Nowadays, making your website and content mobile-friendly is, or at least should be, a top priority for everyone who wants to build a strong digital presence. The opposite could cause you to lose traffic, miss out on business opportunities, compromise your competitive advantage, and even hurt your online reputation.
The reason for this is that 61.39% of all global traffic is from mobile devices.
People do quick on-the-go searches to find nearby businesses, browse the internet on their breaks, check work while waiting for appointments, or enjoy shopping while chilling at home. And while different demographics may prefer different platforms and online spaces to hang out, practically, everyone is on mobile.
That’s usually enough to convince businesses to adopt responsive design or another mobile approach. However, the technical stuff is not all there is to mobile optimization. Making your content mobile-friendly is an entirely different endeavor that is too often overlooked by companies.
Moreover, people consume content on mobile differently than they do on desktop. And if your page is not optimized to be easily digestible on a mobile screen it may become challenging to retain the user’s attention.
But fret not!
In this article, we provide 10 ways to make your content more mobile-friendly.
Let’s get down to it!
1. Cut Down Interstitial Ads and Popups
If interstitial ads and popups are not implemented with caution, they can be very frustrating to users regardless of the device. However, the fact is, that they can completely ruin the user experience on a small screen.
While on desktop, the user can easily close the popup window and go on almost without noticing it, on mobile it can completely block the content and prevent the user from engaging with the page. When this happens, the person is very likely to leave, and if it keeps on happening, they are definitely not coming back.
For example, imagine yourself scrolling through an interesting article and reaching an ad that covers your whole screen. You try to continue scrolling, but you are unable to exit the ad space and reach the rest of the content – all of a sudden, all you can do is move the content of the ad up and down, or click on it. Are you going to stay on that page, struggling with the ad, or leave immediately?
Yeah, that’s what we thought.
Long story short, pay extra attention to choosing the proper ad-friendly website layouts that render well on mobile. The goal is that your mobile content stays accessible no matter the circumstances, and, whenever an ad or another message pops up, the user has an easy way out.
2. Leave a Lot of White Space
Leaving enough breathing space, a.k.a white space, on your page makes it easier for the user to read and interact with the content without becoming overwhelmed and/or confused. Too many words filling up the screen of your device can be intimidating for most.
When a page is crowded with text, the words may start to blur together and it may become difficult to read and/or understand the information.
Interacting with such pages can be especially challenging for visually impaired users and people with reading disorders such as dyslexia.
By providing enough breathing space, you are making sure that everyone will be able to read your content without any effort.
Furthermore, the screen size varies between different devices. Even if the margins on the sides happen to be tiny, the white space will ensure that the text is not too snug.
You can provide more white space by:
- Writing short paragraphs
- Using bullets and numbering
- Inserting images and videos into text
- Using a lot of H2s and H3s
3. Structure Your Content With H2s, H3s, and Bullets
Structuring your content with H2s, H3s, and bullets is one of the ways to ensure there’s enough white space on your page.
However, there’s more to it.
Since subheadings are formatted in a way that is different to the rest of the text, they make it easier for users to follow and navigate mobile content.
Also, these types of structural elements break down the text into digestible bites that are easier to read and understand. This prevents the user from feeling at sixes and sevens when scrolling through your page, and makes it easier for them to go on.
Simply put, a robust content structure provides a better user experience. Subheadings and bullets make the meaning easier to follow by both humans and robots. That’s why it’s crucial not only for the customer but for your SEO efforts as well.
As such, it can help your content rank better.
By making your content mobile-friendly you are hitting two birds with one stone.
4. Break Down Text into Short Paragraphs
To be honest, if you are new to digital content writing, it’s very likely that short paragraphs look unnatural and awkward to you. Especially when you are writing text in a doc file and reviewing it on desktop.
However, when you review the same content on a mobile screen, it all makes sense, doesn’t it?
Long paragraphs may look alright on desktop – much like in a book, for example. But on the small screen of a mobile device, they are squeezed into the narrow frame of the device, and, as a result, form large blocks of, seemingly, endless text.
When scrolling through them, it’s easy for the user to lose their way and become confused. This may cause them to reread the same section multiple times, become frustrated, and, ultimately, drive them away.
To avoid this, stick to writing short paragraphs that are limited to three or four sentences, and, preferably, don’t exceed five lines. And remember, a paragraph can even consist of a single sentence.
Just like this one.
This approach not only makes your content more readable on mobile, but can also help you emphasize the meaning of your statements.
5. Use Simple Sentences
Long complex sentences are great. They allow you to express complicated thoughts and ideas and convey your message in depth. However, they can be quite difficult to follow on a small screen.
Imagine a sentence that takes up half of your screen. Or one that covers the whole screen.
Do you think you could read that easily and stay on track? Probably not. Or at least not for most folks.
It’s best to provide short sentences that are easy to digest and allow for a seamless user experience.
6. Avoid Complex Language
By now, you’ve probably already figured out that simplicity is the key to making your content more mobile-friendly. This includes language and vocabulary as well.
Long and complicated words, as well as complex terminology, are more difficult to read, especially on a mobile screen. Users, more often than not, skim the page and are not likely to have the time or patience to focus on every letter.
To satisfy their needs, the content needs to be easy to consume even without one’s full attention.
The more complicated and/or rarely used a word is, the more likely it is that the user will need to go back and read it again to be sure that they understand it correctly.
This creates unpleasant UX, breaks up the flow of the text, and can create confusion.
Of course, you shouldn’t sacrifice vocabulary in the name of readability. Simplifying the text to the maximum, potentially creates issues (such as repetition), and may even make it less pleasant to read.
However, abstain from using complex words just for the sake of it, unless they provide additional value to the information and are completely necessary.
7. Keep It Concise
In short, don’t overcomplicate things.
It’s true that both users and robots love long-form content. However, the volume should come from value, not from blabbering and fluff. If you are adding stuff only to top up the word count, just don’t. Instead, consider talking about a relevant sub-topic that adds more substance and value.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to strip all the interesting bits that make your writing unique. These have their own value, as they make the content and your brand more memorable, hook the reader, and facilitate the reading experience.
That said, don’t overdo it with the witty remarks, side stories, flashbacks, etc., as you might end up testing your reader’s patience.
Reading an article on mobile is challenging enough for the average person’s attention span. If you want to keep them engaged, you need to stick to the point.
8. Use Closed Captions in Videos
It’s not a secret that, on mobile, people tend to watch videos without the sound on.
In fact, 85% of Facebook videos are viewed muted. And it’s not only social media that showcases this tendency – research shows that when on their phones, but 69% of people also watch videos on mute when in public, and 25% stick to the trend even in the comfort of their own homes.
To accommodate their needs and preferences, you need to make sure the videos you feature in your content are mute-friendly. The best way to do this is by adding closed captions.
This will not only boost the engagement of your video content on mobile, but will also make it more accessible to people with visual and auditive disabilities.
9. Check How Your Content Looks on Mobile Before Publishing
It’s a good rule of thumb to double-check how your content renders on mobile before publishing it. This way, you will ensure that everything looks great and is easy to read, skim, engage with, and so forth.
In addition, by doing this, you can also improve the quality of your pages. A different perspective may bring to surface any typos, sentences or paragraphs that are too long, weird-looking headlines, or other mistakes that you may not have noticed on desktop.
There are even tools that allow you to change the mobile content of a selection of pages on your WordPress website – cool, right?
10. Check Your Pages in Google’s Tools
In Google Analytics, you can review the performance of your pages on mobile and desktop devices.
Place the two reports side by side and analyze them to see how they compare. If a page does great on desktop but struggles to deliver on mobile, there may be some issues you need to attend to.
When you identify the low-performing pages, review how the content looks on different smaller screen devices and ask people in your organization (or why not a sample of customers, if you can afford it) to do the same.
The insights you obtain will help you to improve your mobile-friendly content and ensure a pleasant user experience.
Nowadays, people spend more time browsing the internet on their phones than ever before. This makes it vital that your content is mobile-friendly.
There are many steps you can take in this direction, however, what they all have in common is simplicity.
Mobile users want every page they encounter to be quick and easy to digest since they often consume content on the go or while multitasking and want their experience as seamless as possible.
The better your mobile content is at delivering it, the greater the chance to retain the customer’s attention beyond the limits of their attention span.