So, you’ve seen the big fuss being made about mobile site development and you have decided to learn more about it.
Good. That places you in a very small minority of humans on this planet.
You have gotten past a huge anchor, i,e., the rationalizing that if most mobile phone users can view my traditional website on their smartphones, then why do I need a mobile site?
See client’s site before and after going mobile below. You’re welcome to visit the actual websites by tapping graphic on your Smartphone or if viewing this site on a desktop or laptop, click the graphic.
Incidentally, here are the #1 and the #2 reasons mobile surfers list for site abandonment:
- Slow download speeds
- Difficulty of navigation
These are both inherent problems when viewing graphic-heavy, content-laden traditional sites on the mobile web.
Congratulations to you. You’ve figured out something that seems to make no sense to so many business owners who are literally spoiled by their Flash-generated memory hogging traditional sites.
As with any other content development, there are some steps that must be followed. Basic planning dictates that some sort of storyboard should be allowed for. On that board should be two critical elements, 1. Site Requirements and 2. Mobile Search Engine Optimization Requirements.
Let’s proceed into those two areas now.
Mobile Site Requirements
Your attention should first be drawn to compliance. If your site is difficult for Google and other search engines to navigate, why would they show it in their results pages to their clients?
5 Must Haves For Mobile Websites
- Make an XHTML compliant website
- No FRAMES. Trust us, this creates many problems
- Make a mobile sitemap as well as a sitemap for your traditional website. Search engines need to know which is which
- Some developers say make links three deep, we say two. The attention span of a mobile surfer is less than that of a 2-year old. (Remember, the #2 reason for abandonment?)
- Don’t forget to use external CSS style sheets to speed up your download speeds (The #1 reason for abandonment above).
What About Mobile Search Engine Optimization?
Search Optimization is no different for mobile than it is for traditional websites. Granted. there are a few variations, but the overall techniques still apply.
Traditional SEO Principles
These include the formatting of title tags, meta descriptions and your content. Adding a few meta keywords cannot hurt, but make sure that they are of the “mobile” variety.
You DO want Google to realize that the site is mobile-optimized, don’t you? Ensure that you include these types of keywords in your title tags and descriptions.
SEO variations For Mobile Web Development
Google has made it quite clear that they are a “Mobile First” company. As such, they have developed their search platform to seek out mobile and local sites before traditional sites. The only way their bots can tell the difference is through you. You tell them what your site is designed for.
First, create a mobile sitemap just for your mobile pages, separate from your other sitemaps.
Hint: You should add this sitemap through your Google Account Webmaster Tools.
Secondly, use rel=”canonical” with your mobile sitemaps and any product pages, always. This ensures that the search engines, especially Google, make your homepage the most important link.
Third, follow the design guidelines recommended by Google themselves. You can’t go wrong doing this. The first mistake many site developers make is to assume that their visitors are on faster data connections. Don’t you do this.
4G speeds will be released in 2011 at an unknown (to us) date. Smartphones will really take a leap at that time. Until then, most of your visitors will be arriving at your site on connections that are the equivalent of 28.8kbps dial-up. Remember those? Download speeds that almost made you give up on the Internet?
Fourth, claim your local business listing. Search and find all the local directories that you can submit your site to, then, submit it. This may take a bit of work, but the payoff is well worth it. Your business will make it to the Search Engines Results Pages.
Have BusinessByMouse.com™ Do It For You
One of the services we provide is Mobile Site Development. We follow our own advice during the process. We also do extras that would have made this article into a booklet if we had included them. Learn more here, Your Mobile Presence.