4 Preliminary Steps to Optimizing Your Site for Mobile

At first glance, adapting a website for mobile and tablet devices
can appear like a complex task.

What content should be the most prominent on your mobile website? Which pages
should be optimized first? How should the layout change for different devices?

It’s easy to get overwhelmed.

We created this article to arm you with the important data you’ll need to begin
launching a successful mobile website, as fast and as painlessly as possible.

Site Analytics to the Rescue

Here at Mobify, we follow the belief that “when in doubt, look at the data.”

When optimizing your website for smartphones and tablets, the best place
to start is always with the site analytics.

You already have visitors coming to your site from mobile, even if it’s
just a small percentage at this point. By studying these users, you can
uncover insights into what matters the most to them, and how you can better
serve their needs.

In this post, we’ll be using Google Analytics
for our research, but other website analytics platforms should have similar
functionality.

Step 1. Segment out smartphone and tablet visitors.

Research has shown that people behave differently on different devices.
And the context often matters a lot more than the screen size.

Let’s begin by looking specifically into our mobile traffic. Here’s how:

  1. Go to the Reporting section in Google Analytics.
  2. Switch to Audience > Overview in Standard Reports.
  3. Click on Advanced Segments.
  4. Check All Traffic, Mobile Traffic, and Tablet Traffic segments.
  5. Click Apply.
selecting-traffic-segment-mobile-tablet

A new report will be generated showing how many visits you get from each
device type, as well as other useful information.

mobile-tablet-traffic-graph

This is a great place to start learning about your mobile traffic. Look at
the metrics such as Bounce Rate or Pages/Visit and see how they compare
between device types.

Step 2. Learn about your top content.

We also want to find out which pages your mobile users visit
the most and which pages they land on when coming from different sources.

For example, your Home Page may be the most visited page on your website.
But your Contact Page may be the one most people see first when they arrive
from search engines.

To find out what your top content is, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Content > Site Content > All Pages.
  2. Look at 3 segments (All, Mobile, Tablet) separately and pay attention to the
    differences. See anything surprising yet?
  3. Repeat these actions for Content > Site Content > Landing Pages.
top-pages-report

You can use this information to prioritize your design and development effort.
We suggest aiming for at least the top 5 most visited pages and the top 5
landing pages. This should cover about 40-80% of your mobile traffic.

Step 3. Select the most important devices.

Next, let’s identify which exact devices people use to access your site.

To begin, deselect all Advanced Segments in Google Analytics and go to
Audience > Mobile > Devices.

list-of-mobile-devices-in-google-analytics

This information is useful when prioritizing your mobile adaptions. Should you
build a mobile site or tablet site first? Do you have to tackle both
at the same time? This report will help you identify which devices to target.

Step 4. Set up benchmarks for performance.

Now that you know who your mobile visitors are, what content
they view and which devices they use, you’re well-equipped to start making
informed decisions about going mobile.

The last thing you should do is make a report of all the important metrics
and set up benchmarks and goals.

Here’s a list of metrics we use here at Mobify:

  • Conversion rates and revenue
  • Mobile visits and percentage of total traffic
  • Bounce rate for different devices
  • Pages / Visit
  • Praise vs. Complaints (this one’s qualitative)

Keep track of these numbers over time to calculate your return on investment.

Wrapping Up

In order to ensure long-term success, your organization needs a well-designed
and high-performing mobile website.

Digging into your site’s analytics can help you uncover valuable insights and
make better business decisions when going mobile.

For more resources and practical tips on going mobile, check out our free
2013 Mobile Success Pack.

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