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How to Be Really Mobile-Ready

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by Deltina Hay, DeltinaU

Deltina Hay

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The need to optimize for mobile is crystal clear today, but many publishers look only at aspects of mobile readiness such as websites, mobile apps, and mobile advertising. What about the other tools required for an effective online marketing toolbox?

To make sure you have entirely optimized for mobile, you need to go beyond the obvious. When you take the time to set up a new online marketing tool, you don’t want to discover later that it does not integrate with tools you already have or that it is not keeping up with current technology.

When I think about adding a new tool or service to my online marketing toolbox, I consider several things:

  • How well does it integrate with my existing tools?
  • Does it have a straightforward API (Application Programming Interface) in case I need to integrate it myself?
  • Is the tool hosted by a reputable company with a strong user base?
  • Does it offer add-on apps or extensions that enhance its usefulness and keep up with current technologies?
  • Does it have a robust support forum where I can ask questions of the hosting company as well as of other users?
  • Does it have the features I need today as well as a roadmap of new features to accommodate future needs?

Recently, I’ve added another very important question:


To determine whether a tool makes that mobile cut, I look at both its mobile readiness and its mobile friendliness. A tool may claim to be mobile-ready simply because it looks OK on mobile devices. But I want to know that it is offering the best mobile experience possible by taking advantage of available mobile device features. Mobile doesn’t only mean smaller.

Tools to Axe, Acquire, and Adapt

As painful as it may seem, it is prudent to take a hard look at the tools already in your toolbox to determine whether each of them makes the mobile cut. When I assessed the most important tools in my own toolbox earlier this fall, I concluded that some of them just had to be replaced. Here’s a look at a few that had to go and at what I chose instead.

My e-mail marketing manager. The e-mail marketing manager I was using didn’t measure up for several reasons, so I switched to MailChimp, which integrates with almost every other available relevant tool. Also, I found that its service is more affordable and has more features. And most important, MailChimp has added many features that make it both mobile-ready and mobile-friendly.

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When you’re designing an e-mail campaign, MailChimp allows you to change settings specifically for the mobile version, and you can preview the campaign as it will appear on a desktop and on a mobile device.

MailChimp’s sign-up form is another mobile-friendly aspect of its offerings because it adjusts beautifully to mobile devices. And the form also adheres to mobile standards by defining form fields specifically for field types such as plain text or e-mail.

You have only a few seconds to gain each potential subscriber. Don’t lose any of them because you have a poorly designed sign-up form.

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My e-commerce solution. My previous e-commerce service provider turned out to be one of those companies that just does not “get” mobile. When I asked about when its shopping cart checkout would accommodate mobile devices, the answer I got was that it already did since users could simply “pinch and pull” the forms as needed. (Although I didn’t say it, I thought: Are you kidding me? It’s hard enough to compete online today without making it even harder for prospective customers to buy something.) Company staffers also ignored my repeated requests to include back buttons so mobile users could return to previous screens.

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After some frustrating exchanges, I finally decided to make the leap to Shopify. It met all my criteria, and the people there had all the right answers when I questioned them about mobile readiness and friendliness.

The entire shopping experience on my Shopify site is mobile-ready and mobile-friendly. Catalog and individual product pages offer a nice mobile browsing experience.

In addition, the checkout process takes advantage of mobile device features such as touchscreen and mobile-friendly forms.

Now that 30 percent of online purchases are being made from mobile devices—with that percentage growing rapidly (see bit.ly/1MxT1H4)—you cannot compromise on mobile e-commerce strengths.

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Website solutions. Although I didn’t find that I needed to replace my WordPress website, I did come to the conclusion that I needed to update its navigation menu. Some time ago, I had updated my theme to one that was mobile-friendly; but I had never been happy with the navigation, and I decided this was the time to make its menu more mobile-friendly.

I am a big fan of megamenus, the navigation solution that allows users to navigate to just about anywhere on a site right from within the main navigation menu.

But it was a challenge to find a megamenu solution that worked well on mobile devices. While many solutions claim to be mobile-friendly because they are responsive (i.e., they allow adjusting to a device’s screen size), it is important not to confuse responsiveness with mobile friendliness. The fact that a menu “adjusts” to a smaller screen doesn’t mean it will be easy for mobile users to navigate.

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The UberMenu megamenu WordPress plugin (bit.ly/1tgGu2T) ended up being the best solution for me. This megamenu not only adjusts nicely to mobile screens; it provides mobile-friendly navigation using touchscreen technologies.

A pleasant mobile experience on your website will keep visitors there longer and also keep them coming back. And good mobile navigation is critical to that experience.

Deciding on Mobile Moves
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Is it time to dump some of the tools in your own online marketing toolbox because they don’t make the mobile cut? I hope these examples will help you make assessments you need to make so that your online presence won’t go extinct along with an outdated toolbox.

If you use a lot of tools as I do, it may not be practical to make your assessments in one sitting. Instead, you might want to keep an ongoing list of your existing tools and, as you use them, note which ones are making the cut and which ones may need further investigation.

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When you’re seeking replacements, ask questions about how a tool or service is currently mobile-ready and mobile-friendly as well as questions about plans for future improvements.

Responses about future plans should align with current trends in new technologies. Think, for instance, about how touchscreen is relevant to all devices nowadays, not just mobile, or how integration of tools has become the norm.

Deltina Hay—the author of three books on social media, the mobile web, and search optimization—reports that she has helped more than 13,000 people find success online with her video courses, found at DeltinaU.com. She served as chair of the IBPA board of directors from July 2013 to July 2015.

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