5 Mobile Website Design Tips to Improve Conversions

July 18, 2017 by

mobile website designMany web designers — perhaps most at this stage of the game — start with mobile design and work from there to the desktop. Mobile Internet usage now exceeds desktop usage, and the gap is only going to widen as new, more powerful devices work their way onto the market.

Even though designers are thinking mobile first, it’s easy for them to fall into the (very understandable) trap of applying desktop design techniques, which they may have been using for years, to aspects of mobile design where something different is called for. Here are five examples of mobile design that improve conversions.

1. Phone Contact Emphasis

In the desktop world, form conversions are frequently prioritized over phone conversions. Sure, a good desktop design features an easy-to-find phone number in all page templates, but for mobile design, phone numbers must be emphasized much more heavily. Mobile users are less apt to complete website forms (even if they have only a few required fields) than to call. In addition, a phone number in constant screen view with click-to-call functionality becomes a tempting, insanely easy and always prominent contact option.

2. Long-form Anchor Text

Long-form content refers to online content in excess of 1,500 words (give or take). I’m borrowing the content to describe anchor text: Long-form anchor text is anchor text comprised of a long string of words, to make it easier for big fingers on little screens to click through. For example, a link to Straight North may work very well for a desktop, but a link that tells users to learn more about Straight North’s SEO services is far more obvious and appealing to mobile users. Anchor text length is perhaps a detail, but strong website conversions usually result from executing lots of details with lots of skill.

3. Mobile-Friendly Image Display

Mobile users tend to be visual content consumers; it’s much easier (and more entertaining) to watch a video or view an image than to read text, even a short amount of text. But surprisingly, many business websites have beautiful image display in desktop view — but just carry it over to desktop display more or less as is, rendering the images too large or too fuzzy or overlaid with text. This is a conversion killer. First, image selection is critically important for mobile design, because unlike on a desktop, images do the heavy lifting for communicating features, benefits and calls to action in mobile viewing. Second, if those carefully selected images render poorly, they not only fail to inspire a conversion, they may also frustrate or turn off mobile users, doing the brand more harm than good.

4. Master Mobile Navigation Techniques

Perhaps the area of greatest difference between mobile and desktop design is the treatment of website navigation. In the early days of responsive website design, desktop navigational elements were more or less translated as is to desktop. This is no longer sufficient. For this topic, I refer readers to the Nielsen Norman Group, as they are experts on website user experience issues, including navigation. Best practices for mobile navigation are evolving rapidly, as studies, such as the one described in the link above, give designers new insights about what types of navigation produce a strong user experience — and thus a lot of conversions.

5. Kill the PDFs

PDFs are sometimes used in place of HTML pages on business websites, which is seldom a great idea. However, on a desktop, businesses can get away with it, and for some uses, such as a restaurant menu or a sales brochure, the PDF can be easier for visitors to read — on a desktop. On a mobile phone, different story: PDFs are notoriously hard to read on small screens, and should be avoided at all costs. It’s something of a mystery to me why businesses such as restaurants, whose sites are heavily visited by mobile users, continue to use PDFs for menu display and other critical pieces of information. If this isn’t a conversion killer, I don’t know what is.

Of course, many smart mobile design techniques continue to parallel desktop design, such as ample use of white space and ultra-fast page loading. The challenge for designers is to understand where desktop and mobile designs should remain the same, and where they should differ. Are you thinking about your website in this way? If so, you’re on the road to richer conversions and revenues.

Brad Shorr

Author Bio:

Brad Shorr is Director of Content Strategy at Straight North, an Internet marketing company in Chicago that specializes in SEO, PPC and web design services. With more than 25 years of sales and marketing experience, Brad has been featured in leading online publications such as Forbes, American Marketing Association and Entrepreneur.

Note from NKB: Thanks Brad for your website design insights. My readers and I appreciate it!! Nick