Given that mobile apps are all the rage, you may have considered creating one for your business. But think twice: The average smartphone today is clogged with more than 100 apps, according to research firm App Annie. So there’s a good chance yours would be lost in the crowd.

And developing an app can easily run $25,000 or more.

Before considering that major investment, first optimize your business website for mobile visitors. Nearly two-thirds of internet searches in 2018 were done by mobile device, according to research firm BrightEdge. And yet many sites still aren’t easily navigated by smartphone or tablet.

“With the big increase in mobile traffic, it’s imperative for companies to give their audience a user-friendly experience when landing on their mobile site,” says Joey Gelfand, a website developer with Lorraine Gregory Communications in Edgewood, New York.

Websites designed to be viewed on computer screens give mobile users a poor experience. Bloated pages are slow to load through mobile networks, and small screens make it tough to navigate complex designs. But you can fix it. Here are three tips for using responsive design to optimize your business website for mobile devices:


1.  Aim for speed

If a web page takes more than three seconds to load on a typical smartphone, many users will likely give up before reaching your site, Gelfand says. Trim that time by reducing the size and number of images and ruthlessly cutting excess words in copy.

“There are many bells and whistles that companies add to their website that just won’t work on mobile, and in some cases may even break their site on mobile,” he says. “It’s important for companies to swap out these items for mobile-friendly alternatives to ensure the usability of the site.”


2. Focus on user experience

Strive for a clean, uncluttered design that is easily viewed on a smaller screen. Avoid making users zoom in to see anything. Use easily readable type fonts, and restrict the number and variety of fonts.

Above all, your site’s architecture must make it easy for a mobile user to find the information he or she is looking for at the moment, says Steve Mackey, chief creative officer with W2 Communications in McLean, Virginia. For instance, he notes, a person searching from work for a winery to visit next weekend wants different information than someone driving by on a Sunday afternoon. A good mobile website makes appropriate information readily available.


3. Use mobile site-building tools

To mobile-optimize your website, you can use website-building tools such as WordPress, Squarespace and Wix. “Many of these platforms have software built in to help optimize your website for mobile,” Gelfand says.

User testing is an important tool for building a mobile-friendly website. Get several different types of customers and prospects to try your website and report on how well it works. And check on more than one type of phone. The Mobilizer Google Chrome browser extension shows how a website will look on a variety of devices.

Making your website truly mobile-friendly may take time, energy and money—but it’s worth it. “Mobile-optimized websites are not going anywhere,” says Gelfand. “What will become less important is desktop websites in the near future.”

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