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Mobile website design is another important step in realizing the dream of every local business; phone ringing off the hook, new customers coming into your store, increasing sales and reaching more and more customers.

Incorporating mobile website design into your marketing plan can be particularly successful for restaurants and other entertainment based local businesses.

Unlike your traditional website, the best mobile website design must successfully accommodate for the facts that mobile designs:

  • Are Displayed On Small Phone Screens
  • Must Content with Intermittent and Slow Internet Connections
  • Viewed While the User Is Mobile

Do You Really Need A Mobile Website Design?

By the end of this article you should at least recognize the importance of having a mobile version of your website available to customers who want to find you on their smartphone. Keep in mind these three realities:

  1. Mobile searchers have different needs
  2. Mobile searchers are limited by the size and functionality of their smartphone
  3. Mobile searchers look for you in unique and different ways

If you don’t have a mobile website do you account for these realities?

Nowadays, you will be hard pressed finding a blog or other information source that doesn’t suggest having a separate mobile version of your website. Read some of the articles out there and then do some investigation on your own to decide whether or not to implement a mobile site.

Mobile Website Design Tips

Log into your Google Analytics and see how many of your visitors are coming from mobile devices. This can give you some clue as to how many visitors you can improve the user experience for.

Another clue is to see if your key competitors have mobile sites. For example, if you are a restaurant in town, are your competitors winning over customers because they have a mobile site and are getting found by mobile searchers?

Finally, pull out your own smartphone and try searching for yourself. Are you finding yourself across different keywords? How does your site look like on your phone? Try not to be biased. If you need to, ask some of your friends to do the same.

How to Focus On Your Mobile Users’ Needs

A fundamental question that should guide all decisions within your company is ‘What does the customer need and want from a site?”

Designing a mobile website is no different. In order for the site to be a success you need to focus on your mobile users’ needs. Some of the most common reasons (“needs”) a mobile user will visit a company’s website from their smartphone is to access discounts, find the closest location, get a phone number or check store hours.

What do you think your users will use your mobile website for? Ask yourself these key questions when you start assessing your users’ needs:

  • What function will they perform on the mobile site?
  • What features are crucial to helping perform this function?
  • What may cause frustration when they complete this function?
  • What devices will they use to access the mobile site?

Remember that mobile users are driven to complete their task quickly and are often multitasking while doing so. This brings a new level of complexity to understanding their needs.

Key Features of Mobile Website Design

The design and features of your mobile website should be a result of your users’ needs identified in the previous section.

Try not to get caught up integrating all the same features of your traditional site but instead focus on making several modifications to accommodate the needs of your mobile users such as:

  • Big Buttons, icons and navigation
  • Simplified content
  • Click to call or click to email options
  • Maps and directions
  • Fewer special effects
  • Minimum user input
  • Smaller page size and less unnecessary code

In a perfect world there are a number of features you probably would like to incorporate into your mobile site. The reality is however, that you have a limited amount of space or real estate on your mobile site to meet your visitor’s needs.

During design phase ask yourself the question with each additional element: What value does this add to the user? Incorporate the highest value elements to the mobile version of your website.

How Will Mobile Users Search For Your Website?

In an article written about mobile search for restaurants Bryson Meunier of Search Engine Land points out that based on search query data, mobile users are searching for different pieces of information then what’s on a desktop website.

In other words, your mobile searchers and desktop searchers are looking for different things:

  1. Desktop users look for coupons, menus, locations, specific names
  2. Mobile searchers look for restaurants and menus without location specific modifiers, along with hours and phone numbers

The differences in search behavior is also evident in the fact that there are nearly four times as many mobile searchers for the term “restaurants near me” than desktop searchers.

Give careful thought and research into optimizing your mobile website to account for the differences in how you will be searched for and found.

The Google keyword tool in Adwords is a great resource for comparing mobile search volume to desktop search volume for specific phrases. Look at phrases that have a higher proportion of mobile to total search volume to discover which phrases mobile users search for more often.

This form of keyword analysis can point out high opportunity keywords to include in your mobile search engine optimization (SEO) plan that may not be in your desktop SEO plan. It goes without saying that if you plan to optimize for a specific keyword your mobile site should have the information to address the intent behind the mobile search query.

Are You Missing Out on Mobile Search?

As mentioned above, most people will say that you can’t afford to miss out by not having a mobile site if you are a local business. Should you decide to integrate a mobile website into your SEO plan, consider that:

Google’s research on smartphone use recently found that 94% of smartphone users will look for local information on their phone and 90% take action as a result.

That’s nearly 96% of searchers who take an action after searching for you. This high potential to convert is the ultimate dream of every web designer, optimizer and business owner!

That’s lots of extra business for your local based business!

For more information on mobile website design, mobile SEO or local search engine optimization in general, we would be pleased to answer any of your questions.

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Carissa Krause

Carissa Krause is currently a marketing and project specialist at 1st on the List. Over the years she has worked with clients on a wide range of projects that include areas like local SEO, backlink profile review, content development, social media, and more. Whatever the project may be Carissa focuses on achieving greater efficiencies and putting plans into action.