When it comes to optimizing a blog for mobile traffic, most people simply think of text areas that wrap while maintaining the text size.
Unfortunately, it goes a little deeper than that…
Firstly, think about how many of your visitors actually come to your blog via mobile devices. Twitter and Tumblr were predominantly mobile-use platforms from the start. However, as time went on, more and more people started using Facebook on their phones and tablets as well. Not to mention platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, with the latter actually being designed for mobile use.
The big issue is the screen size.
Phones come in a variety of different screen sizes – and so do tablets. That brings a few issues to the table:
1. On mobile devices, your sidebars typically either disappear, or they are stacked below the content.
If you get a mobile user to read through a blog post of 500 words or more, it is extremely unlikely that he or she will scroll down any further to view all of the (desktop) sidebar widgets.
They may scroll down a little bit – but if you have a sidebar that goes on and on forever, good luck with anyone checking it all out on a small screen smartphone.
As such, many websites do away with the sidebar completely – and some blogs are following suit. Instead, they add the categories as a menu widget in the footer, and they add a calendar for the archives.
The reason why they do it as a menu widget is because it collapses on mobile view. As such, when a blog visitor only scrolls down a little bit (beyond the end of your content), the categories widget will only take up the space of ONE LINE. If you have something important after that, it is more likely to be seen.
2. The fact that your sidebars are gone, means that you have less virtual real estate to work with.
You have to squeeze your content, your graphics, and your marketing message into a narrow, tight space.
The logical solution is to only focus on building your list – or if you choose not to, at least pick ONE primary focus. There simply isn’t enough space to promote different things in such a small space without cluttering it – and clutter brings its own problems.
In addition to that, most of your blog visitors will be unlikely to read the whole post. On a desktop, your best place to add an opt-in form or opt-in offer is right below the content – because by then you have already established a measure of credibility through the quality of your content.
But if most people don’t read it, it means that most people will never even see the opt-in form below the blog post.
As such, if you want your opt-in form or opt-in offer to be seen, you will need to add one at the top as well. Depending on what your theme allows or facilitates, you could add it to the header widget area, or you could add it between the header and the content, or between the page title and the content.
If need be, you can add it manually to each new blog post – just keep the code handy in a text file.
3. Graphics become small, and the text on graphics can easily become ineligible – depending on the screen size.
As such, if you use a graphic to display the text of your opt-in offer or opt-in form, it is likely to become more and more difficult to read as the screen size shrinks. When it gets to the point where it becomes ineligible, most people will simply ignore it.
And of course, you will lose any potential subscribers you may have had, or clicks you may have generated to a specific offer or social profile.
4. People who use mobile devices to visit your blog are actually more likely to take action than their desktop counterparts.
On the flip side, however, that means that if your blog isn’t properly optimized for mobile, you are likely to be losing more opt-ins or clicks than you would have lost from the same number of visitors using desktops.
5. If you hide your blog’s text-version title and tagline and replace it with graphic text in the header image or the logo, that too may become ineligible if the screen size becomes too small.
As such, some people landing on your blog may not even be able to see what it is about.
If you do use an image to display your title and tagline, you may want to use a blog theme that allows you to show the blog title and tagline/description when viewed on a tiny screen.
If you really want to optimize your blog for mobile, make everything a simple and as focused as possible. Don’t have anything on there that you don’t need – but instead decide on ONE single action you want your visitor to take, and set up the whole blog to convert as many visitors as possible into action takers.
The only way to do that is to simplify your blog. Sometimes less is more. And often, less accomplishes more.
If you fail to really, really optimize your blog for mobile visitors…
You may never know how many opt-ins, subscribers, and sales you lost.