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How To Build A Site That’s Mobile Friendly

Smartphones haven’t quite caught up to the speed and resources of a desktop computer, but Google research found that they continue to be a fast growing market for sales and business revenue. But the size of the screen and the slower data speeds mean website owners must build a mobile friendly site to engage users.

Reduce Image Size or Use a CDN

Smartphone data access plans are faster than years ago, but most still lack the capacity of a home network. For this reason, mobile website developers use smaller image sizes, reducing the number of images used for navigation. To increase speeds even further, consider using cloud storage and a content delivery network. CDNs increase transfer speeds for both home and mobile phone users.

Smaller Screen Resources

The standard width of a mobile-friendly site is 640 pixels. That means less room for images, but the business information should be easier to find. Navigation should be small images or straight text links, and the content pages are typically more textual than image-based. The combined user-friendly features tend to make it easier for customers to purchase product and find content information.

Search Engine Meta Tags

Google wants to send users on smartphones to mobile friendly sites. Google has implemented a mobile link tag, so the site owner can tell the search engine where to find the mobile version of a website. Place the link tag on the desktop-friendly web page, then place the canonical tag on the mobile friendly page. The canonical tag tells the main search engine not to index the mobile and desktop versions of the site simultaneous, which causes duplicate content issues. Instead, the mobile page is kept in the mobile search results, and the regular desktop pages are kept in the regular version of the search engine results.

Detecting Mobile Phone User Agents

Several user agents are used for each type of browser,  including the browsers used on mobile phones. The redirects can be done using JavaScript or any dynamic lanuage. Redirecting is an alternative way to redirect users if the website is typed directly into the browser. These redirects ensure that a mobile phone user gets the most optimized mobile phone pages when landing on the main home page.

These few enhancements to a website can help a webmaster take advantage of the increasing sales opportunities available with mobile friendly sites. Because smartphones also offer bookmarking, the user can return to the mobile friendly site without doing a search. With proper optimization, the business can increase revenue from smartphone website upgrades.

Written By

Jennifer Marsh is a software developer, programmer and technology writer and occasionally blogs for Rackspace Hosting.

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