5 ways to prepare your website for ‘mobilegeddon’

Google is updating its algorithm Tuesday to favor sites that are optimized for mobile. Try these techniques to ensure that you’re ready.

Most brand managers understand that no matter what industry we serve, it’s important to be mobile-friendly. After all, consumers spend nearly 60 percent of their time on the Internet on mobile devices.

On April 21, Google’s new algorithm update, designed to provide a better search experience for mobile users, will move mobile optimization from nicety to necessity. In short, if your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you can expect your search engine rankings, and ultimately your Web traffic, to take a hit.

If you aren’t quite ready for “mobilegeddon,” don’t panic. Here are five quick tips to help you fix your most egregious mobile mistakes and prepare for the switch.

1. Create a specific and well-placed call to action button. Mobile users who find your business online have a conversion rate nearly three times higher than those who use a desktop or laptop. Around 70 percent of mobile searches lead to online action within an hour. To make this magic happen, users need a clear, easy-to-find, and easy-to-use call to action button.

With that in mind, pay a little extra attention to this element. Change the color to an attention-grabbing hue or add some subtle animation.

Also, tweak your button copy to better communicate why users should tap it. Be specific. Adding just one word after the word “submit” can boost conversion rates by as much as 320 percent.

Finally, put some thought into placement. Position your signup form at the top of your landing page, alongside your compelling content. This strategy will deliver maximum views to your form without requiring page visitors to scroll all the way down to the bottom.

Last but not least, make sure all your buttons are large enough to be easily tapped from a mobile device.

2. Embrace ‘Social Autofill.’

Many citizens of the Web struggle to remember the slew of logins and passwords required to function in 2015. Social Autofill has unparalleled potential to improve the consumer experience. Not only does it reduce your customers’ time on site – it’s a sanity saver, too. 64 percent of users who frequently leave sites due to forgotten login information say social login is an option companies should offer.

Our data shows conversion rates can increase up to 189 percent when form users take advantage of Social Autofill features.

3. Pare down the content on your mobile site.

On mobile, less truly is more. According to one study, 57 percent of users would not recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site. The temptation to include too much content on a mobile site can result in a clunky design that is difficult to navigate and frustrating to use.

The amount of space available for content on a mobile device is often significantly smaller than the space available on a desktop browser. The screens are smaller, it’s harder to scroll, and it’s impossible on many devices to scroll horizontally.

With this in mind, make sure your most important content displays in the top few pixels of the page, and reduce your viewers’ need to scroll whenever possible.

4. Make sure Web forms are mobile-friendly, too.

When you’re refining your website, don’t forget about on-site resources such as forms. They’re a critical part of your online real estate, so make sure they are as mobile friendly as the rest of your site. Form length is especially critical when optimizing for mobile. The 2015 Form Conversion Report found that the average survey now contains 22 fields. Unfortunately, 22 fields might feel daunting to a consumer completing your form on a mobile device. If your site contains a field-heavy form that just can’t be shortened, try building a smart form that automatically shows or hides questions based on how users respond or consider using a horizontal layout for checkboxes and buttons to create an illusion the form is shorter.

5. Be ready for all mobile devices. Don’t forget that there’s more than one kind of mobile device out there. Gartner projects ultramobiles, which include tablets, hybrids, and clamshells, will take over as the main driver of growth in the devices market, with a growth rate of 54 percent. Make sure your mobile site looks as good on tablets of all sizes as it does on the traditional smart phone screen.

If you take the time to implement one or more of these quick and dirty tips, your website be better armed for “mobilegeddon.” Your efforts will pay off, too: Mobile-optimized redesigns result in a nearly 15 percent increase in unique clicks.

Chris Lucas is vice president of marketing for Formstack. He is passionate about setting the vision for Formstack’s marketing and sales departments, as well as discovering new ways to drive web traffic and leads. Follow Chris on Twitter at @chris_c_lucas.

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