When one of our fortune 500 clients asked us how to increase their effectiveness on mobile platforms, our answer surprised them.
The average person looks at his/her smartphone over 150 times per day, totaling over 3 hours of screen time. Thus, as a business owner, it is essential for you to reach potential customers on their devices. To do so effectively, you must optimize your mobile strategy.
There are three core principles every successful mobile site should focus on to satisfy its customers:
Design, Functionality, and SEO
These three criteria form a symbiotic relationship. For instance: if you have great content with slow speed, people will get impatient and go elsewhere. If your site loads quickly but offers no original content, there will be no reason for customers to return. Finally, if you have poor functionality, no one will be able to find your content, no matter how interesting it is.
Your audience is driven by 5 basic content needs. The following “moments” are the reasons customers will visit your site:
- I-want-to-watch moment
- Video content
- I-want-to-know moment
- Factual content
- I-want-to-do moment
- I-want-to-go moment
- Travel information
- Booking information
- I-want-to-buy moment
- Online shopping
This word choice, “moments,” is important. Your audience wants to view the content immediately — you have a very limited time to hook them once they click on your site.
Think about what types of content best suit your business. What will people want to find on your website? Do they need factual information to research your services? Do they need a video demonstration? An online store to purchase your product on the go? It is important to create quality content in a variety of mediums to satisfy your customers.
b. Design, Functionality, and SEO
With over 65% of people using Google, SEO optimization is critical to your site’s success. The best way to direct traffic to your site is to write your content while keeping in mind the questions people are asking about your industry. Search is a proxy for intent — if people are searching for something, it means they need it and your site can help them find the answer.
In addition to keyword-rich content, Google recognizes your site’s overall mobile-friendliness. To rank high in search results you need appropriate font size, a page layout that fits the screen, security (https over http), and downloadable content that works for phones (mobile-optimized PDFs). Improving these factors will not only increase your visibility, it will also improve your audience’s experience. Over 57% of customers say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site.
In our client experience, speed is the most crucial component of a mobile site. People are impatient — after they search for something on a mobile device, they spend only 30 seconds to a minute on it before they jump to something else. The faster your content is delivered to customers, the better their experience. After three seconds of waiting time, over 40% of mobile users will abandon your page. Furthermore, 61% of users said they were unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing, while 40% visited a competitor’s site instead.
Slow loading speed doesn’t just create an inconvenience to customers — it causes a tangible decline in sales. For example, let’s say you’re the owner of an e-commerce site that makes $100,000 in sales per day. Congratulations — but, before you get too excited, double-check your site’s speed. A one second page delay could cost your new business over $2.5 million in annual sales.
So, what is the optimal speed for your site to load? Most customers want their content in 1-2 seconds. But because of the limitations on a 3G Network, the real time for your site delivery is one second.
The following factors can lower your loading speed:
Slow server responses and networking delays
Heavy CSS files
Unoptimized, large images and other static content
Too many requests
Static content that is not cached
You can take these steps to increase your speed:
Leverage your browsing cache
Use compression and resource minification
Optimize size, format and compression of the images
Use CDN to deliver static content
Try to use HTTP/2 when you need many simultaneous connections to the same server
Reduce the server response time
Prioritize “Above the fold” content on your page to be loaded and rendered first.
Concatenate resources and reduce the number of requests (in case you can’t use HTTP/2)
Keep monitoring and checking the performance after each step of the optimization. Compare your results, and keep experimenting. You can use Google Insights, Dev Tools, or WebPageTest.org to check your progress.
With millions of options at their fingertips, your customers don’t have time to wait around for your website to load — they want their content now. Therefore, when developing your mobile strategy, understand that speed is your most valuable ally.