Mobile-first: what you need to know

April 20, 2018 Manuela Bárcenas

Mobile-first: what you need to know

Are you getting the most out of your website? Adopt mobile!

How mobile-friendly is your business website?

Most companies understand an online presence is crucial. However, most business owners don’t know that more people access the internet from their mobile devices than from their computers. This alone should be the reason your business goes mobile.

As search engines like Google give preference to mobile-friendly sites, having one will help ensure you rise in online search rankings. It will also allow you to connect with customers and address their needs in a variety of ways.

This isn’t just a trend; retailers are beginning to see results. Patrice Mousseau is the founder of Satya Organics. She says customers using mobile devices are three times more likely to make purchases than those accessing Satya’s website from a desktop computer.

“Mobile isn't just nice to have,” says Mousseau. “It's the way people are interacting online now.”

So, how do you give customers a mobile experience that gets you results? As you think about improving your website, be sure to consider responsive design, so it can scale between different browsing windows and will still look great from a desktop computer, a tablet or a smartphone. This is only the first step, however.

Make it fast and easy

Studies show that 400 milliseconds—or the blink of an eye—might be too long a wait time for today’s impatient web users. People will stop visiting your site if it’s slow and hard to navigate.

To tackle this problem, use free performance tools to test the speed of your website and get suggestions on how to improve your visitor experience.

“Make the experience easy and fun for your customers,” says Mousseau. “Use quick links and simple, straightforward navigation.”

Smooth navigation is one of the most important aspects of website usability. Make your website mobile-friendly and avoid displaying information in many pages and sections. Instead, limit the number of items and use drop-down menus to display different options.

According to Mousseau, having direct links to all your social channels is essential to improving the navigation experience, as customers like to browse and alternate quickly between sites.

“Facebook and Instagram are the two top platforms for me, followed by Twitter as a far third,” she says.

If most users view your products from a mobile device, they will expect to purchase in the same way. Studies show the percentage of consumers who make payments from smartphones has increased from thirty percent to more than seventy percent over the last couple of years. For this reason, looking into mobile payment options is a must when building your mobile-friendly site.

Optimize customer service

Mobile users like to get quick responses to questions and complaints. To improve their experience, an FAQ section on your website or a mobile wayfinding tool can address common questions.

Entrepreneurs like Mousseau also use live chat apps to connect with their audiences and increase website responsiveness rates.

“It's great because I get notifications on my phone and I can immediately connect to my customers,” says Mousseau. “I use Tidio and so far, it's been great.”

Use visuals

We’ve all heard the phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words;” this is especially relevant when it comes to building a mobile-friendly website.

Capture a mobile user’s attention with visuals instead of text. Including videos, photos and infographics can make your website stand out from the rest.

Once you’ve built your website, the best way to test it is to put yourself in your customer's shoes. “Frequently visit your own site on your phone to hone the experience,” Mousseau advises. “Ask your friends to do the same and provide honest feedback.”

As people are buying with smartphones, mobile marketing has become a necessary part of doing business online. Don’t make the mistake of building a website without your mobile customers in mind.


About the Author

Manuela Bárcenas is a soon-to-be graduate from Carleton University’s journalism program. She is passionate about diversity, content creation and storytelling.

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