Time to Mobilize!Posted: April 13, 2012 | |
Article written by Michael Leaders, Hawkeye Foodservice Manager of Sales Training and Development for Weekly Profit, a publication of Hawkeye Foodservice, 11/7/11.
I am constantly pulling out my smart phone and looking something up on the Internet. My kids even tease me about it saying “Oh, no here comes the Droid” or “why don’t you just ask Droid”. I am not alone. People used a smart device (iPhone, iPad, iPod, Android phone, Blackberry, etc…) to search the Internet 4 times more often in 2011 than just the year before and it is estimated that more people will use a mobile device for search than their PC by 2013. What? Why would someone use a device with a tiny screen, no mouse, and only a virtual keyboard to do their Internet searching instead of a PC? Because it is MOBILE. My phone is where I am most of the day, and that means that I am seconds away from all of the information on the Internet anytime and anyplace.
So why do you care? Well, because 29% of all of those mobile searches are related to restaurants. People are looking for a place to eat while they are out and about. They want to know what you offer on your menu, when you are open, how to call for reservations, and directions to your location. What they get is your web-site with its fancy slow-to-load background images, tiny unreadable font, download only PDF menus, and address and phone numbers that are useless to the phone. What they do then, is find another place to eat. If I can’t load your web-site on my phone, or easily navigate it, I am going on to the next web-site. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN! It is time to mobilize.
There are two basic ways to mobilize your restaurant’s web-site:
- Optimize your current web-site so that it is easily viewed on mobile devices.
- Create a separate actual “Mobile” website.
Because of the high usage of mobile devices for restaurant searches, I highly recommend that you have a complete separate mobile web-site, especially if you don’t currently have a web-site at all. However, I realize that many of you may want to just optimize your current site. Today I will cover what you need to do to accomplish that. In my next article I will cover creating a mobile web-site.
Making your web-site mobile friendly is not that hard, if you have followed my previous web-site rules. These are good rules for your web-site no matter if it is displayed on a PC or mobile device.
- Don’t use Flash (mobile phones can’t display it).
- Use easy to read font (remember this is being read on a tiny screen).
- Have address and phone number on every page.
- Address should link to map/directions.
- Have an HTML menu (PDF menus take longer to download and many phones can’t display them).
Now, here are a few more rules specific to mobilization of your current web-site:
- Optimize all graphics for the web so they download fast and display correctly.
- Make navigation links large enough to click with finger on small screen.
- Don’t use Frames.
- Make sure your phone number and address are text not graphics. This makes them clickable and usable in the mobile browser. So a phone user can click on your phone number and instantly the phone will dial the number, or click on the address and the phone will bring up navigation program to give directions to your location.
Your two main goals of optimizing your web-site for mobile are fast download, and easy to read/ navigate. Users will get frustrated if it takes more than 20 seconds to download your web-site, or if they can’t read it once it loads. It is also frustrating if they try to click on a link and keep hitting the wrong one, because the navigation is tiny and too close together.
Make sure that you test your site on a couple of different devices to see how it looks and works. If something doesn’t work or is hard to read, fix it. Don’t let frustrations with your web-site lose you potential customers. MOBILIZE!