Going Mobile: How Content Creators Can Keep Up

The glory days of desktops and centralized Internet are over. Mobile devices have taken over.

Smartphone access is booming around the world. Google predicted that this year one billion people will be using mobile devices to access the Internet and tablets will secure their spot as the fourth screen.

The number of smartphone users in the United States between March and June of 2012 jumped by 4 percent, reported ComScore. In 2011, 12 percent of internet users in America owned tablets, and in 2012, it more than doubled to 31 percent, said a survey by Online Publisher’s Association.

Web content needs to be adapt. It should be mobile friendly and encourage smartphone and tablet users to access it even when they’re on the go.

Design a Functional Website

Chances are that most businesses’ websites aren’t optimized for mobile. That’s a problem. “What happens when readers feel cramped or have to work hard to navigate your site or read your content?” writes Shane Ketterman of CopyBlogger. “They leave.”

Ketterman suggests only using (X)HTML/CSS web designs, and staying away from Flash and Javascript. He also says that mobile plugins can be installed to make sites more accessible, but visitors should be given an option to view the standard site as well.

The design of the site is key: It should be simple, flow well, and provide “readers clear and distinct ways to get to your most important content.”

Thanks to Google, businesses can check how functional their mobile sites are by signing onto Go Mo. The test asks questions regarding images, readability, and search functionality, among others.

SmallBizTrend’s Susan Payton says Google statistics have found that 60 percent of users expect a mobile site to load in under three seconds.

“More than half of users wouldn’t recommend a business with a bad mobile site,” she says. “So even if you don’t think you need a mobile version of your site, you could, in fact, be losing customers without one.”

Develop Apps

Between 2007, when the iPhone was first released, and June, users had downloaded 30 billion apps from Apple’s store, which contains over 650,000 apps, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Google Play on Android phones has seen more than 15 billion downloads in its store of 500,000 apps. Statistics from mobile analytics company Localytics reported that “31% of mobile users opened up their apps at least 11 times or more over a nine-month period, up from 26% a year ago.”

With more than 1.15 million apps on the market, it’s clear that consumers are craving them. In addition, a 2011 study from Flurry found that consumers spend 81 minutes every day on mobile apps and 74 minutes browsing the web.

Businesses that want to make their apps stand out should make sure they have a decent design.

“Especially in the case of free apps, there is a huge amount of churn – if the app doesn’t look as good as a rival app and navigation isn’t fluid, the chances are the user won’t even bother getting to learn about what it can do,” says The Next Web’s Matt Brian.

He also writes that developers should be open to updating and revising apps to make them better, and adapt them to their target audience’s needs.

Focus on Email

Companies that want to emphasize mobile usage should focus on strengthening email content. On mobile devices, reports Nielen, users are spending two out of every five minutes reading emails. It is the activity practiced the most on mobile.

According to Light Span Digital, emails should contain HTML, not images, since “Most email readers, including mobile email readers, won’t automatically load images, and most smart phones won’t automatically resize images.”

Call to action links embedded within emails should be big enough to be clickable by people are using their fingers. Text also needs to be large enough to be seen, and images, if they must be used, shouldn’t be too big.

As mobile usage grows, businesses must adapt their content to follow suit.

Image courtesy of Cienpies Design/shutterstockmama_mia/shutterstock

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