It was a little over three years ago when Apple announced the iPad, dubbed a “Magical & Revolutionary Device” but that had many consumers questioning its usage and longevity. However, the iPad is now in its fourth generation, it has spawned a “mini” version, and the market now includes tablets from other manufactures running Android and even Microsoft operating systems, so it seems tablets are here to stay. In fact, research from Pew Internet indicates that of American adults, 26% own an e-reader and 31% own a tablet. Tablets have become so widely used that some zoos are now using iPads to stimulate and entertain orangutans.
So what does the widespread popularity of tablets and other mobile devices mean for your small business’ online marketing? Now that many U.S. consumers are purchasing mobile devices like tablets and smartphones and 84% more Web traffic is coming from those mobile devices compared to a year ago, it only makes sense for you to consider how your Web presence translates to the mobile space. To help you out, here are a few simple steps you can take to see how your business measures up on tablets and smartphones, and some tips for making sure you can optimize your business for the mobile Web.
Grab a smartphone or tablet. Chances are you have one within reach. If not, you can use an online tool to show you how consumers may be experiencing your Web presence on mobile devices.
Open a mobile browser or search engine app and search for your business type. Don’t search explicitly for your business name, but instead imagine how a consumer would search for products and services like yours. When you run the search, note how and where your business shows up in the mobile search results. You can also try searching for your business type in a mobile map app, such as Google Maps or Apple Maps.
Search for your business by name in a mobile search engine. This gives you a better understanding of how your business name ranks on the mobile SERP, and it also helps you identify how consumers see your business when they search via mobile devices. Additional ranking results you should note include your business blog, social media profiles, and local listings. Plus, pay attention to any ratings, reviews, and mentions of your business that all impact your online reputation.
Visit your website from a mobile browser. There’s no better way to understand where you should start optimizing your website for mobile than to actually see how your current website looks on a smartphone or tablet. Browse around your site to see how your visitors might interact with it and pay attention to things that would annoy you if you were a consumer. For example, do you have a mobile-friendly site that displays properly in a mobile browser? Is your phone number available in text on your site so that a mobile browser can detect the phone number and allow the user to click to call directly?
If your website, social pages, and directory listings rank highly in mobile search engine results, you have a glowing online reputation, and your website looks and functions exactly how you want it to, then great! You are above the curve. If not – don’t worry; you aren’t alone – here are some tips you should consider to optimize your Web presence for mobile devices.
Claim and Optimize Your Business on Local Listings
If you conducted mobile searches via Google, you may have noticed that the first results on the mobile SERP are map listings. By claiming and optimizing your Google+ Local page, you can help increase your chances of showing up when local consumers search for your products and services while on the go via mobile search engines and mobile map apps.
Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Two of the most common reasons small businesses don’t have mobile websites are time and money. However, there are a few things you can do to make your website more mobile-friendly that don’t involve a giant team and a small fortune.
Don’t hide your contact information.
When you visited your website on a mobile device, how easily and quickly did you find your contact information, such as your phone number and email address? If it took a little while, or you did not find it at all, consider moving this critical contact information to a prominent area of your website, like the top right of your page.
Ditch heavy graphics that slow down your website.
How long did it take for your site to load on your mobile device? Using many heavy design elements, like large images and Flash animation, can often increase the load time of your site on desktop browsers, so you can expect a long load time on a mobile device.
Design for clear and quick fingertip navigation.
You should lay out the content on your website so that anyone, young or old, can navigate to specific information. Also, keep in mind that mobile visitors use a fingertip to navigate through your website. Make your content easy to find by simplifying and clarifying the menus and options on your website. Avoid creating menus with lots of links that are difficult to click on mobile devices, and make sure the content on your Web pages is concise and easy to read.
Cultivate a Positive Online Reputation
Over 57% of tablet owners use the mobile Web to do research before making a purchase decision. So it’s important to make sure that they find positive information about your small business when they search online. As Google owns the majority of mobile searches, positive Google+ Local reviews are more important now more than ever. So in order to build the best online reputation, ask happy customers to leave you positive reviews, and have a plan to monitor your Web presence.
How did your business rank when it comes to mobile? What other ways are you ensuring that consumers find you while on the go? Let us know in a comment!