Advanced mobile optimization tips

As mobile marketing continues its rise into the mainstream market, many companies are becoming more savvy as to how to properly set up their websites for mobile consumption.

For example, you may have heard by now that it's poor form to create a mobile site that's similar to a desktop iteration. This is because computers and smartphones don't function the same way: The screen is small and coding techniques used with a desktop in mind may not translate to mobile correctly, Mobile Marketer reports.

The news source adds that refinements such as a drop-down menu can be effective on a smaller screen because information can be easily accessed but is also hidden from view to save space. This reduces "visual clutter" and saves your visitors from having to scroll more than they need to.

The smaller words and lack of familiarity with the mobile site may lead some of your customers to want to jump directly to a search bar to find what they're looking for. Make sure you place this feature prominently. The search box should be on every page to avoid creating the hassle of multiple searches or having to continuously press the "back" button.

Again, because of the shrunken screen size, navigation links should be large enough for most thumbs to press on a touchscreen, with enough space between them to avoid accidental link clicks, which can frustrate visitors.

It's generally frowned upon to add images - large or small - to a mobile page, since it takes up space and can lead to page slowdown. However, if you do add a photo or two to your site, make sure their resolution is as small as possible.

Other helpful advice includes listing the most popular items first, adding product reviews for on-the-go users to access ratings on the spot and inserting a link for zip code entry so visitors can determine if a nearby location has a product in stock.

Mashable adds that one aspect mobile designers tend to overlook is the fact that, similar to web browsers, not all handsets display a site the same way.

"Never design a site for a specific device," Craig Besnoy, U.S. managing director for mobile web consultant NetBiscuits, told the news source. "Despite popular belief, everyone does not use an iPhone or Android, nor is their device running the latest version of the operating system."