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Optimizing for SmartPhones: Why Poorly Optimized Sites Will Drive Away Customers

Web Development

Optimizing for SmartPhones: Why Poorly Optimized Sites Will Drive Away Customers

Winning on the Internet is a little bit like winning a professional race. Even a fraction of a second in speed makes all the difference between who goes home a winner and who comes in second. As the Internet becomes more and more flooded with content and businesses, this becomes more and more true.

Whether you run an affiliate marketing site or sell products online, you face the competition of thousands of online businesses competing for the same customer base. Even if your site is only a little more annoying to view, the customer will quickly exit and look for something that loads faster or is more user-friendly. That’s one more customer who won’t click on your ads or buy your products.

Given that almost half of the Internet browsing occurs on smartphones, you need to make your site as attractive, manageable and easy as possible to view on a mobile device. A site that loads too slowly on an iPhone will quickly be ignored for a better-optimized peer.

Gone are the days of browsing on large screens. Today’s consumers want to be able to do as much online business as possible while on the bus, in transit, in class or browsing under the desk at work.

All online businesses depend on traffic. Failing to make your site pleasing and accessible to devices that transmit a large portion of traffic will lose you money on ROI, PPC, search engine ranking and product sales.

If you run a content-based site, take a look at how it appears on a smartphone. Is the text tiny? Do you have to pinch and pan in order to read anything? People are coming to your site for information, yet if you can’t deliver, it takes them only a second to leave.

For content-based sites, a good quick fix is to use a CMS theme that expands and contracts according to the screen width. WordPress has several themes that are ideal for reading on smartphones. The “Twenty-Eleven” theme, for example, adapts nicely to mobile devices and is easy to customize.

Another good quick fix is to alter your website’s page width to 100% (or 90%) in the CSS, instead of entering a pixel count. This will make the webpage adjust according to the screen width, making it readable on a smartphone held vertically or horizontally.

Ideally, you should put some more resources into programming to make your website smoother and load faster on mobile devices. You may even make an alternate version of the site that a mobile device will be redirected to.

When competing in the Internet market, you need to make your website as accessible, helpful and user-friendly as possible. With more traffic coming from mobile devices than ever before, you would be wise to capture this traffic by optimizing your site for smartphones.

Photo by Maurizio Pesce