It’s not enough anymore to have stellar content for your blog.
You can be the top thought-leader in the industry and still miss out on valuable audience time and connections if your content isn’t optimized for a good mobile user experience.
More and more, people are turning to portable devices for research, reading, shopping and making connections. In the United States alone, mobile users spend about 89 hours a month — or almost 3 hours a day! — interacting with mobile content.
And almost no one goes desktop-only anymore. Even among the 55+ crowd, 67 percent are multi-platform users (they use computers and mobile devices to get online) and 7 percent are mobile only. Only a quarter report they only access the internet via a desktop. For those ages 18 to 34, desktop-only use drops to a mere 3 percent.
In short: if you aren’t providing content for your blog that can be easily consumed on a mobile device, you’re probably alienating a large percent of your potential audience. Good mobile engagement requires a great mobile user experience, and a big part of that comes from how you create and manage your content.
Today’s consumers want #blog content that’s optimized for a better #mobile experience. Here are 9 tips to get you there.
It’s not even just about properly engaging those who swipe more than type.
We all know Google keeps its eyes on things, and it’s very interested in how your site performs for mobile users. A poor user experience that results in low dwell times and high bounce rates isn’t what Google wants to see, and the browser giant is quick to slap you down in the SERPs if you refuse to play nice with mobile users.
Pro tip: Since engagement specifics vary with your demographic and topic, always check your analytics before you make content decisions.
What can you do to improve user experience on your mobile site?
A lot, actually.
Seriously, so much goes into Responsive design and strong mobile content. We’re going to talk mostly about good blogging and writing tips for mobile-friendly content, but you can check out these additional mobile optimization tips from Kissmetrics in addition to our content tips below.
1. Don’t build with large blocks of text.
I just pulled up my last blog post on a mobile device. The first paragraph is about 55 words, and that also takes up the entire screen.
What I’m getting at here is you don’t have much property to play with, so make it count.
Fit thoughts into smaller blocks of text so mobile users can easily scan it, and alter the types of blocks you use to keep things from getting boring. You wouldn’t build an entire castle out of the same 4×4 LEGO blocks (well, you could, but how boring and dysfunctional would that be?). So build your content with:
- Paragraphs of different lengths
Sort of like what I did with the content in this section. Change it up, and excise the fluff (that’s just good writing advice).
2. Use a simple writing style.
People who access your content via mobile don’t always have the same goals and behavior as those browsing on a desktop. Mobile users often:
- Want a specific answer
- Need information quickly
- Are viewing content while doing something else
Pretty language has its place, but it’s not typically in your mobile-optimized content. Make it easy for users to find and understand the information, or they’ll go somewhere else.
More From Eric: How’s Your Image SEO Game?
3. Deliver the right content for your blog.
Many mobile users are still paying data premiums, which means content they choose to view isn’t always 100 percent free. So don’t make them spend both time and data navigating to your site only to find blog content that isn’t right.
- The content for your blog has to match the title. Clickbait sleight-of-hand is no fun for anyone.
- Blogs should be high quality and back up the promise of your title, links and meta tags.
- You shouldn’t hedge with an overly long introduction; get into the content quickly.
4. Provide easy-to-decipher meta tag clues.
Knowing that mobile users are ready to swipe or tap off your content quickly — and that Google’s watching your bounce and dwell rates — you don’t want to attract people who don’t want to read your content.
That means your meta titles and descriptions, which show up in the search engine, need to be clear and focused.
Tell them what your content is about. Clearly. Accurately. Enticingly.
Don’t forget the #mobile user. Optimize your blog’s #content to give them the best experience possible.
5. Break up content to match scrolling needs.
Break longer posts into multiple pages to cut down on scrolling or enhance page speeds. This can help readers absorb digestible, fast-loading segments of longer content without scrolling endlessly.
That said, don’t overdo this. We’ve all seen the listicle sites that list one list item of the promised content on three different pages. Most often this is designed to maximize ad impressions rather than delivering a great user experience.
There’s no hard rule on how much content to display on a single page, but generally it should take be readable within the average time on page for your mobile users.
Google provides a developer speed test you can use to find out if speed is an issue when people access your pages.
6. Alter the format of content delivery throughout the post.
Remember all those 4×4 LEGOs we’re not going to build a castle with? Adding different sizes and shapes makes it easier to create things, but what if all your blocks were yellow?
We’re back at boring again. That LEGO castle needs some color, and so do your pages.
Alter the format of your content throughout the post. Obviously you’ll want to include media such as pictures, video and infographics when possible (that work on mobile), but this is true for text too. Break up content delivery into sections such as FAQs, reviews, call outs and testimonials.
7. Leverage schema markup appropriately.
Design your content around schema markup, which gives Google the opportunity to display your content in mobile search results more efficiently. Schema markup tells the search engine more about your content and its purpose, and it shouldn’t be an afterthought when writing blog posts for mobile audiences. Many mobile users will find answers to their queries directly in Google’s search results in featured snippets which are powered by schema. Make sure you have the relevant tags on your content so Google can feature your content.
For a list of all schema you can use, check out schema.org
8. Keep mobile in mind when selecting images.
Choose images that are going to display appropriately on mobile devices, and double check your posts on various platforms to ensure images are compressed properly. The wrong images or an unresponsive design slows performance on page and can even make it impossible for users to read your content.
9. Take care with links and CTAs.
Finally, if you link from your content, choose outbound links that are mobile-friendly. This is a good idea for all links but is critical for any CTAs.
Why spend all this time optimizing your post for mobile before pushing the user into an unpleasant experience or to a page that simply doesn’t work.
The need to create content that works for mobile users is only going to grow. We may still be more tethered than Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke predicted in 2001: A Space Odyssey, but golden age science fiction is rapidly becoming reality. At least where mobile devices are concerned.
And brands that don’t keep up and cater their content accordingly are likely to become lost in digital space.
Keep Reading: How Small Businesses Can Harness Local Mobile Marketing