I remember way back in ancient times (shortly before the turn of the 21st century) when a computer was a huge box that had to sit on a desk. Jump ahead 17+ years, when most of us carry around our whole life (business appointments, phone numbers, shopping sites, bank accounts, kid’s schedules, and much more) in one smartphone that fits in our pocket, is handheld, and goes wherever we go.
The result: a responsive website isn’t enough anymore, especially since “more than half of digital content is consumed on mobile devices,” with mobile-only users growing steadily. Your website’s mobile content must be friendly—optimized for smartphones and tablets—including text, images, forms, videos, slideshows, in fact all content.
First, look at the structure
Web rules don’t always apply to mobile content, because people read mobile sites differently. Instead of the F-shaped reading pattern on desktops, mobile reading is more distributed, so there is no reason to focus on the upper left corner.
With mobile content, go for the bite, snack, and meal writing technique, to appeal to all types of mobile readers.
- The Bite—So the headline grabs readers, enticing them to read your content. Keep headlines short (usually 6 words or less), so they don’t truncate on mobile.
- The Snack—This is your summary or gist, that tells readers what the content is about.
- The Meal—Your full content (or post).
With the small screen, the challenge of reading huge amounts of text can scare readers away. So, many marketers recommend making mobile content more “snackable”…in digestible, interesting, snappy chunks (using shorter paragraphs, bullets, numbered lists, and the like).
Dump weak words
Unless you need them, eliminate such useless words as:
- Be-verbs, like is, was, were, will be, am, are
- ly-words and other uninspiring, dull adverbs
- Empty intensifiers, like very, such, or so
And be sure to edit, edit, edit! (Check out our post on editing for useful tips.)
Use small words
Getting read on mobile is all about keeping it simple. One authority says that, “Remember the lesser and simpler words you use, the smoother the reading experience will get.” Simply click here to find simple word suggestions or use the Hemingway App.
Just don’t add flab. Find shorter, easier alternatives. For example, change obtain or acquire to get…or leverage to use.
Have mobile-specific calls to action
Catch your mobile users’ attention fast, as we mentioned in a previous Solamar post. One of the best ways to do this is positioning sales and special offers first. Including an opt-in that allows your users to receive alerts when you have new offers can help boost your response rates even further. A bonus tip: If you’re going to use QR (quick-response) codes in your ads, make sure people can actual scan them (like not on a moving bus, on a billboard, or in an elevator where there’s no wireless signal). Don’t forget to include a specific call to action as well as a QR code, like “Scan for free information.”
You have to be extremely careful with pop-ups on mobile. Many cheap pop-up tools and plugins look fine on desktop screens but completely ruin the user experience on mobile devices. They’re often difficult to close, and sometimes you can’t even close them. Therefore, you should get rid of them, simplify them, or only use pop-ups when a visitor clicks on a link or call to action. Keep in mind that starting in January 2017, Google’s algorithm is penalizing ranking for many kinds of pop-ups (or interstitials), as explained in posts from here at Solamar and from Hubspot.
Avoid Google penalties
Consider this: Google includes mobile-friendliness in its ranking algorithm. You MUST be mobile-friendly or your site will be penalized by Google in your SEO ranking. This Google feature basically looks at your site and tries to determine if it’s mobile friendly or not. If not, then it will drop your site down in the rankings below other mobile-friendly sites. This means being mobile-friendly isn’t just a nice-to-have…it’s a must-have.
If you want to optimize your content for mobile users, give a shout out to the mobile-friendly mavens at Solamar!