Set up a Subdomain
The first step is to set up the structure of your site. You may find it advantageous to create an entire subdomain of your main site, such as www.mobile.megasuperduperwidgets.com. The latest ruminations from Google’s head wizard Matt Cutts indicate that specifically targeted subdomains can actually serve to boost your overall search engine presence. Hubpages had seen its million-plus articles severely penalized by the search giant’s Panda/Farmer algorithm and has taken steps to regain their lost positioning by providing a separate subdomain for each of their thousands of writers! You might even want to identify your mobile site specifically as such by ditching the .com altogether and going with www.megasuperduperwidgets.mobi.
Keys to Proper Content Structure
Once you have your URLs locked in, it’s now time to start planning the content structure itself. These items are critical to ensure that your mobile user will enjoy a satisfactory experience when they get there:
Prioritize – Determine what information must be conveyed. Make up a priority plan between contact information; product information; customer service access; checkout facilitation; and all of the various other aspects that go into your landing page and site. Once you have your priority plan, stick to it. It’s easy to get sidetracked and end up accentuating the irrelevant.
Distill – Your mobile site must be a considerably distilled version to the one available on your main website. Keep in mind that a majority of mobile owners may end up checking out your primary site when they’re back in front of their desktop or laptop computers, so think very carefully about (in the immortal words of Bob Seger) “what to leave in, what to leave out.” Don’t be afraid to ruffle feathers in the front office. Full biographies of each executive along with 1200dpi print reproduction photos may be ego-gratifying on the main site, but they will gum up the works for mobile users. Similarly, relegate to the trash can that outrageous Flash entry animation that takes 20 seconds to load on a fiberoptic connection, and those silly walk-ons where your CEO is strolling and chatting through the text. Get to the meat of the issue and trim all the fat.
Optimize – Pages should be curt, short, to the point and everything possible should be done to favor vertical scrolling over horizontal. Don’t set up your pages so that in order to read your content the user has to [scroll] go back and forth [scroll] or side to side like [scroll] an old teletype machine or [scroll] print head. Favor text over images and, although you must keep your branding consistent, keep it simple and minimal.
SimpliCode – Your site is most likely going to be coded in XML/XHTML and CSS but there are almost infinite coding variances that can be implemented: some are more successful than others in the mobile sphere. In every case simple is better than complex, and integrated is better than separate. For example, many mobile browsers will ignore all of the CSS included between the internal stylesheet’s
tag pair or any external style sheet. In order to ensure consistent display you must apply inline CSS directly inside the HTML element. If all of this just whooshed over your head, just copy this paragraph, email it to your programmer and they’ll take it from there.
Now that you have this great new mobile site, it won’t do you any good if no one knows about it. Make a big splashy announcement on your Facebook and Google+ page, Tweet the living daylights out of it and create a prominent link on every page of your primary website: “Browsing from a smartphone? Check out our mobile site!” Your mobile site should also be highlighted on all of your online and offline advertising, to the point where you add a QR code direct link to your print ads and billboard. Take the time to build and promote your exciting mobile site and they will come!