Consider this a bit of friendly advice. After you read this, I want you to grab the nearest smart phone or iPad and look at your site. If it does either of the things I’m about to complain tell you about, go fix it right now.
If you don’t, you could be losing out on visitors, readers and even customers. These are not even major things like difficult forms or teeny text and cluttered sidebars. Those will make your mobile site less than enjoyable/and or usable, sure. But these two tiny details can have such a tremendous impact that you might as well kiss your mobile users goodbye if you don’t fix them immediately.
And they’re completely not a problem on a desktop monitor, so unless you’re paying attention to your mobile site you may never even notice.
Oh, and this is no “it’s just my opinion” kind of thing, either. These are facts.
And here they are.
The One Thing That Will Wreck Your Mobile Site Is…
We’ve been told: they work!
We’ve been told: nobody likes them, but they increase subscription rates!
What we haven’t been told is: they will render your mobile site 100% utterly and completely useless.
The problem with those snazzy popup/popover subscription windows is that they usurp the entire real estate of the mobile screen. On a regular monitor, we click the little X and get on with our day. On a mobile device, we’re stuck sort of pinching and zooming and scrolling around in search of an X that is just somewhere far enough off-screen that it’s impossible to close it and view the site.
Worse? Most of the time these popups don’t even work for their intended purpose. They end up just being a hazy black cloud hovering over the content we want to get to. Even if we were desperate and opted in because we really wanted to get to the page content, or perhaps really wanted to join the mailing list/download the eBook/get the video, we couldn’t. The form fields are missing along with the X button.
By way of disclaimer, I’ll tell you that there are some popups that do work and even display the little X. But not many. And don’t assume that yours does – check it! With the plethora of popup options and plugins, there’s no reason to stick with one that wrecks your mobile site. Either disable it on mobile, or find one that lets a visitor escape to your content.
If you don’t, then you’re literally preventing your audience from ever getting to your site on mobile. Take it from someone who does more web browsing on my iPhone than on my desktop… I will not remember to visit your site on my desktop later.
The One Thing That Will Make Your Mobile Site Kind Of Suck Is…
Hovering share buttons.
I’m talking about the hovering share buttons that so many of us, especially bloggers and content sites, use. In fact, you’re looking at one right now – just check out that fun little plugin hovering over to your left as you read this. You probably use the same one!
These are awesome on desktop monitors. They follow your readers around and make it impossible not to share.
The problem with these babies on mobile is that much like the elusive X button, they hover somewhere just off-screen so you can’t ever really get to them. No amount of pinching and zooming will bring those buttons into view. All you get is a corner of blue or a stray letter.
Now, while this won’t wreck your mobile site, it will make it impossible for anyone to share the content via your mobile site… and that kind of sucks.
Not for me, mind you. If I can’t share your content, I’m pretty sure I’ll eat a cookie and get over it. But it totally sucks for you!
The reason we put those share buttons on our sites is because we want people to share. So why would we want to make that literally impossible for a big chunk of our audience?
I haven’t found a way to fix the floating problem yet but there is a workaround and when you get to the bottom of this post you’ll see what it is: more share buttons.
Since I know my mobile users can’t see those pesky hovering share buttons, I added a few more at the bottom to make it easy. Not all of them – just trying to keep it clean! – but enough that people can still share if they choose on the major social channels that are most important to me.
Yes, you can adjust the margin on the floating bar so it moves more to the left or right. And some people do move it farther toward the right so it appears a bit more visibly on mobile. Of course, there’s the counter-problem which is that now your hover bar is hovering right over your content – yes, I’ve seen that too! So you can never read what’s written under that bar.
Please don’t let that be you! If you want people to share your content, take the easy route and plunk a few extra buttons at the bottom of your post. As long as I’ve been doing it, nobody has ever said to me, “By God, Carol Lynn, I can’t believe you’ve duplicated those buttons!”
I bet most people don’t even notice.
But I bet they’d notice if they wanted to share and the buttons weren’t there!
So that wasn’t too tough, right? Two fairly simple things to fix, but two that can have a major impact on your mobile site. Oh, and if you’re thinking that mobile is not that big a deal? You’ll want to read this post for a few eye-opening stats.
So go now, grab a mobile device and check your site. Be sure it’s readable – and shareable. Then pass this along to two of your friends… and tell them to pass it along to two of theirs… and two of theirs… and before we know it every mobile site on the planet will be fixed… one popup at a time!