We’ve talked about why you need responsive design to make your website viable for mobile visitors.
But you can’t just stop at design. That’s like creating the perfect mousetrap and baiting it with a rock. Your content must also be written for mobile. This means short, clear, and to the point.
Writing for Mobile
Writing for mobile is not an entirely new skill set – your content should already be dazzlingly clear and succinct and written for the web.
Consider mobile writing as the sleekest, most finely-tuned and to-the-point form of graphic writing now in existence – like a warmer, more visually enticing version of airport signage.
This means limited text, copious visuals, and large headings.
In the mobile universe:
- Big action buttons are vital
- Short lists and images are de rigueure
- Long paragraphs (more than 4 lines) are suicide
Other things to consider when writing for mobile:
- What to say and why? Be crystal clear on what content you should be crafting. Why are people visiting your site from their phones? What information are they hunting? Your location? Contact information? Who you are? Hand them that information unpackaged, sans cellophane, ready to consume.
- Quality writing. Stripping your content down to the basics doesn’t mean your writing should be devoid of all personality and color. Quality of writing is still important, just make sure everything you produce is pithy and instantly understood.
- Keywords. This is super important. Most mobile users will find your site via a search engine, so you need to understand what keywords your audience is likely to be searching for, and use them often (but naturally!) throughout your page titles, headings, and body of your content.
- Titles. All of your page titles and article titles must be short and sweet. Studies have shown that the shorter a title, the more likely people are to click through and share it.
- Headings and titles stand alone. People don’t really “navigate” on mobile or leisurely poke around like they’re hunting for truffles. So there’s very little room for context. Your headings, subheadings, and images need to stand on their own. Period.
- Don’t reference page layout. Avoid using terms like “see below” or “the above link. You just can’t predict how text will display on every type of mobile device and you don’t want to disorient your visitors.
- Test, test, test. You should ALWAYS test the mobile view when developing content to make sure things aren’t jumbled up or funky.
- Actionable buttons. What you want people to do should be sparkling, crystal clear. Use big buttons rather than hidden hyperlinks. They’re obvious and easy to touch from a phone. “Donate“, “Register“, “Contact Us“, etc.
- Page load speed. Remember that mobile users expect instant gratification. Studies from web performance experts like Gomez and Akamai have found that 40% of visitors will give up on a website that doesn’t load in three seconds or less.
- Always try to strike a balance between visual appeal of content and load time. Heavy images can slow down your page load speed. So while visual content is great, make sure it’s optimized.
- To test how quickly your site loads, go to Pingdom, enter your website URL, and select the location nearest your audience. (Just be sure to uncheck the box that shares your results or you may get bombarded by spammers.)
- For more insight on your website performance, visit PageSpeed Insights. It will reveal ways you can improve your page load speed and improve the user experience on your site, and it’s easy to forward the results to your web developer.
Keep these considerations in mind while composing, and mobile users will love your site. Ignore them and people will bail in droves.
If you haven’t yet read about the basic principles of writing for the web, make sure to take a look. Mobile writing follows the same principles, just with a little more kung fu action.