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How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices

November 13, 2023

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How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices

Picture this scenario: you're shopping on your phone, but you find yourself frustrated, dragging your fingers every way to view the entire page—it's not just a flashback to 2012 but a potential bounce to another site. While this may be an extreme example, it's still fairly common that websites are built unresponsively and are under-optimized for mobile viewers. In this day and age, that's a recipe not just for conversion bleeding but for conversion hemorrhaging.

Keeping up with consumer expectations is manageable as long as you and your business are willing to adapt. If you happen to be reading this on a mobile device, reflect on the imminent risk of losing users if your website lacks mobile optimization. Beyond mere aesthetics, optimization encompasses rapid loading, user-friendly navigation, and seamless interaction—critical elements for compact screens and expansive desktop experiences. Throughout this article, we will lead you through the essentials of mobile-first design, breaking down the approach and providing practical tips to ensure your website excels on smartphones and tablets.

Why is Optimizing your Website for Mobile so Important? 

Ensuring your website is optimized for mobile isn't just an option—it's crucial for businesses striving to succeed. This importance is underscored by a recent 2022 study from Pew Research Center, revealing that 76% of US adults prefer making online purchases through smartphones, showcasing the pervasive influence of mobile shopping. However, in a mobile-centric world teeming with endless content, potential audiences and customers are becoming less tolerant of subpar user experiences. If your site doesn't meet their standards, you guide them to explore alternatives elsewhere.

Beyond keeping up with consumer expectations, optimizing for mobile is also extremely important for SEO ranking. If you still need to learn, SEO ranking is the numerical placement of a webpage within search engine results, determining its visibility and prominence based on various factors. And with so much competition already out there, you want to ensure your page is in the best condition. The stakes are high, especially since Google declared its monumental shift to "mobile-first indexing for all websites starting September 2020." In simpler terms, Google bots will now focus solely on crawling the mobile version of your site. The catch? If your pages aren't optimized for mobile use, they risk being excluded from those coveted search results. It's not just an update; it's a game-changer for your online visibility. If you want to learn more about improving your SEO ranking, review this checklist.

Digging deeper into mobile usage,Klarna's latest Mobile Shopping Report revealed a growing trend. About 68% of U.S. consumers now shop more frequently using their mobile phones than two years ago, with 8 in 10 engaging in mobile shopping within the last 12 months. Notably, younger generations, with 79% of Gen Z and 77% of Millennials, have significantly increased their mobile shopping activities. The study also points out a strong preference for mobile shopping in the 18 to 49 age group, where a staggering 91% make online purchases through smartphones. This data stresses the importance of aligning eCommerce strategies with the evolving preferences of younger generations and catering to their increasing mobile shopping habits.

How to Optimize Your Website for Mobile Devices

To optimize your website for mobile friendliness, businesses must embrace a responsive design that adapts to diverse screen sizes. This embrace not only fosters a superior user experience but also enhances the website's value in terms of search engine optimization. Given the continuous evolution of device types and varying screen dimensions, ensuring a website design that functions seamlessly under any circumstance is paramount. Beyond embracing a responsive mobile design, an eCommerce business should also prioritize the user experience. Implementing these principles will help transform a desktop-centric website into one that is genuinely mobile-friendly, catering to the dynamic needs of users across various devices.

#1 Mobile Site Appearance

In today's business landscape, the importance of a well-designed website is widely acknowledged. The online presence of a business can either propel it to success or hinder its growth. Yet, investing in a professionally designed website may seem daunting for small businesses grappling with cost constraints or limited technical expertise. Even if an existing but outdated site is in place, the value of a redesign may be questioned. Nevertheless, numerous studies consistently emphasize the significance of good web design, as it profoundly impacts customer experience, lead generation, and, ultimately, the bottom line. The relevance of website design is evident in customers' preferences for visually appealing layouts. Standford Studies reveal that users swiftly assess a company's credibility based on visual design alone, with 75% making judgments about a company's legitimacy.

Therefore, making a positive impression from the outset, especially regarding mobile design, is crucial. To assess the mobile-friendliness of your site, utilizing Google's Lighthouse tool is recommended.

#2 Simplify Your Navigation Menu

Mobile users need more screen space, and a cluttered navigation menu can create a frustrating user experience. Simplifying the menu becomes imperative as it enhances usability, facilitating quick and efficient navigation for visitors. This streamlined approach significantly reduces the likelihood of users getting lost or abandoning the site due to complexity. The popular hamburger style is recommended because of the notably smaller size of mobile screens compared to desktops and laptops. This style conserves valuable screen space, presenting more oversized and accessible menu items with a simple touch. Ultimately, simplifying your navigation menu on mobile proves essential for user satisfaction, visual appeal, and search engine optimization, collectively contributing to a more prosperous and user-friendly website.

A cell phone with Nostra's home page open, surrounding the phone are arrows directing viewers on the best strategies for implementing their CTA and navigation menu.

#3 Optimize CTA Size and its Location

When it comes to mobile web design, getting the Call-to-Action (CTA) right is a game-changer. Let's talk about why tweaking the CTA size and where you put it is a big deal for a smooth mobile user experience.

CTA Size: Finding the Sweet Spot

On mobile screens, there's not a lot of room to play with. So, we need to be smart about how big we make our CTAs. It's not just about making them visible; it's about finding that perfect size where they stand out without crowding the screen. A well-thought-out CTA size grabs attention without making the user feel overwhelmed—simple as that.

Considerations for CTA size involve things like font size and button dimensions. The idea is to create a CTA that users notice right away, prompting them to take action without any confusion. It's about making the CTA a small yet impactful part of the mobile screen that fits right in.

Strategic Placement: Keep It Handy

Equally important is where you put your CTAs on the screen. Mobile devices come in all sizes, and people hold them in different ways. So, you want to put your CTAs where users can reach them easily—no stretching or straining required. Making sure CTAs are within a thumb's reach ensures users can interact effortlessly.

Understanding how people hold their phones is key here. CTAs should be in spots that feel natural and don't require any acrobatics to tap. This kind of user-friendly design increases the chances of users actually engaging with your CTA, whatever it might be.

Why It Matters

A well-designed CTA on mobile isn't just about looks; it's about getting users to do what you want them to do. When CTAs are easy to see and click, users are more likely to take the action you're hoping for—whether that's making a purchase or signing up for something.

So, optimizing your CTA size and where you put it is a solid investment in the success of your mobile site. It's about giving users an experience that looks good, feels good, and nudges them toward doing what you want. With some thoughtful design for your mobile CTAs, you're on your way to happy users, better conversion rates, and a successful mobile platform.

#4 Simplify Forms 

Streamlining the number of form fields is advantageous when users complete forms on mobile devices, as filling them out is more complex than on desktop devices. To enhance user experience, focus on collecting only essential information and explore the use of drop-down menus to simplify the form-filling process on mobile devices. Other ways to simplify forms is by offering check-out options such as PayPal, Apple Pay, Afterpay, Venmo, etc. This variety of payment methods streamlines the purchasing process for customers, increasing the likelihood of completing transactions and improving your chances of making a sale. Adopting this approach reduces the possibility of users getting frustrated and exiting, simultaneously elevating the probability of transforming a visitor into a customer.

Users prefer simplicity and speed; that's why simplicity is favorable in all aspects of a website, not just forms. In an expert guide with Shaun Brandt, Co-Founder at Oddit, who excels in perfecting the customer journey and reducing friction points, various ways to optimize your eCommerce site experience are discussed. Shaun emphasizes the importance of keeping the user journey simple, allowing users to focus on the product.

Do's and Dont's of Simplifying Forms

#5 Prioritize Site Speed 

While it's widely understood that slow websites can be detrimental to search engine optimization, ranking, and user experience, the significance of this realization should not be underestimated. Notably, the speed of your desktop website may differ from your mobile version, as revealed by Google's PageSpeed Insights tool, which serves insights into loading times for both platforms. Site speed is particularly important on mobile devices, as a consumer's connection is more likely to be unreliable than on their computer. According to a study by Deloitte, decreasing mobile site load times by just one-tenth of a second resulted in significant performance gains. Specifically, retail conversion rates increased by 8.4%, underscoring the significance of swift page loading for user engagement. If you want to improve your site speed, check out Nostra and its Edge Delivery Engine™, which utilizes almost 300 edge caching locations to ensure your website emerges as the fastest on the internet. The impact of increased site speed includes improved conversions, increased return on ad spend, and boosts in SEO rankings.

The Benefits of Becoming Mobile-Friendly 

Optimizing your website for mobile devices goes beyond meeting consumer preferences; it brings many business advantages. Apart from gaining a competitive edge over rivals lacking mobile-friendly websites, you've taken a crucial step toward enhancing conversions. Considering that mobile usage constitutes over half of all internet traffic, paying attention to mobile optimization means missing out on valuable customers. To boost conversions with a mobile-friendly design, ensure your site looks and functions seamlessly across all devices.

Moreover, mobile optimization is integral to effective search engine optimization (SEO). Google, the foremost search engine, now recognizes mobile-friendliness as a standalone ranking factor and places more importance on mobile-usability metrics than desktop ones. Nostra offers its Crawler Optimization product for those seeking an additional boost in improving website visibility and securing a prime position in search results.

By embracing a responsive design and cultivating an effortless mobile shopping experience, you attract and retain customers from all generations, fortify your search engine rankings, increase visibility to potential customers, and increase conversion rates. Embracing mobile accessibility is not merely a strategic business move but a necessity in today's dynamic digital landscape.

Faverio, Michelle. “For Shopping, Phones Are Common and Influencers Have Become a Factor – Especially for Young Adults.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 21 Nov. 2022, www.pewresearch.org/short-reads/2022/11/21/for-shopping-phones-are-common-and-influencers-have-become-a-factor-especially-for-young-adults/.

“Mobile Shopping on the Rise: Over 73% of US Shoppers Will Embrace Virtual Cards for Online Purchases in the Future.” Klarna, www.klarna.com/international/press/mobile-shopping-on-the-rise-over-73-of-us-shoppers-will-embrace-virtual-cards-for-online-purchases-in-the-future/. Accessed 13 Nov. 2023.

Milliseconds Make Millions - Deloitte Us, www2.deloitte.com/content/dam/Deloitte/ie/Documents/Consulting/Milliseconds_Make_Millions_report.pdf. Accessed 10 Nov. 2023.

“Stanford Guidelines for Web Credibility.” The Web Credibility Project: Guidelines - Stanford University, credibility.stanford.edu/guidelines/index.html#chi00. Accessed 10 Nov. 2023.

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