GoMo: Learn about mobile-friendly sites from Dennis Mink, DudaMobile CMO

Friday, February 24, 2012 | 9:36 AM

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Are you looking for a way to bring your business site to new heights?  Have you considered how users see your site on their mobile devices?  As we approach the end of the first quarter, we teamed up with DudaMobile’s Chief Marketing Officer, Dennis Mink, to learn more about the why and how of optimizing your site for mobile devices.  DudaMobile is a mobile website creation platform that makes it easy to turn existing websites into mobile-friendly sites.  Read the interview below and download the full whitepaper here.     

Google: First things first.  What exactly does optimizing your site for mobile devices mean?

Dennis: Take a look at your desktop and smartphone screens next to one another.  The desktop is a whole lot bigger than the smartphone, right?  Optimizing your site means that you’re simplifying it, keeping it clean and making sure it is clear what action you want visitors to take when they visit.  A mobile-friendly site is focused on speed, because the on-the-go user wants your site to load as quickly as possible.  To improve speed, you remove content like images, sticking to one or two images per page, and any other data-heavy or flash content.  You also add mobile-specific features like clickable call and map buttons.

Google: We’ve probably all stumbled across bad sites while on our smartphones.  The pinching and zooming can be infuriating!  Just how much of a business threat is having a poor quality mobile site?

Dennis: If you take a look at the research that Compuware released, 19% of mobile users will form a negative overall perception of a company if they are dissatisfied with the mobile experience.  In fact, nearly 2 in 3 users are unlikely to return to a mobile site with which they had trouble and 40% of consumers said they’d visit a competitor’s mobile site instead. Optimizing your site for mobile devices is an absolute must.

Google: And on the flipside, how much of a benefit is it for business owners to invest in optimizing their sites for mobile?

Dennis: Brand Anywhere and Luth released that 51% of consumers are more likely to purchase from retailers that have a mobile-friendly website.  Also, to give some context as to how significant this issue is, Compuware released that 74% of mobile phone users will wait 5 seconds or less for a page to load and 77% of top companies’ mobile sites take more than 5 seconds to load.  Right now we’re watching business owners catch up to user expectations.

Google: What are the most effective mobile-specific features to update your site with when optimizing for mobile?

Dennis: Click-to-call and click-to-map. These are powerful features that allow users to call a business or view a business’ location on a map with one tap of a finger.

Google: What sort of businesses will benefit the most from these features?  

Dennis: In Q4 2011 we did a sampling of 500 different businesses and looked to see what percentage of users were calling the businesses or going to the business.  We analyzed how consumers responded to different categories of local business sites.  We found that 1 in 5 visits to a local business mobile site result in an immediate call to the business.  Looking more closely, 44% of the times users visited transportation companies’ sites, like taxi and car services, were through the company’s click to call feature.  Here’s how other local businesses compare:
DudaMobile Internal Data Q4 2011

So what does all this data mean?  Basically, more and more people are contacting companies through a site’s click-to-call feature.  More calls into businesses means more clients, and more sales.

Google: So let’s say I’m a small business owner with a very limited budget.  I want to optimize my site for mobile, but may not be able to afford the full-charged mobile update my developer is quoting.  What’s the most important advice for a small business owner considering building a mobile-friendly site?

Dennis: Think speed, size and buttons.  

First, with speed, put the most important content at the top, remove unnecessary text and compress images.  Make it easy to convert by guiding the user closer to purchasing with simplified forms and click-to-call options.  Make it local and include an address, map and option to search for nearby locations.  

Second, for size, say no to left-right scrolling and more than 7 links per page.  Say yes to menus, back/forward buttons and a clear search bar.  Compare the desktop and mobile versions of your site side-by-side.  A user can return to where they left off on a desktop and they’ll want to be able to do that on a mobile device too.  Tell your developer to include a redirect code on your mobile site so that a user is prompted to choose between the mobile or desktop versions.  

Third, with buttons, be thumb-friendly.  Make buttons and check-boxes large because thumbs come in all sizes.  

Finally, listen to your users.  Use data from user surveys and web analytics to improve your site performance over the long run.  

Google: What trends are you seeing for mobile sites in 2012?  

Dennis: When I think of this next year, I think, “hold on”.  We expect it to be a crazy year of growth.  From our side we are projecting to triple the number of sites optimized for mobile by DudaMobile (http://www.DudaMobile.com/) by the end of 2012.  

The writing is on the wall.  Small business owners, it’s time to take your site to new heights and make your site mobile-friendly.  

To read more, download the full whitepaper here.  To learn more about why mobile matters, test how your site looks on mobile and receive a free personalized report, visit GoMo.

Posted by: Suzanne Mumford, Google Mobile Ads Marketing and Jessica Sapick, Google Small Business Strategy