Research has shown that 63% of searchers are now using more than one device to conduct searches for local businesses. This means a growing number of pet owners are using their phones, iPads, and other mobile devices to find local pet care. In fact, more Google searches are now made on mobile phones than on desktops.
This means if your website is hard to read or navigate on smartphones, or if people struggle to find the basic information they need (like your phone number or address)… they’ll move on to find a practice website that’s easier to use in mobile situations. Ouch.
6 Traits of a Successful Mobile Website
1. Cover the basics
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how difficult it is to find a company’s address or phone number sometimes. Desktops generally keep this information in a few different places, including About pages and Contact pages.
The issue is that this doesn’t work for a mobile site. When people look at your website on a mobile device, chances are they’re looking for something they need pretty quickly. Otherwise, it could wait until they got home and booted up their laptops.
Make it easy for them to find your information quickly without needing to navigate through menus and tabs. Users tend to look at the bottom of the page for information first, so use your address, phone number, and hours of operation as your footer.
Bonus: to make it extra easy for pet owners to find your clinic, try setting up your phone number as click-to-call and adding driving directions or an embedded Google map.
2. Keep it simple
Have you ever read a website or article and thought that they must be making up words? This is a pretty common occurrence, especially in marketing – but it isn’t necessarily a trend that works.
Of course, you want your practice to stand out and be unique, but there are better ways to go about it. If you create new and unique terms to describe your practice’s services, you run the risk of confusing and even alienating your visitors. Avoid creating brand-specific or unconventional terms, and stick to industry terms that your clients know and understand.
3. Simplify the navigation
Obviously, you can’t keep everything about your practice on the front page. You’re going to need other pages that your users can navigate to for additional information.
You’re also going to need an efficient way for users to navigate your mobile website. Keep the menus short and sweet – no one likes trying to hit those tiny lines with their thumbs. You could also set up your logo so that it links back to your home page.
If you have a specific call to action for your visitors – like a seasonal sale on pet products or a new service to feature – put that front and center on your homepage to make sure your visitors see it.
4. Don’t sacrifice your content
Mobile websites generally have much less real estate to work with as far as their design goes. It might be tempting to accommodate this by reducing the amount of content on your mobile website, but don’t do it! It’s an easy shortcut that could end up annoying your visitors.
Your mobile website should be just as informative as your desktop website, so your mobile visitors can get just as thorough an experience. If there’s too much content on the front page of your website for a mobile screen, consider looking into how much of it could be moved to other pages – or use the magic of the preview with a “Read More” button!
5. Show them what others are saying
If your clients are saying nice things about you online, displaying those testimonials on your website is a good way to give potential clients an idea of what they’ll be walking into. They can also be particularly influential for your mobile users, who are generally looking to make a quick decision.
There are a few things you can do with testimonials on your mobile website. You can put them on the front page of your site with your contact information, but if you’re running out of room, it’s perfectly fine to put them on another page. It all comes down to how you want to show off your practice!
6. Make it fast
Did you know that 53% of people will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than three seconds to load?
Because mobile users generally browse when they have a few spare moments, like when they’re waiting in line, your website has a very short time span to make an impression – and you want it to be a good one.
What causes mobile websites to slow down? It probably won’t surprise you that the main culprit is images. On average, images account for over 60% of the information your website needs to load – so when you have big images on your desktop site, it can be a challenge to translate them to a mobile site without causing a traffic jam.
One of the easiest workarounds to this issue is to build a responsive website. This means that your website will recognize the device being used to view it, and will respond to that device – including adjusting image display and formats. Keeping your mobile site user-friendly and informative can be a huge advantage in bringing pet owners through the front doors of your practice – and these tips can help you get there!
Is your veterinary website ready for the mobile world? If you’re not sure, here are a couple of quick and easy tests you can take right now to find out.
Google Mobile-Friendly Test
The most basic test you can perform to ensure that your veterinary website is mobile-friendly is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Google now penalizes websites that aren’t mobile-friendly in mobile searches, so having a practice website that isn’t mobile-friendly could result in a lower ranking in mobile search results. So if local pet owners are searching for nearby veterinary clinics on their smartphones, and you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, you’ll be less likely to show up at the top of their search results, and less likely to get their business.
Luckily, Google lets you outright test if your website meets their standards. Just input your URL, wait a couple of seconds, and see if you get their green stamp of approval.
Test Your Site
It’s important to understand Mobile Responsive Design (also called Responsive Web Design), and what it means to veterinary marketing success. This term means that a responsive website automatically changes to fit the device you’re reading on your phone, tablet, laptop, and so on. Its layout instantly responds to the device’s screen size.
A company called Quirk Tools has developed a neat online Responsive Web Design tool called Test Your Site: https://screenfly.org/
This website is free and it allows you to easily do the following:
- Select “Test your site.” Enter your veterinary website’s domain name (your web address, such as www.yourpracticename.com).
- See exactly how your veterinary website appears on several mobile devices. This includes BlackBerry, iPhone, Android, Playback, and iPad devices.
- Experience your site as a mobile version. As you view your website in this tool, you can click on your site’s links and review each page as it appears and function on all those devices, in real life.
This is incredibly helpful. You’ll know immediately if a) your website is an excellent resource for pet parents using their mobile devices… or b) it’s difficult to use and needs “responsive design” before your prospects move on to another local veterinary website.
If you find that your website is NOT mobile-friendly, you have three options:
- Leave it the way it is. You can hope local pet parents won’t mind working their way around your site, and also hope your local competition isn’t mobile-friendly either. This is a risk.
- Hire a development company to create a separate mobile-friendly version of your site. This can be complicated, time-consuming, and expensive, and when you update your site, you may need to update the mobile version as well, doubling your efforts.
- Convert to a website that’s instantly mobile-ready at all times. This type of website has a mobile responsive design built into the framework. Your website IS your mobile site. No extra cost or hassles are needed. And as more and more local prospects and clients use their phones and tablets, your site is always ready for them!
Please note: The LifeLearn WebDVM veterinary website system includes a mobile-responsive design at its core. Take a look at our gallery of demo sites, featuring attractive website designs that effortlessly rearrange to the device they’re being viewed on.