Optimizing Your Website for Smartphones and Tablets

website optimization

Proper web design and SEO are definitely key to getting the right people to your site and helping them find the answers they’re looking for. With a user-friendly interface, people can find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily without getting frustrated and turning elsewhere. A mobile-optimized site is therefore key to increasing traffic on your site. With more and more browsing on their smartphones and tablets, if your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you could miss out on a lot of traffic.

In order to take advantage of the growing market share of the internet and to avoid missing out on a lot of traffic, it high time you began considering a fully responsive website for your online store and blog. The data below is a pointer to the fact that smartphones and tablets are beginning to take larger space on the e-commerce platform and is beginning to exert considerable influence in determining traffic, sales and profiteering.

  1. 29 percent of all U.S. adults own a tablet or e-reader, up from 2 percent three years ago, according to Pew Research.
  2. Sales from tablets and smartphones were 8 percent of U.S. ecommerce in early 2012 according to comScore. Later in the year, on Cyber Monday 2012, sales from those devices were nearly 13 percent.
  3. Traffic from tablets and smartphones reached 10 percent of the total in 2012, versus 2 percent just three years ago.

Data culled from: practical ecommerce

The first place you should start, when optimizing your website for tablets and smartphones, is your site itself. Test your website by accessing it through the most popular tablets and phones on the market, currently iPad, Kindle Fire, iPhone and Samsung Galaxy III. Make note of how easy it is to use, what works and what doesn’t.

Most ecommerce sites use category links and drop down menus to identify products. On a desktop or laptop computer, these paths work well. But on smartphones or tablets, they could be a stressful because click activity is done with the finger, not a mouse. Because mobile users enter your site mainly at the home page, it is best to provide a more path-centric layout that avoids drop menus or detailed category links.

The mobile version of your website can be easily set up to spring into action automatically the moment it is accessed on a smartphone or a tablet PC. Remember however that not everything that works on your website might work on a handheld device. A professional web developer or designer will activate only those features and elements on your existing website while reconfiguring it on a mobile platform that are actually suited to the platform.

Going the “Responsive Design” Way

Responsive web design refers to a site that is developed to adapt perfectly across multiple screen sizes and resolutions, from the largest desktop display down to the minutest mobile device. It also works wonders on frame size, square or widescreen, as well as window size, as not everyone prefers their browser to be full screen. Responsive websites can detect the screen size of any device, adjusting the layout for best performance at various resolutions. Users no longer need to keep zooming or panning to browse your page on their smartphone or tablet.

Responsive websites also take into account loading time. You can create a rich Internet experience using responsive web design, without making your site too vulnerable to loading problems. The load time required for objects is simply adjusted according to the capacity of the device that is being used. So if your website is being viewed on a smartphone, objects are reduced in size for faster loading.

Another major advantage is a consistent URL address. With the same URL structure for every device, there’s no longer a need for redirecting to a different mobile address. Your site can be accessed directly on any device from one URL. This is ideal, as a single URL makes your website more easily viewed with link sharing. When links are shared through social media via smartphones, desktop users won’t experience the frustration of unexpectedly landing on a mobile version of your site.

Google recommends …”webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”

At the end of 2012 over 50 million Americans owned a tablet and 1 of every 3 minutes spent with digital media was done on a mobile device. With all of this mobile use, having a website that is responsive is becoming a requirement, not an option.

References:

clickz.com, .topdesignmag.com, practicalecommerce.com, echosurgemarketing.com.

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