Optimizing Your Site’s Content for Mobile Use

More and More People are Using their Cell Phone to View Content on the Web
The Pew Research Center indicates that almost 50% of cell phone users, aged 18 to 29, regularly browse the Internet with a mobile device. The report also revealed that almost 90% of adults in the U.S. own a cell phone and over half of those users use it for browsing online. Of that amount, about 30% of the respondents prefer to use the technology over larger-screened devices, such as laptops and desktops.

Cell Phone Readers Have a Longer Attention Span
Given those statistics, you can’t blithely assume that most of your audience is perusing your text or images on a laptop or desktop. Therefore, you must tailor your content so it can easily be read or viewed on a small screen device. That means writing sentences that are succinct and to the point. However, you don’t necessarily have to limit the word count. Research shows that cell phone users generally finish what they read and are more likely to scroll down the page than laptop or desktop users.

A Way to Stay Occupied
Part of the reason cell phone users have a longer attention span is because they use their phone to keep them occupied. Therefore, optimizing content with attention-grabbing headlines and interesting bullet points will certainly give users of mobile devices the impetus to return to your site. Include other engaging content, such as surveys, polls, or interesting anecdotes to add sparkle to the writing. Pew Research data shows that just over 40% of smartphone users use their cell phone to keep from being bored.

Holding Your Reader’s Interest: Keep them Engaged
The best way to optimize content on a cell phone then is to provide content that encourages interaction and participation on your site. You shouldn’t keyword stuff of course and keep the videos or pictures to a minimum. Unlike the pictures you use for bigger displays, the videos or photos you use for mobile devices need to feature close-ups or medium-sized shots to accommodate the smaller screen.

Driving Traffic to Your Business Locally
Don’t even think about optimizing your content in the same way you do for the “big” screen. Laptops and desktops are designed for streaming videos and producing link-building media. So, tailor the content on a small screen to fit the interests of your local readership.
For example, you might call your local readers’ attention to a current sale or direct them to your site’s coupon page. Invite them to drop in and use the discounts in your store or restaurant. Or, optimize content by discussing the features of the products or services you represent. Using this approach is a great way to drive traffic to your storefront or business locally.

Invite Your Readers to Participate in Business-related Events or Activities
The key to optimizing content on the small screen is to engage and involve your readers so they visit your business or retail location locally or become an active participant on your site. Make use of discount coupons, notifications, polls, surveys, and social media to keep your customer base continually updated, informed, and apprised.

Adapting Content to a Mobile Page
However, that all being said, you still have to make sure your web site is designed for easy navigation. Not all the content or news that is seen on a PC can be easily adapted to a mobile screen size. After all, each pixel counts when the content is squeezed inside a smaller display. Therefore, you need to edit or do away with low-priority material.

Make Navigation Simple and Fast
Only add content that is seen in the main part of a larger-sized web page. Literally condense the text and present it so it is easily scanned. A layout featuring a single column works out well in this respect. Make sure the page scrolls down versus across. You might also think about placing the navigation at the top of the page via a dropdown link or including it on the bottom. That way readers can focus on the content and see more of it as well.

Adapt the Content to the Screen Size and to Those You Want to Reach
Whether you’re a fledgling company or a well-established organization, you can make good use of your website on either a small or large screen. Just make sure the application you use meets with the requirements of your readership as well as your own goals with respect to traffic generation and increasing revenue.

What Changes Would You Like to See on the Small Screen?
Think about your own cell phone use. How do you primarily use your phone? What percentage of the time do you spend texting messages, playing online games, talking on the phone, or scanning websites? What changes would you like to see in the content produced for mobile use? Share your suggestions or thoughts with us.

References/Links:
http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Cell-Internet-Use-2012.aspx
http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2011/Cell-Phones.aspx