smb-tech-trendsIf you don’t have a website optimized for mobile for your small business, you may be losing out to the competition.  Along with the growing penetration of smartphones (up to 64 percent in the US) and tablets is consumer reliance on mobile devices to conduct their day-to-day activities.  Google reports that 94 percent of smartphone users search for local information on their phones and 84 percent take action as a result – either make a purchase or contact the business.

With so many customers and prospects now coming to you from their mobile devices, you want to be sure they stick around long enough to find the information they need and engage. Sites developed for PCs are generally not adequate for smaller screens – pages may not load properly, for example. Frustrated users – 61 percent – will go elsewhere if they can’t find what they are looking for right away on a mobile site, according to Google.

To make sure your small business customers get the most from your mobile website, avoid the following common mistakes as you create your new sites:

Different look and feel: Your mobile website should have the same look and feel as your site for PCs to support your brand identify.  Keep the navigation, colors and images as consistent as possible between the two versions. If there are sections of your traditional site that don’t transfer easily to mobile, let your visitors know so they don’t waste time searching.

Content heavy:  Mobile viewers want fast access to information. Lots of content means lots of scrolling and slow-loading pages. Stick to the basic information you want to convey to make pages more readable. Single column content is best for mobile devices; two is max. Also having more pages with less content is preferable to having lots of content-heavy pages.

Hidden phone number:  Save your customers time by making your small business phone number on your home page. For starters, some browsers enable tablet and smartphoneusers to tap on a phone number to initiate a call.  Even when that’s not the case, users don’t want to spend a lot of time searching through pages to find your number, especially if they are calling on the go.

Complicated navigation: This applies not only to your mobile site but your traditional site as well. Econsultancy recommends several ways to improve navigation on your mobile site.  Among the recommendations, limit both the number of clicks it takes for users to get to the information they want. Put the navigation button on the top of the page – nowadays this is represented on mobile devices by three lines – and limit the number of menu options per page. Also display the search tool prominently on a page.

Image overload: One large image or even too many small ones can delay page loading time. Also if the image is large, the user has to scroll to view the complete image. It’s better to use short and simple text to convey the information in lieu of large or high resolution images.

Failing to test site:  Whenever you make a change to your mobile site, test to be sure everything works on different browsers so you users won’t have viewing issues.

Don’t lose mobile visitors because an experience on your site falls short. Make sure your mobile site is easy to use and stands out from the competition.