How to make sure your website copy works for mobile users

Cheryl Luzet - 20 October 2017

It is now estimated that more websites are loaded on smartphones than on to desktop computers. Since last year, research has shown that mobile use is increasingly overtaking desktop use, and that in our 24/7 society, more people than ever are opting for the convenience of browsing and shopping via their mobile phone. This means that your potential customers are looking to make purchases whilst commuting to work, watching the TV or even waiting for the dentist! Of course, the increasing use of smartphones has made an impact on search engine optimisation techniques, and Google showed how seriously they were taking mobile usage when they announced a new algorithm in 2016. This algorithm meant that sites which had mobile friendly pages ranked higher in the mobile search engines.

So, as well as ensuring that their site pages are mobile friendly, website owners now also need to consider whether they should make changes to their copy to make sure it is tailored to the specific needs of their mobile users. When you are planning your search engine optimisation strategy, it’s really important to take into account mobile usage of your website. To help you get it right, the WagadaHQ team have taken a look at some of the key characteristics of mobile phone users and have explored how these can influence your copywriting style.

Mobile users are often on the go

When you envisage a desktop user, you usually imagine that they are going to be sitting down comfortably and may have the intention of taking their time over your website, reading your blog posts and looking at your image gallery. However, when you think about your mobile users you need to consider that they may be on the bus, buying a coffee or heading off to a meeting. They may be grabbing a few moments in between work and lunch, or on the way to see friends. This means that if your copy is hard to read or difficult to understand they’ll soon be clicking away from your website.

When text is shown on a mobile device it appears to be stretched out and users often have to take the time to scroll down the page or use the pinch and zoom technique to make the text larger. That’s why it can be a good idea to consider the type and size of font that you use for your copy to make things as clear as possible for your reader. Ensure that customers can read your font clearly without having to make it bigger and that it’s easy to scroll through the text using just one hand. You should also include enough white space around your sentences to make sure that they stand out well and that the page is not cluttered and confusing.

Mobile users are time poor

Mobile users often have less time available to browse websites compared to desktop users. They may only have a few minutes to check their phone between meetings or they may be multi-tasking and trying to do two or three things at once. This means that their concentration will be brief and you won’t have long for your page to really grab their attention!

There are however a number of things you can do to help your users understand quickly and efficiently what your business is all about. Firstly, think about your sentences. Long, wordy sentences take up a lot of space on a small mobile screen and they also make it harder for a busy user to remember what you are actually telling them. So try to use short, succinct sentences which quickly get to the point and give your users the information that they really need to know. You can also make the most of subheadings, bullet points and highlighting certain keywords in bold, to make sure that chosen words and phrases stand out from the crowd. Simplicity really is key for holding on to time poor users.

Mobile users want to complete their purchase with the minimum amount of hassle

When mobile users want to buy online they really do want to be able to fulfil their purchase as quickly and simply as possible. If you don’t use your copy to clearly signpost their route to purchase and need your customers to take too many steps, you risk losing a potential sale. Therefore it’s vital to tailor your copy to make sure that it leads your customers along a clear pathway from the first click on your site to the final order.

You could consider using ‘buy now’ buttons, incorporate quick buy shortcuts and use minimal text and explanation to help simplify the process. Another important thing to consider is how your text flows. Well-structured copy will help your users understand easily what they need to do and you should make sure that written instructions follow a clear and logical order. Remember that most mobile users will want to be able to fulfil their purchase one-handed and using only their thumb, so ensure that this facility is available too.

Writing copy for mobile users can certainly be more challenging than writing for your desktop users. We have found that it can be a good idea to test your copy on your mobile users to ensure that it really works for their needs. Find out what they like and don’t like about reading your web copy on their mobile, and work with them to understand what changes are more likely to help them decide to make that final purchase. By getting feedback from your real-world customers you’ll be able to refine and streamline your mobile copy so that it grabs customers’ attention, and lets them do what they need to do simply and easily whilst on the go.