How to Write for Mobile Sites

A client recently surveyed their Facebook followers with the following question: When traveling, do you surf the web with your laptop, mobile device, tablet, or a combination of all? About half of those who responded said a mobile device, and the rest said a combination.

After seeing the survey, I thought about how my own search habits have changed in the last year since I finally jumped on the mobile vs. laptopiPhone bandwagon. I occasionally drag my laptop out at home, but most of my browsing is now done via my mobile device. I haven’t been to an actual bank in months, since I now make mobile deposits by taking a photo of the front and back of my check. (How cool is that?!) I pay my credit card bill, check my email, shop for shoes and search for the closest hibachi restaurant on something slightly larger than my business card. Since Internet use on smartphones has become so common, how do we write good content for mobile sites?

Consider these tips:

  • Keep it simple. If you’ve read my previous article on writing for the web, you know I’m a fan of getting to the point. Writing for a mobile site requires you to kick it up a notch. You have to be even more concise and get to the point even faster. The content should be easy to read on a small screen. Use bullets for lists, and keep paragraphs short for easy scrolling.
  • Don’t necessarily rehash what’s on your desktop site. There are various opinions on whether or not mobile sites should be completely different from desktop sites, but I agree with Jakob Nielsen’s view that one site doesn’t necessarily fit all needs. And I believe it’s best to write content that is specifically crafted for a mobile site. If readers do happen to want more info, you can give them the option of going to the full site for more details.
  • Make it easy for mobile users to find what they’re looking for. If someone is browsing your site on a mobile device, they’re likely doing it while ordering coffee, waiting for a meeting to start or watching TV. Organize the content with brief headlines, make the text easy to scan, and don’t forget to include contact info in case they want to call or email for more details.
  • Don’t forget about SEO. Mobile content still needs to be optimized for search. Recent studies show that 1 in 3 mobile searches are local, and 61% of users called the business after searching for it on their smartphone. That means users are out on the streets searching for exactly what they want. And since the screen on a mobile device is smaller than a desktop, being at the top of the rankings is even more important if you want to be noticed.

When writing for your mobile site, remember to keep it simple, organized and easy. Because, as Jennifer Kyrnin notes, “Content is where your mobile page will succeed or fail.”

Suzanne Youngblood – Director of Content Marketing

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