Consider these facts:
So, if your brand hasn’t already mobile-optimized its website and ecommerce assets, it’s high time to make doing so a top priority. Ready to make your outdoor brand’s website and other online assets more mobile-friendly? Consider these seven top steps you can take to ensure a good experience for your business’s mobile visitors:
1. Implement a mobile-responsive design
Widely considered to be the single most effective way to improve a website’s overall mobile experience, responsive design enables your outdoor brand’s site to automatically adjust its elements to accommodate visitors’ different screen sizes and device types. So, whether users are viewing your brand’s mobile-responsive site on a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or a smartphone, and no matter what the size of the screen, they’ll see a page layout that is tailored specifically to their current device.
While users on all types of devices will see the same content on a responsive site, its appearance will be optimized for the screen size and device type each visitor is using. For example, an image that appears alongside a block of text when viewing on a desktop computer may appear above the same copy on a smartphone, allowing the image to run at a larger size, and making it easier to view. And fortunately for those looking to make the change to a mobile-responsive design, most of today’s pre-built website templates already incorporate responsive design elements — making the move fairly easy in most cases.
2. Ensure navigation menu simplicity
Because the screens on smartphones and other mobile devices are significantly smaller than those on desktop and laptop computers, navigating around a website on the former can be much more challenging when it is not optimized for mobile use. And the navigation menu is a prime example — this website element, which often lists the site’s page names (typically based on topic, such as “About Us” and “Contact Us”) across the top of each page, is critical to easily jump from page to page on a site. While such a horizontal setup may work fine on a desktop, it can make the page names very small and hard to click on a mobile device.
To account for this, many mobile-optimized sites employ the “hamburger-style” navigation menu, which typically consists of three stacked horizontal lines in a top corner of the page that take up minimal screen space most of the time. But when clicked, this drop-down navigation menu delivers a mobile-friendly vertical display of the site’s topic offerings via large, easily clickable page names. Such mobile-friendly touches can greatly enhance the experience your outdoor brand’s website delivers for visitors on mobile devices.
3. Carefully consider your button size and placement
Another key to simple site navigability on mobile devices is button size and placement — which is made even more critical when you consider that many of your site’s buttons represent calls to action (CTAs) urging visitors to perform actions that your brand wants them to take, such as “Buy Now” and “Contact Us.”
Of course, all buttons should be made large enough for them to stand out and grab users’ attention, no matter what size of screen and type of device they’re using. And regarding button placement, most users tend to read or scan a block of copy or a full page of content, then look for the CTA button where the content ends. For this reason, placing your CTA button at the bottom of content sections or at the bottom of a full page of content meets their expectations and helps them find what they’re looking for faster.
4. Sufficiently space out your links
Many mobile device users have experienced the frustration that can result when hyperlinks are placed too close together within a web page’s body copy. This can make it challenging to click the right link (and easy to click the wrong one), especially when trying to navigate a small screen using your thumbs. As such, it’s important to space links out sufficiently on a web page, as doing so can go a long way toward making it easy for visitors to select the links they intend to when navigating your brand’s website.
5. Speed up your load times
Today’s web users have grown to expect quick page-load times, and slow-loading pages are a sure way to lose visitors (and potential customers) quickly. In fact, according to statistics, users’ conversion rates drop by an average of nearly 4.5% with each additional second of page-load time between 0 and 5 seconds. The likelihood of a mobile visitor bouncing jumps by nearly 125% as a page-load time increases from one second to 10 seconds. Further, page-load speeds tend to be even more critical among mobile users, who are much more likely to be viewing your site via a cellular connection — which makes their page loads inherently slower than visitors who connect via a speedier hard-wire or Wi-Fi internet connection.
Some of the top ways to make your pages load faster include simplifying the page design, compressing and otherwise reducing image sizes, eliminating unnecessary images, and avoiding flashy features that slow down page loads. And when optimizing your page-load speeds, Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool can serve as a great resource.
6. Eliminate autocorrect in your forms
Online forms often request information like names, email addresses and mailing addresses that include proper names, which of course regularly feature spellings not found in the dictionary. This can make it extremely frustrating for website visitors when autocorrect attempts to change the spelling of the proper nouns they enter in an online form — and for a business, this can result in lost leads when critical information is misspelled, often even rendering it unusable. Further, the aforementioned frustration is often compounded for visitors on mobile devices, for whom keying in such information is typically much slower and more tedious than it is for desktop and laptop users with a proper keyboard. For all of these reasons, it’s best to simply disable autocorrect in all of the online forms on your outdoor brand’s website, as this will lead to both a better experience for your website’s visitors and more useful harvested consumer data for your business.
7. Purge the pop-ups
Pop-ups tend to hinder the user experience no matter what type of device a website visitor is using, but they’re particularly problematic for visitors using mobile devices. And especially when they’re difficult (or impossible) to close — an all-too-common occurrence for visitors on small-screened smartphones and other mobile devices — they will almost always result in a lost visitor for your brand.
The best practice here is to, whenever possible, avoid using pop-ups entirely. (A simple and effective alternative to the pop-up is to, when needed, employ a CTA that leads to a separate landing page conveying the same information that the pop-up would.) And if a pop-up must be used, be sure to test and re-test it on all types of devices and screen sizes to ensure that it can be easily closed when a user is seeking an escape from whatever it might be offering.
Could your outdoor brand use the help of a team of marketing and web-design professionals to make your site visitors’ mobile experiences shine? At TBA Outdoors, we’ve helped a long list of outdoor brands optimize their mobile experiences — and otherwise grow their businesses — and we’re eager to help yours do the same. Our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of seasoned specialists (and outdoors fanatics) who can cover all aspects of marketing — including SEO, brand strategy, creative, social media, e-commerce, analytics, public relations and much more — all in one place. And as certified brand strategists, we can also help you with the big-picture adjustments sometimes needed put your outdoor brand on a course to long-term success.
To get started with professional guidance ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost your outdoor brand’s overall performance and identity, contact us today.