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How to Build a Mobile Friendly Website

Last week we discussed the differences between mobile websites, mobile apps, and device apps. Today let’s take a look at the steps involved in creating your mobile friendly website.

Step 1: Mobile Website URL

Here are three options for locating your mobile website:

  1. Create a folder in the full version of your website i.e. domain/mobile.
  2. Use a subdomain i.e. m.domain.
  3. Build full content and mobile content for each page of your website.

Step 2: Mobile Detection

To route mobile devices to mobile friendly content, incorporate a script at the beginning of each page that detects mobile devices and either forwards them to mobile friendly pages or publishes mobile friendly content on the current pages. This detection script can be created with Javascript, PHP,, ASP Classic, or other web programming language.

Step 3: Navigation is the Key

Mobile phones are divided into SmartPhones and Dumb Phones. Set the mobile detection script mentioned above to determine which type of mobile phone is accessing the website and provide navigation accordingly. Dumb mobile phones use limited CSS, so simple hyperlinks work best here. SmartPhones are, well smarter, and can understand more sophisticated CSS. Provide SmartPhone users with CSS "buttons" instead of simple hyperlinks.

Step 4: Include the Most Popular Pages

The mobile version of your website doesn’t necessarily need to include all the pages incorporated into your main website. For example, if your website lists events, the pages accessed by your mobile users will mostly likely be new events, event listings this week, how to purchase tickets, and a map and/or directions to the venue.

Are you selling products? Product information and how to purchase is your priority. If you have a brick and mortar location, include a map and directions.

You say you are a service provide? Your services and how to contact you are your most important pages. If you have an office, also include a map and directions.

Check your website statistics to see which pages are most often viewed and by whom. If you don’t already have one, setup a Google analytics account to help with this process.

Step 5: Fast Loading Content

Mobile phone users are on the go – in a cab, at the airport, between business meetings, between classes, watching their kids play soccer – and they are paying for mobile bandwidth byte-by-byte. Give them the information they seek – fast! Replace the fancy masthead with just your logo, remove the large photographs, take out the navigation icons, and decrease the text to the most pertinent information.

Website users are purchasing more mobile phones today than desktop and laptop computers. Are you ready for them?

Posted on March 13, 2013 | Permalink | Join email list

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