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4 ways to optimize your content for mobile readers

3 min read

Digital Technology

This post is by Lori Randall Stradtman, who designs WordPress sites and blogs about social media trends at Social Media Design and Social Media Examiner.

Mobile devices represent a radical, but necessary shift in how information is processed. At last month’s BlogWorld Expo, Jason Baptiste and Shane Ketterman had a lively session that showed us why it’s so vital to optimize websites and blog posts specifically with a mobile audience in mind.

Ketterman said he periodically checked his analytics to see how his readers were accessing his content. After several months, he noticed a steadily increasing number of readers who were accessing his blog via mobile devices. He also took note of where they were coming from and became more intentional about speaking to them directly instead of talking to them as a  faceless, broad audience.

Worldwide mobile use statistics have been on the rise for the past few years.  When Ketterman discovered that his statistics were consistent with global trends, he decided to make the leap and optimize his content for mobile readers, so that everybody gets a good read.

If you’re reading this right now from a mobile device you know that it’s a very different experience from reading via a desktop monitor, if you even use those anymore. Information has to be concise and interesting enough to hold your interest. How does one cater to mobile readers?

Storylines are essential. Your content has to have a hook to draw readers in and tell them a story in a way that’s good enough to convince them to come back for more. Bite-sized pieces of content are essential, but each morsel has to be well-crafted or else it’s just skimpy and uninteresting. Your content has to be compelling enough to get readers to want to time shift the post.

Time shifting occurs when people discover a post, find it interesting, but do not have the time or space to read it through just then. If it’s interesting enough, they will save it for later by e-mailing it to themselves or via services such as Instapaper. These services make it easy to defer reading something until later, but the content has to be really compelling for someone to actually take the time to read through your post.

Four ways to enhance your reader’s mobile experience:

Make it personal. Create an experience for your readers that reflects who you are.

We’re all publishers now. Remember that you can use mobile devices to break news — consider the guy who tweeted about Osama’s demise.

Remember that we live in the now.  Publish your content as soon as you can. Don’t fret about styling it just right.

Make your ads enjoyable. If you’re going to use ads make sure they’re entertaining.

And as a final note, Baptiste gave us a bit of advice that was so well received that we might have to print up T-shirts with this message:

“Friends don’t let friends use Flash!” Per Baptiste, “Everyone agrees that HTML5 is the way to go.”

How are you catering to mobile readers?

Image credit: bezov, via iStock Photo