Website design, social media, even google analytics, the list of IT-related stuff you need to know as a business owner these days is endless, and for those who aren’t natural computer nerds – it can be overwhelming.
Without making the most of what the internet has to offer, you can’t hope to accelerate and grow your business today.
If your existing and future consumers are on the other side of the riverbank from you, then the digital world and all it entails make up the bridge that will get you over to them.
More consumers are using mobile devices
Across the UK and the US, more people are taking to the internet to browse and buy goods and services, and even more of them are using mobile devices to do it. Moreover, they are consuming up to two times as much content as desktop based users in the process.
So what does all this mean for small-to-medium companies trying to accelerate and grow? Well, unsurprisingly, the first obvious point to remember is that the internet is king. However, getting their websites mobile friendly for these internet users is even more important.
There are things you can do to improve your mobile site usability that are low-cost and even free, and doing so can boost your levels of engagement, and sales performance. We hear from google’s head of marketing, Raja Saggi, to find out more…
Improve your mobile site speed
Saggi says you must try and get it to under 3 seconds.
“This is the most important way you can drive revenue to your mobile site. If people have to wait more than 3 seconds you can lose up to 40% of your audience.”
Greater speed = greater trust
If you’re waiting around for someone’s site to load, it doesn’t engender much trust, says Saggi.
You must put yourself in your users’ shoes, and consider what they might be feeling.
If a site is speedy, as a user, you’re bound to think that the company in question is more reliable, professional and trustworthy.
If, on the other hand, they’re waiting in vain to access a slowly loading site, or one that fails completely, they’re less likely to buy your goods or services.
Test your site
To start, he suggests going for ‘test my site‘, an online tool where you simply enter your site URL and see what’s up with your loading speed.
“What sets startups apart from bigger companies is that they are very good at testing and learning.”
Once you understand what’s going on, you can start trying to make some changes, and central to this is seeing your mobile website as a constant “work in progress” says Saggi.
Your site will never be perfect. You must be open to constantly make changes to suit the preferences of your audience, and these preferences change over time.
What content to include
Saggi says you should keep your site menus short and sweet. A priority in terms of mobile content is your company’s value proposition, says Saggi.
Tell your customers WHY they should be on your site. This is where the magic ‘3 seconds’ comes in, as this is the average time a visitor will usually take to decide whether they want to stay on your site or not.
Reduce customer anxiety
Why should you ensure your existing customers, and new ones, have a pleasant and enjoyable experience on your site? Because if they do, they’re more likely to buy from you.
Saggi says you must communicate your company slogan right from the landing page. Make it clear what your service is and how you offer it to your customers here. This will mean the user doesn’t have to spend minutes and minutes trying to decipher what it is you do, as chances are, they’ll go elsewhere.
If you’re in the finance sector…
For businesses operating in the finance sector, Saggi says it’s even more important that you have your company mission up front and centre on your landing page.
Saggi says these businesses must communicate things such as the benefits users will experience in choosing their service. Talk about saving time and money, and even the impactful contribution your company makes in the outside world including charitable works.
However, he says to steer clear from features on this part of the site, and avoid putting screenshots there.
Remember that a mobile site is a VERSION of your desktop site. It must be tailored down to fit a mobile screen in order to optimise the remote viewing experience.
“If you have say, 3-4 pieces of information on your desktop landing page, cut it down to 2 for a mobile site. You must be selective and avoid cramming too much in”.
As people are consuming digital content even more quickly on mobiles than they are on desktops, the information they are accessing should reflect that quick-access nature.
“25% of users would fill in a form from a mobile device rather than from a desktop. But if you reduce the fields required, you could get another 15% who would.”
Follow the customer journey
Put yourself in your user’s shoes. Saggi says you can use arrows on your mobile site to guide people around and ensure they read the information you want them to.
“Arrows are good even if they’re not clickable, as it drives people’s attention and their eyes follow.”
You can include bright colours, such as red, and incorporate flashing signs if you like, he adds.
“Flashing signs and big arrows actually work. You may not want them at home or in a magazine, but these things work very well online.”
If you’re interested in playing around with text and background colours, Saggi suggests you try material.io, an online tool that let’s you experiment with colour palettes in order to find the design that could work for your site.
Make sure your site is accessible for EVERYONE
“15% of the world’s population has some form of disability that prevents them from interacting with your site.”
Not only is catering for all people’s needs a social imperative, it’s a business one too. More users being able to access your site means that more purchases are likely to be made.
Help disabled users access your site
Start by underlining hyperlinks very clearly. The usual ‘blue on white’ format of hyperlinked content is confusing for colourblind users, try a different colour combination.
For a number of disabled internet browsers, physically navigating a site is a challenge. Make things easier by allowing for those with impairments to be able to use their space bar to move between tabs on your site instead of their mouse.
But how can businesses know if their site is really disability friendly or not? Well, there’s Accessibility Scanner, an app that literally scans your site, and tells you what text or tabs are clear and easy to read and which are not.
Make reactive video content
Consumers are increasingly searching for content to watch rather than passively watching content across traditional mediums such as television.
“Engage with people who are searching for your video, don’t simply stick a video on your landing page for people to watch”.
If you’re going to make video content and put it on mediums like Youtube, it can lead interested users to actively seek more information about your company, and should take them to your website.
“Usually SMEs that advertise on Youtube can experience a double growth boost.”
What to include in your video
Just because you’re making a video about your company, it doesn’t mean you have to make it some sort of ‘James-Bond style’ slick production. Conveying the right sort of information about what you do as a company, and what services you offer, is more effective than any kind of ‘special effects’.
“Instructional videos work especially for accountancy firms for example. They work for businesses where self assessment is the focus.”
If, however, your business doesn’t require a lot of instruction to communicate itself to customers, then play around with your videos and make them even more fun and engaging. For example, you can go all ‘Steven Spielberg’ and change up the story lines.
“People are experimenting with different story arches, and are making use of multiple dramatic peaks in story lines.”
Whatever you decide to do to get your business ‘mobile ready’, if you take tips from the experts, you’re more likely to succeed…