With the emergence of smartphones, the whole definition of browsing and online shopping has got a new meaning. It is not the same anymore and that is the reason even businesses are trying out responsive themes so that they can fit into the mobile screen as well. As the users are browsing on their smartphones instantly, they want to get to the point directly without wandering around. So it is a bit different from that of desktop browsing. Mobile users don’t have much time to invest therefore they look for sites which load faster and provides all relevant information right at the top where they want it. Following mentioned some of the good ways to optimize website for mobile search.
The increasing usage of smartphones for browsing has compelled the big names in the industry to think differently and come up with an optimized website for the mobile users. In order to do that, you must also keep in mind that you might face some challenges when trying to implement the strategies that are as follows:
Slow Network of the mobile user
The caches that you find in mobile browsers are quite smaller compared to that of desktop browsers
15 Best Ways to Optimize Website for Mobile Search:
Therefore, when you are trying to optimize websites for mobile devices you have to do that, keeping in mind the above mentioned challenges. So here we are today explaining how you can optimize a website for the mobile devices.
1. Simplified key information:
When you are optimizing for the mobile devices it must be kept in mind that the person who is going through your site is on the go. So it is very important to decide which piece of information you will include. The process gets really difficult, mainly due to the space constraint. Therefore, try to figure out which piece of information holds importance to your visitors and place it up front. Keep the process of making purchases very simple. The users must be able to do that through a tap or a two in order to gain popularity among the mobile users as well. Eliminate the unimportant content to highlight the relevant ones. So if your site provides information on movie timings, then the visitor who visits your site should be able to view the movie timings right in front of them.
2. Local Storage and browser caching:
The cache that is used in the mobile is not the same as that of the desktop. The size of the cache that is used in the mobile is quite smaller as compared to that of the desktop, but we all know how important cache is to achieve acceptable performance. What happens due to this is that the items get flushed very fast and that is why the traditional browser cache is almost ineffective in the mobile devices. So what do you do next – Compromise with the caching technique? No, because you have a great help in the form of HTML 5 Web storage specification. It is the best alternative which is implemented in every major desktop along with mobile browsers as well.
3. Streamline your focus:
All want to achieve that perfect look for their website which will be helpful for all mobile users, but in reality that is far from being practical. Even the most experienced developers or the designers fail to make this practice come to life. Therefore, what is advised is that you need to narrow down your focus and track from where you are receiving maximum traffic. If you have a maximum number of iPhone users browsing your site, then make sure that you come up with iOS enhanced version of a website first. Similarly, if you have loads of traffic from the Middle East, Asia or South America then you will have to put all your effort in improving Symbian. Then there is the WebKit rendering engine for web browsers which is used by most of the new age smartphone users like Nokia S40 and Nokia S60. Even Apple uses WebKit for its Mobile Safari, Google does that for Android and Palm for webOS. Moreover, the yet to be released Blackberry 6 is said to be including WebKit rendering engine for its web browser as well. Know your users well and then work on your browser to provide them with the best of services.
4. Image resizing:
Images consume a lot of space and also waste bandwidth. High resolution images are the reason behind the immense loss of processing time along with cache space. It might not be that bad when you are viewing the page on your desktop, but when it comes to your mobile device then it is a real game spoiler. Therefore, in order to increase the speed of the page and also reduce the bandwidth consumption along with memory consumption, resize the images that you are publishing. If you find resizing of the images a taxing job, then you can replace the image with a smaller version at least for the mobile websites. In case you are relying on the browser to do the work of resizing the image for you then you must take into account that you will be losing out on bandwidth as well. So it is better that you crop the height and the width of the high resolution images yourself. You can also try loading low resolution images when the page is opening up in order to speed up the process. Once it starts rolling, replace the low resolution image with high resolution image. This will be beneficial for you as you will be able to load up the page faster and make the high resolution image available for the users as well.
5. A minimum number of pages:
When you are loading a website on your mobile you must have seen that it takes much longer time than the traditional web pages. But the difficulty with the mobile users is that they don’t have that much of patience. Therefore it will be wise of you to restrict the number of pages with a minimum. The mobile users mostly browse in a hurry, that is the reason it is important that your page should load fast, otherwise you will be losing out on most of your traffic. They hardly have the time to click through all your pages so streamlining of the site layout is the best practice in this case. If you want to provide your users a better experience while they are on your site, then make sure you work hard towards achieving that. Research on what they want from your site when they are on there, and provide your users with just that. For example, Dominos has come up with a site which delivers the users exactly what they want without any cluttered information. They can order their favorite pizza without wandering around and looking for options to do that.
6. Similar branding for mobile and standard site:
It is a fact that your mobile site will be much more streamlined than that of your standard site for desktop. In order to have the same essence on your mobile as well, you have to incorporate the same elements of branding on both sides. If you are using a color pattern on your standard site, then make sure you use the same pattern on your mobile as well. It is important because mobile is just an extension of accessibility that you provide to your users. So they must identify the brand readily, and it will also promote the essence of your brand. Then comes the next category of users who are already familiar with your brand and company. Therefore keeping the same design pattern on mobile too will give them a feeling of homecoming, which becomes very important for your loyal customers to consider your brand on mobile as well.
7. Keep it neat and clean:
As the mobile phone screens are smaller compared to that of the desktop there is an urge to fill up the whole space with information. But that is not the right way to optimize your mobile website, instead you must keep some white space so that the users are able to click through properly. Moreover, the white space gives a cleaner and sophisticated look to your page and the users get the message that you are trying to dish out clearly. Another advantage of leaving some white space on your site is that the users will be able to click on the button correctly without landing up on the wrong place.
8. Get rid of pop up windows:
Using the browser on your mobile is a tedious job and it also makes the loading slower. It is already annoying, so don’t make it even worse for the users by popping up windows on their face every now and then. Instead, make your users aware beforehand that you are going to open a new window, so that they are informed about how to navigate back to your original page.
9. Use of mobile plugins:
Depending on which content management system you are using between WordPress and Drupal your mobile plugin will vary. In case you are using WordPress then you can make use of WPtouch plugin. The plugins available for optimizing the mobile websites can be found free of cost and there are some paid versions too. One of the main advantages they have is that it works smoothly with any device. You can also specify the name of the devices that you want in case of full page loading and mobile style-sheet. You can look for various plugins that are available for your CMS platforms.
10. User Agent:
Every mobile device comes with agent string with the help of which you can inform the web browsers the device type. By changing the user agent you will get to know how your site will look on the web browser. If you are using either Safari or Firefox, then it will be easier for you to change the user agent. Why do you need to do that? Because it will allow you to view the look of your content on several browsers. It will help you in adjusting accordingly, and if you want to add even more mobile browsers than what already exists in the device, then you can do that with the help of a plugin.
11. Use touch instead of clicks:
The smartphones are all touched devices now therefore it takes much longer time to react to the on click event. First of all, it doesn’t react to tap on the screen instantaneously moreover, it will make you wait for 30 seconds before you can go into some other gesture. This small delay can be a great hindrance to the responsive performance that is generally expected by the mobile users. In order to rectify this issue you must make use of touchend event which reacts almost instantly when the device senses tap on the screen. In case you are working with some browser that doesn’t support touch events, then make sure that the color of the button changes when it has sensed the click.
12. Direct link:
Instead of going round and round to desktop site from a mobile device, it is better that you provide a link which will directly go to desktop website. There are some users who prefer desktop website over the mobile website, therefore to ease their navigation it is best to suppress the extra round trip.
13. Accessing the full site:
When you are preparing a website for your mobile then you take great care in putting together all the relevant and important information for your users. But then again, you will find some users who like to view the full content instead of the items that you have selected for them. Therefore, it is important that you provide links which will enable the users to visit the full version of your site. Many websites have already incorporated this because they know that users are sometimes curious to know what all are hidden there. Mobile sites are a great way of showcasing the brand and also your creativity.
14. Minimizing the challenge:
If your fingers are fat then you must be facing a lot of trouble in typing on the keyboards provided by the touch screen. Therefore, it is a good practice to incorporate more and more drop-down menus or checklists or maybe pre – populated fields for data entry. It actually helps in minimizing the challenges for people who have fat fingers. FedEx is a perfect example of how these options can optimize the mobile website. In order to accomplish the goal of the user, loads of information needs to be entered. But when the same thing is done through drop-down or checklists, then it eases out the use of text.
15. Avoiding flash:
Apple does not support Flash and it is also a known fact that they don’t intend to do so in future as well, therefore it is wise to avoid Flash in a mobile website. Apple users form the major chunk of the smartphone users. So if you want to leave them out, then you can use the flash otherwise opt for other options. Likewise, there are some devices which don’t support Java too, so it is better to avoid that too otherwise it will slow the load time and make the user experience worse.