In today's day and age, a website is your calling card, and you want yours to be as inviting as possible. You also want to make sure it's easy to navigate and engaging enough to keep your target prospects active in “your world.”
However, having an attractive website for your prospects to browse on their computers isn't enough. It needs to be optimized for the future and any changes that may come along with it.
“Future-proofing” means ensuring your website looks good no matter what device your prospects are using. It can make or break your business.
According to digital analytics firm comScore, 156 million Americans owned a smartphone as of December 2013. By the end of 2014, 1.75 billion people around the world will use them regularly. That's a huge number of prospects you could be turning away if your site is not “mobile-enabled.”
That's why this week I'm sharing tips to make your website “mobile-ready” without a huge time commitment on your end.
I'll show you why it's vital to your business to be ready for today and the future…
Why you don't need to be a “tech expert” to get your website on track…
And the secret strategy any Expertpreneur® can use to get their website up to snuff…
Losing Prospects Without Knowing It
They didn't necessarily have to make the shift right away. Direct mail, brick and mortar stores, and other traditional styles of marketing and sales still worked (and will continue to work). However, every day, week, and month they avoided making the leap was time they risked losing customers.
How often do you buy from a business who doesn't have a website you can access easily?
Technology has brought us to a new time – where everyone is accessing websites from their phones, tablets, and other mobile devices. Of course, the “old ways” haven't died. People still use computers.
However, the writing is on the wall – portable devices are here to stay.
So, why ignore them? You'll only be hurting your chances at generating leads and bigger profits if you do.
Imagine your ideal prospect playing around with their tablet at the airport. When they type in keywords tied to your business, you pop up on their Google search.
However, if they tap on your link and your website looks like a mess on their tablet, they're going to “x” out of it immediately and never look back. Robbing you of a potential lifelong client. A shame, with all of the hard work you put into your business.
As an exercise, pull out your mobile device of choice. It doesn't matter which. Once you have it, pull up your website.
How does it look? Does it load up like it does on a computer? Or do you get a special “mobile friendly” version?
Check out the details. How does your opt-in form look? Does it show up and function properly? How are your font sizes?
Go through every single page on your site and check how all the functions work. You'd be surprised where funny formatting errors pop up.
Each error in your website increases the possibility of your prospect jumping ship. After all, why should they have to struggle just to get a little information? Especially when a competitor's site is likely to work better.
For a detailed analysis of your website's functionality on mobile devices, Google has a tool called “Pagespeed Insights.” It measures the usability and readability of your site.
If you came across any issues, don't worry. You still have an opportunity to quickly and simply fix them and start attracting a whole new potential market.
Believe it or not, the major problems in mobile displays come from font sizes and complicated layouts. While they may look fun and fancy on a computer, they can turn into a mess on a smaller device.
So, to start, make sure your website is as simple as possible to navigate. Nothing fancy, nothing over the top. Just a clear layout with the most important elements at the top.
The next step is to make sure your most important content is “above the fold.” This means on the top of the page before you scroll down.
Frankly, all content can stand to be more concise. You want to get to the point as quickly as possible with very little excess fat.
However, this is doubly important for the mobile user. The nature of smartphones is quick navigation and immediate gratification. People will not give you the time of day if you take too long to get to your point.
A great way to address this is by adding video to your site. Mobile users tend to prefer video, so having content available in that format could greatly increase the likelihood of your prospects “sticking.”
Finally, for quick fixes, make sure your links and “buttons” (hyperlinked images) on your website are of an appropriate size for touch devices. Fingers are bigger than a mouse pointer, so you want your links to be large enough to touch. If they're too small, your prospect may accidentally click on the wrong thing or two links at once and get frustrated.
Now, if you use Wordpress (a very popular content management system), or other popular platforms, another solution to this problem is investing in a plug-in that automatically modifies your website when loading it on a mobile device. This is known as a “responsive” site – it recognizes the device accessing the site and optimizes it for that device.
A few Wordpress themes that work great for mobile users are Elegant Themes, WooThemes, or PressCoders themes. They range from free to around $70/year, but are very much worth it. They even offer support!
With these themes you can design your web pages as you see fit, and then “preview” how they would look on each device. Allowing you to modify accordingly.
Of course, the simplest solution is to hire a professional to take care of it for you. Obviously that could be a little pricier. However, if you are not tech-savvy, you shouldn't waste your time building that skill from scratch. Delegating is the key to success.
Not All Devices are the Same
They are differences in size and structure, and what looks best varies from device to device. On your tablet, you want to see large, beautiful websites. In fact, they should look almost identical to your desktop counterpart. Smartphones require much smaller, simpler pages.
There are differences in speed, as well. An iPad generally connects to WiFi, which means it can load graphic intensive websites more quickly. People generally use smartphones out and about on a 4G network, which means much, much slower connectivity (comparatively).
If your website is full of huge images, it could take ages to load on a smartphone. That is a surefire way to lose a prospect. No one has the patience to wait anymore!
A great example of a responsive site that works well on every device is Google. No matter where you access it, it's optimized beautifully.
On a smartphone, it has clear menus, large areas to “touch” with very little clutter. You can find what you need quickly without much struggle.
On the iPad, you're looking at a layout much closer to desktop. However, there are still tablet-specific features – one-touch access to Google apps and a simple navigation bar on top that you can touch. Not to mention the classic Google search bar smack dab in the middle of the page.
The layout is intuitive and clean no matter the device. The result you should strive for in your business.
A great “sneaky” way to find out how your site works is to go to a local Best Buy or other tech superstore. There, they have every single device on the market available for “testing.”
Obviously, they set that up to entice you to buy. However, you can use it as a free lab for seeing how your website performs!
Take note of which devices look good and which need help. It might be hard to please everyone, but it's worth taking a look.
Bring that information back to your web expert you outsource to, if you work with one. Otherwise, take it into consideration when working with your Wordpress theme. That extra knowledge could ensure you cover all your bases.
A Simple Solution
Considering how easy it is to get your website up to snuff, there's no reason to be left in the dust. All it takes is a few small adjustments here and there and you'll greatly improve your chances for success.
Again, if this feels overwhelming, you should absolutely delegate the task to a professional. No need to teach yourself an entirely new skill just for this purpose. Use a simple website like Elance, Odesk, or Fiverr, and you will be able to find a capable pro to help you out.
On a last note… while keeping up with trends is exhausting, it is important to recognize when a trend becomes the norm. Don't worry about chasing all the new fads and shiny new products to get ahead in your business – you'll become exhausted trying. However, when it's clear there is a huge movement in a new direction, make sure you are on the right side of the wave.
It could mean a world of difference for you and your business.