Have you checked the mobile version of your website lately? According to Patrick Duffy, Vice President of Mobilized Development at bMobilized Inc., a New York-based company optimizing traditional websites for mobile operating systems and browsers, “most websites fail to follow mobile web standards, and thus look and work poorly on mobile devices.”

A leader in the field, Duffy believes strongly that the mobile space opens new opportunities to interact with potential customers. He explains:

“On a mobile website, the user can dial the number with the click of a button and show a store location, with an interactive map service, also by clicking on the address. More advanced services use geographical locations to show how close the user is to the store or service they’re seeking.”

Creating a User-Friendly Mobile Site

When it comes to mobile sites, functionality is an essential part of the design. Duffy encourages his clients to make the mobile versions of their websites more user-friendly by resizing text so it’s easy to read on smaller screens, ensuring that navigation is perfectly sized so that it’s easy to clink on menus and links and testing to make sure all interactive components — that means everything from contact forms to social links to security elements — within the site are working properly.

Small businesses are likely to hear more and more warnings about setting up and testing their websites as the holidays approach, because an increasing number of shoppers are using their smartphones and tablets to make online purchases.

4 Key Mobile Site Characteristics

According to Duffy, the four most critical pieces of information small businesses should offer mobile customers are:

    1. Mobile-friendly content and navigation. Redesign the website so the user does not need to zoom to read and navigate the website. When set-up, sites can automatically detect when a mobile browser.
    2. A way for visitors to contact you. Include click-to-call, email and SMS so that customers can easily reach out to you with special requests or questions.
    3. Your small business’s location. Make it easy for shoppers to find you by providing maps, directions and business hours with a simple touch of the screen.
    4. Link to social network profiles. Linking gives visitors instant access to your business’s social channels including Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, again helping you connect with customers and drive sales.

For e-commerce websites, Duffy adds that, “The mobile site should make it very simple for the visitor to transact or make a purchase. If it is not easy, the business should disable the feature and drive conversions in a different way.” He recommend driving sales through a phone call, lead form, or other call to action.

Duffy warns small business owners to be careful not to provide a poor experience to prospects, because their likelihood of returning to the site will drop. Additionally, he urges owners to include a link back to the full website from the mobile site as many potential customers conduct pre-purchase research on their mobile devices.