More and more companies are (thankfully) catching on to the idea that their websites need to be optimized for mobile devices and are embracing responsive web design as a result. In a few years, it’s entirely possible that much of if not most of the internet will be designed to seamlessly work on a variety of devices. But while many businesses are redoing their websites to be responsive, they aren’t necessarily adjusting their content to match. This creates the problem of having a fantastic, mobile friendly site that is full of content that ends up not being read when viewed on mobile devices. In order to help make sure that your content marketing is effective on all platforms, here is a guide to making your site easy to read for mobile viewers.
Start With Clear, Accurate Headings
Whether it is to find a recipe for dinner or figuring out what local hotspot they should go to on Friday night, people use search with a very specific intent in mind. They unlock their mobile device with a clear goal and are quick to dismiss any information they see as not helping them to achieve that goal. Think about the last time you ran a Google search. Chances are good that there were a variety of search results that you read and ignored because you knew they weren’t relevant. The point is that people make snap decisions when using the internet and if there is any doubt that the information that you are offering is irrelevant then it simply won’t get read it.
The best way to combat this is to have clear, straightforward titles that show the value of your content to the reader. They shouldn’t be too wordy or have euphemisms that make them hard to understand. Basically, they need to be written in a way so that their meaning is instantly understood.
It is also important that the titles accurately inform the reader about what content they are offering. Like I mentioned earlier, people who are viewing a website very quickly deduce whether or not they should bother reading something, and if the content that you are offering doesn’t appear to be what you promised, they will instantly bounce off your site.
Format Your Content to Make it Easy to Scan
I really can’t emphasize enough how important it is that you make your content easy to scan. Even when they are sitting in front of a computer and have all the time in the world, people tend to scan through web pages and blogs in order to find something specific.
A few years ago, the Nielsen Norman Group did a study that that looked at how individuals actually react to a web page. When it comes to people reading an entire page, the study found that “They don’t. People rarely read Web pages word by word; instead, they scan the page, picking out individual words and sentences.” It is important to note that this study dealt primarily with reading off of a computer. When it comes to mobile devices, the drive to quickly scan through content is compounded even further.
The best way to make content easy to scan is to break it up into smaller, more concise chunks. Every web page and blog article should incorporate either sub-headers or some sort of bulleted list. Like with main-headers, sub-headers need to clearly communicate the information that is being offered. It should take the reader just a moment to find what they are looking for.
Now at this point you may be wondering whether this is a good thing or not; after all, the faster someone finds the info that they need, the faster they leave, right? The answer is not really. If the content is helpful and well written, then the visitor will want to read more. Having scannable content is what is going to get them to read, but having quality content is what is going to keep them reading.
I feel that it is important to note that many of the techniques mentioned don’t just help you with your content marketing but also help you out in terms of SEO. That’s because search engines are fully aware of how people interact with content and are designed rank sites based on how easy they make it for searchers to find what they are looking for.
Have any questions about developing mobile friendly content? Let me know in the comments below!
Image by Sascha Kohlmann