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content for mobile devices

Developing Content for Your Mobile Audience

Have you ever seen content on a mobile device that you’re excited to read and click through to view it only to realize you need to squint or zoom in to read it? It’s frustrating, not only because it’s inconvenient, but because it’s so easily avoidable.

We live in the age of mobile, and if you’re not taking it into consideration as part of your content efforts, you’re missing out on some serious opportunities.

Make sure you’re keeping best practices in mind when developing content for your mobile audience. I’ve written about a few below to help you get started.

Know your audience

Our attention spans are dwindling as is, but with mobile devices, it’s even shorter because your audience is more likely to be on the go. You need to be able to get to the point quickly and to do this effectively, you need to truly understand your audience to make sure that point resonates. The more you know about them, the more you can succinctly speak to them and get your point across in a timely fashion.

Make your content more readable

Keep your headlines short

In the online marketing world these days, keyword research is important for a number of reasons, but it can really be useful with headline development with mobile devices. You want your headlines to be short, but descriptive and impactful, and using keywords that you know will get your audience’s attention will help you develop them.

Your headline must be engaging enough to get people to click through and read the rest of your article (no pressure). I heard somewhere that to do this as effectively as you can, you should keep your title around 6 words.

Condense your paragraphs

I’ve already addressed the importance of brevity on mobile content, and the way you write your paragraphs is no exception. Mobile users are more likely to scan content than dive deep into it.

For this reason, it’s important to make paragraphs short (I’m talking 1-2 lines) and ensure your subheaders stand out. Be sure to include the most important information you’re trying to get across in your first couple of sentences.

Negative space is a good thing

People always seem to get so nervous when there’s blank space on a page, or between text, CTAs, and images, but it’s actually a good thing. Not only is it easier to follow for users, it’s easier for Google to follow as well when they are trying to gather information for search engine results pages. The easier the page is for them to crawl, the more likely you’ll get a higher rank for a given topic.

Keep styling in mind

To make it as easy as possible for a person to read your content, consider using at least 14 pt font. Additionally, keep contrast in mind. A lot of mobile users are looking at their phones outside or in brighter spaces, so having a high contrast between the text and space on the page will make it easier for them to consume.

Use visuals

Visuals are a great way to capture a user’s attention and get your message across quickly. An image is worth a thousand words, right? It’s amazing how much you can communicate using them, especially for the mobile audience who have such short attention spans. In fact, this audience is far more likely to look at a picture then they are text on their phones.

While images are undeniably useful, you still have to be smart with how you use them to ensure they look good on a mobile device.

I always recommend using smaller header images for mobile users so that you can still get to the content quickly.

Don’t go overboard with them either. As mentioned in the section, you want to use space wisely. Too many images can make your content look cluttered and it can impact load time, which Google frowns upon.

To use images effectively, make sure they’re relevant, spaced sporadically throughout your content, and support the message you’re trying to convey.

Forget about mobile pop-ups

In a recent article that I wrote, I discussed Google’s plan to penalize websites where content wasn’t easy to access, and this includes being hidden behind a pop-up on a page.

Your audience, and Google, want to get to the content they had a desire to see. Don’t make it difficult for them to do that.

If you must use pop-ups, they shouldn’t cover the entire screen and should be simple to exit out of.

Optimize video

We, as a society, love video, and why wouldn’t we? It’s entertaining and engaging.

What this means is that companies should be taking advantage of this and including video as part of their mobile content.

As with other forms of content we’ve discussed in this post, keep the use of video simple and try to avoid a bunch of animations across your site.

If you’re embedding videos in your content, be sure to code it with HTML5 as Flash doesn’t work on mobile devices.

Make it easy to share

You want your content to get in front of as many people as possible. To do this on a mobile device, make it as easy as possible for your users. Be sure to include large CTA buttons (that your thumb could easily tap) to help them see what actions to take next to share it with friends (in fact, use these larger CTA buttons for any action across your site).

While the information I mention above isn’t terribly difficult to implement, it’s not uncommon for people to forget about some of these tips. Be sure to take note and try to put them into practice in order to give your customers the best experience possible.

If you found this post helpful, take a look at some of the other content I’ve written this month that covers mobile optimization, including mobile website development, mobile campaigns, and social media on mobile. Stay tuned for more to come!

Need more mobile marketing tips? Check out our entire Guide to Mobile Marketing.

9 How to Make Your Content Mobile Friendly

When I think about the work I do these days very little of it actually needs to be done on a “real” computer.

Writing a post like this, creating a PowerPoint deck or maybe editing a video are things that are still best done by me using lots of computing power and a large screen or two.

Just about everything else – managing email, reading blog posts, participating in social media and consuming content in various forms – can be done, sometimes much more conveniently, using a mobile or tablet device.

As these devices become more prevalent and powerful people will adopt them for all but a handful of business and personal tasks.

Content consumption is already headed towards the 50% mark in terms of mobile vs. laptop as the reader of choice. On my site mobile devices account for right at 15% of all traffic today. That’s up over 150% over last year at this time and represents a 16% increase from just last month.

The point is you must package your content in ways that the growing legions of tablet and mobile consumers can enjoy or run the risk of turning this important readership away.

iphone content

Responsive design on iPhone

ipad content

Responsive design redispays theme for the iPad

There are a number of methods to consider in the mobile content display category.

Mobile Plugins

If you are a WordPress user you can add a plugin like WPTouch that makes your content much more consumable on mobile devices, but comes at the cost of very little in terms of design flexibility. In other words, it’s not the best looking option.

Mobile Only Content

You can also find mobile designers here or use a tool like Duda Mobile to recreate your site as a mobile version. This offers design flexibility and even allows you to highlight the most useful content that someone on the go might desire. The downside is this becomes another asset you have to update and maintain.

Mobile App

At one point the holy grail of mobile content was the custom app. Think about it, someone is going to download your app and then have total access to every bit of your content in a variety of interactive and engaging formats. What’s not to love about that? The problem is nobody (or at least not many) wants your app, no matter how much they might like your content. You can however, build your own cross-platform app pretty easily these days with services like Appinsitute.

Responsive Design

The option that is growing in popularity and that embraces the idea that all content should be viewed from one site design is something called responsive design.

Responsive design is design that responds to the viewing environment and adapts layout, orientation and size based on the screen. Design elements, images and text adapt via CSS rather than plugins or add-ons.

This site employs responsive design via a custom child theme on the Genesis framework and I believe the mobile experience and subsequent rise in mobile views, time on site via mobile and decreased mobile bounce rate attest to the value of the enhanced user experience. In my view, this is the approach that most websites should employ today.

Mobile Video

As a bit of a side note I want to add a thought or two about mobile video. With the expansion of 4G LTE video consumption on mobile devices has skyrocketed. A subset of responsive design is responsive video design. Use tools like FitVid or custom CSS to make sure your videos resize to tablet and mobile screens.

Use this mobile emulator from dotMobi to see how your content looks today on a variety of mobile devices and start moving towards making your content mobile friendly now.