Guest Post: The Value of Mobile-Happy Content
We’ve all been there. Something catches our interest. We pick up our smartphone, search Google and eagerly click on a link for more information—only to end up on a non-mobile-optimized site. Halfhearted attempts to pinch and zoom and click tiny links are abandoned quickly, and we move on to the next search result, crossing our fingers for a better user experience. And that’s not just anecdotal—iAcquire and Survey Monkey found that 40% of people will choose another search result if the site isn’t mobile-friendly.
Mobile Internet has officially overtaken desktop Internet. Globally. Crazy, eh? And yet so many companies are still slow to make efforts to accommodate the exponential increases in mobile traffic with mobile-friendly websites and content. Adobe’s 2013 Digital Optimization Survey showed that nearly half of businesses don’t have a mobile-optimized website or app, despite the fact that mobile website traffic across all industries is growing 3.5% per month.
And, while companies are finally starting to see the value in optimized websites, they often forget about their inbound content like videos, e-books and slide presentations. Come on, when was the last time you looked at one of your e-books on a tablet or mobile device? I thought so.
Now that you’re aware, it’s time to do something about it.
Switch to a Mobile-First Strategy
It’s time to stop creating content and then trying to retrofit it for an optimal tablet or mobile experience. A mobile-first strategy means changing your content goals from the get-go to serve the needs of the mobile user FIRST, instead of the other way around. It can be a tough transition to make, but let me throw in this stat, which should help convince you that mobile-first is the way to go: 70% of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour.
This stat comes from the same study I mentioned at the beginning of the post, which found 40% of people will look for a different site if the one they go to isn’t optimized. That’s a whole lot of potential leads to give up just to stick to the status quo.
Tablet, mobile, laptop, desktop—people are likely to use any or all of these devices at various times. So why should your content work for only one or two of them? Mobile is the smallest and more challenging device on which to experience content, so it makes sense that if you want your content to work for everyone on any device, you should consider the mobile implications first when creating and designing that content.
The mistake companies often make is to develop a desktop and a mobile version and think that accomplishes their goal. Often, the mobile site is a hugely-scaled down version of the desktop site that leaves out chunks of content someone decided didn’t need to be included. Author and mobile content strategy expert Karen McGrane shared an example of this in an experience she had trying to search for information about United Airlines’s United Club lounge. She clicked the search link that mentioned the club, but was redirected to the home page of the airline’s mobile site. See, the airline assumed that no one would be looking for that information on the mobile site, and only put it on its main site, which of course, is difficult to navigate on a phone. If a mobile user is forced to go to your (non-optimized) desktop site to find information, you’re doing it wrong.
Your mobile-first strategy should start with the user. What does the user want to do on their mobile or tablet? And how can you create an experience that makes it easy for them to do what they want or find what they need?
Think About How to Create New Content for Mobile
Once you’ve (rightfully) decided on and developed your mobile-first strategy, it’s important to be mindful of how you create content going forward. There are certain things you need to consider:
- Font size—A 10 or 12 pt font may be fine when viewed on a desktop, but as the page shrinks down for a tablet or mobile device, that font gets might hard to read. Stick with 14 pt for text and at least 20 pt for headlines for optimal readability, and make sure your line spacing doesn’t crowd each line of text.
- Make links easy to click—Whether it’s a landing page, article, blog post or email, you’ll probably have some links there that you want to be clicked. On a mobile device, when you have large fingers and very small links, that gets challenging and if you don’t do something about it, you’ll see your conversions drop. This article suggests a clickable area of 40-50 pixels and cautions against placing links next to each other.
- Tighten up your headlines—Relevant, attention-grabbing headlines are always important when it comes to content. But it’s doubly so for mobile. Keep your headlines relatively short, and make the “what’s in it for me” clear from the outset.
- Write your content for mobile—Those reading your articles or blog posts on their mobile will pretty much only see a paragraph or two at a time, so really make those count. Write content that’s grabby, but also clearly sets up the point of the article so they know if they want to keep reading.
- Incorporate more video—Online videos account for around 50% of all mobile traffic, and it’s easily formattable for mobile and tablet use. When considering your next blog post or e-book, think about doing a video instead, like recorded webinars or interviews with others within your organization.
- Use mobile-friendly apps or services—Skip the Power Point presentations and put your slides on something like SlideShare to increase accessibility (and shareability).
Don’t Throw Away Your Existing Content
Your existing content is still valuable—it just needs to work for your new mobile-first strategy. Look at your data and start with your most popular and effective pieces of content. Develop a plan to transition that content to mobile-friendly versions using some of the suggestions above. Don’t forget your landing pages as well. You can create optimized templates with set rules and apply them to existing pages, but be sure to check them for formatting errors or inconsistencies.
That brings me to another point—forms. Inbound marketing 101 says to only collect the information you need from leads in exchange for providing them with the requested content. This is even more important for mobile users. Who wants to finger-scroll and -type their way through a 12-question form just to get an e-book or a special offer?
Most important, test your content on various devices to ensure a consistent display and user experience. Once you verify what your leads are really seeing and using, you’ll understand exactly what changes to make for powerful and simple mobile content.
Guest Blogger: Justin Gray, CEO of LeadMD
Justin Gray is the CEO and Chief Marketing Evangelist for LeadMD, a Marketing Automation Company which he founded in 2009.