If you haven’t already, it’s time to start thinking about building out mobile optimized websites to capture a slice of one of the world’s fastest growing markets.

The worldwide mobile phone market is churning upward, growing 19.8 percent in the first quarter of 2011 alone, largely on the heels of new technologies and demand in developing countries. In the United States, which has a relatively mature and steady market, 36.4 percent of the 234 million mobile users access the Internet from their phone, according to research firm comScore.

And as technology and capabilities improve these numbers are certain to climb much higher.

So designing websites for mobile conversations is going to be paramount as more people consuming content on their handhelds will increasingly demand mobile websites that are quick and easy to use.

Content is king.

Because mobile website content needs to be prioritized for multi-tasking users ─ the very essence of being mobile suggests other activities are occurring ─ you’ll need to understand how and where information is being processed.

One of the most important factors when designing a mobile website is determining what information to include and exclude.

For starters, consider these four fundamental tasks when prioritizing content for mobile webistes:

  • Design for goal-directed users
  • Easy and fast navigation
  • Let it scroll
  • Calls to action

1. Design for goal-oriented users. Mobile users are less likely to be “surfing” the Internet than when they’re tethered to their PCs. In fact, most  users accessing the Internet from a mobile device need fast access to either information or services.

Content solution: Use website analytics and use an advanced segment for mobile users to see how they have been interacting with desktop features on your site. This will provide insights into the kinds of services they will want to access most on your mobile site.

2. Quick and easy. Slow and steady may often win the race but when it comes to optmitzing websites for mobile, you better be quick and easy. That’s because mobile users are going to be impatient, in a hurry or just plain too distracted to wait around for your webpage to upload.

Content solution: Ditch any extraneous content including advertising, video, pictures and banners – of course,  if they are necessary for a conversion you’ll need to stick with it. And forget using flash. It’s a time-slog.

3. Scrolling through life mobile. Study after study of mobile users show that they scan Web content from top to bottom while scrolling with their thumb to access additional information.

Content solution: Put the most important content up top and at the bottom of the page. Why the top and bottom? Many mobile users will scroll really quickly to the bottom of a page if they don’t find what they need at the top. If you’re deploying buttons the top and bottom are the best places for them.

4. Sign up here. To improve mobile conversions, focus on optimizing calls to action. Web forms can be cumbersome to navigate and difficult to complete on mobile phones. Interesting enough, many mobile users are going to the Internet to get an old fashion phone number to make a call.

Content solution: Make sure to only include necessary fields — when forms are too long visitors may get frustrated and abandon them. Put a phone number in an obvious spot near the top of every page or try a click-to-call feature option.