong Information
As explained before, the main goals for your mobile website is to generate interest and create leads. If your business relies upon people calling or walking into your store, make sure you have a clearly visible click-to-call button and an embedded Google map. People looking to find out information instantly won’t be willing to type your address into their Maps app or type your phone number in to call you. This simple mistake could be the difference between you or your competitors winning that customer. Again, we are trying to make the experience as easy and simple as possible for visitors. In fact, this means your click-to-call button and embedded map should be featured on every single page of your mobile site.
Another thing to consider when deciding what information to include on your mobile site is the load time. On our desktop-optimised websites, we love to include lots of pages, including the usual ‘About Us’ pages and downloadable resources, but on a mobile device it can really slow down your load speed. It’s important to not be a hoarder with your pages and evaluate which bits of content are the ‘need to knows’ and which are the ‘nice to knows’. The ‘nice to knows’ shouldn’t be included on your mobile site, just keep them on the desktop version. Downloadable resources will be too large for a mobile phone and probably can’t be opened anyway, so get rid of them too. Be ruthless and provide only what is absolutely necessary.
Don’t Forget To Keep Up-To-Date with SEO
These are the most common mistakes I see with mobile websites, but this is almost exclusively from a UX perspective. In order to keep your mobile site fully-optimised, be sure to keep up with the latest trends and Google updates.
When considering the points I’ve made above, always remember to test properly. This means actually accessing the website from a mobile device, rather than trying to cut corners with a simulator on your desktop computer. You never know what you’re going to find and it’s also worth thinking about how you felt when you were navigating the site.
• Was it easy to get to the page you wanted?
• Was only the essential information given?
• Were the visual elements easy to identify and see?
• Did the content load quickly?
Give it some thought and I wish you all the best in your website building endeavours!