In a world saturated with smartphones, mobile websites are becoming increasingly important. As companies take on the task of creating mobile versions of their websites, they face a number of decisions. The most obvious one is how the mobile website should look. While it’s important to focus on the design, content is equally important and perhaps more difficult.
Due to their very nature, mobile websites need a separate content strategy. When was the last time you downloaded and read a white paper on your phone? Even if you frequently download content on your desktop, you’ve probably never (or rarely) done it on your mobile device. Mobile browsing tends to be much more focused and results-oriented. Here are some of questions you should answer as you’re thinking through your mobile website content strategy.
What are your visitors there for? If someone is visiting your website on a mobile device, chances are they’re looking for a specific piece of information. It’s your job to figure out what that information is and how best to get it to them. If you’re a restaurant or retail store, it’s easy. People want to know your location(s), your hours of operation, and what kind of food or products you offer.
What about B2B mobile websites? That’s more difficult to answer, especially since B2B can encompass anything from lawyers to IT consultants to office furniture providers. A good place to start is what restaurants put on their mobile websites: location(s), hours of operation and product/service offerings. The trick is to keep the content short and to the point without skimping on important information. Here are a few tips:
- Get to the point. Make sure your mobile home page shows the information people need. This includes your company name and maybe a brief summary of what you do.
- Make it easy to navigate. While this is more related to design, make sure it’s easy for visitors to find the content they want on your mobile website. In other words, when it comes to mobile design, buttons are better than text links.
- Don’t drill down. While your full website should be content-rich, your mobile website shouldn’t be packed with information your visitors must wade through. By all means, include your Services page; you may want to consider, however, not including the Services subpages. Instead, provide a list of your services and prompt visitors to either contact you or visit the full website to learn more.
- Summarize. While you may want to include your blog on your mobile website (to build credibility), don’t expect people to read it. Your full website may display 15 of your most recent blog posts. Your mobile website, however, should have no more than 5-10 of the most recent posts displayed. Instead of showing the entire blog post, display a one-paragraph summary of each post to save on space. Include a “read more” link at the end of each summary, in case someone is interested in delving deeper.
- Think about your target market. Mobile e-commerce is a growing trend. It can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon to position yourself as a cutting-edge company. It’s important to consider your target market before rushing into a trend like this. Many B2B purchasers will never buy anything on a mobile device. You need to consider this before investing in a mobile e-commerce solution.
- Trim content. If long paragraphs are overwhelming on a 15-inch computer screen, think how much worse they are on a 3- or 4-inch phone! First, shorten your content. Mobile visitors don’t need three paragraphs of your company’s history; they just want to know what you do and how you can provide value to them. After you’ve shortened your content, break it up. Keep paragraphs short. You definitely want your paragraphs to contain less than 100 words.
- Include calls to action. Mobile website browsing can be disjointed, separate from a person’s normal browsing routine. For that reason, you want to include calls to action prompting visitors to further interact with your company. Giving visitors the option to email (or text) the page to themselves or someone else is a good option. You can also add a form that allows visitors to sign up for your email newsletter.
Should I have an app? While this is a little off topic, it’s good to have an understanding of the difference between a mobile app and a mobile website. An app typically has one, focused purpose. For example, Westfield Shopping Malls offers and app that provides maps for each of its malls. This is more useful than a website because it’s focused on solving a specific problem—how do I find the food court? There’s also the matter of frequency. If your app solves a specific problem, but I will only use it once, then I don’t need an app. Westfield’s app makes sense because many people frequent malls. If a B2B firm such as Cisco released an app showing you map of each of the location of each of its departments, would you download? Probably not, unless you worked there.
Even though a mobile website has less content that a full website, it takes just as much planning. A mobile website with a well-thought out content strategy will yield better results than one that is quickly thrown together. A solid mobile site also enhances your company’s brand, positioning it as a thought leader in your industry.