Your Publication on Mobile: Why Smaller Screens are a Big Deal

July 15, 2015

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Not all publishers are sophisticated media giants with a dedicated focus on maximizing readership anywhere and everywhere. Subsequently, most publishers lack a well-conceived mobile strategy, let alone a mobile-friendly or mobile responsive website.

News Alert: This is a huge missed opportunity!  Need more convincing?

Need more proof? Clifford Levy, editorial lead at the New York Times, said:

"Every division in the company is looking at how they can shift more resources to mobile. We're trying something in the newsroom as a whole: How can we think more about our journalism in the context of the device..."

Wow. Did that sink in? If so, here are a few suggestions on how to get into the mobile game:

Develop a Mobile Responsive Design

There’s nothing that will make people leave your site faster than getting to it on a mobile device and then being unable to read anything. If they can’t access the information they need on their devices because your site isn’t mobile-friendly, this is a problem that will like result in a big drop in time-on-site for your views. Most CMS and website platforms have responsive or mobile-friendly options built in, they just require activation and a little customizing.  Not using a CMS with responsive options? At the very least you should consider migrating landing pages or articles over to one.

“Smart Content”

Users can only see what’s dictated by the screen size they’re viewing a site on. Therefore, it makes sense to offer readers more simple options on your mobile site than you would on full web desktop version. Use dynamic content to highlight the right content and situate any associated calls-to-action prominently and with user behavior in mind. For instance, it’s unlikely that your readers will want to fill out a lengthy form or application on their mobile device.  So instead of providing the same option you might on the desktop, you could instead provide them with a short form that emails them with the full application to fill out at a later date.

Consider a Mobile App

Many publishers have mobile apps that compliment their publication’s content. While this type of technical investment may not be the best solution for everyone, it can provide a lot of benefits in terms of accessibility and brand awareness (simply by being right on the mobile screen and being able to fully brand content), while also maximizing on app-specific features such as push notifications that alert a reader as to when there’s new content available. Mobile apps are usually a good solution for higher-volume, higher-readership publishers who see consistent loyalty and return visits from their readership.

Know Your Reader’s Environment

If you think about when most people use their devices, you’ll have the ability to serve them content that best fits that activity. For instance, they might read an article on their phone while on the commute to work and are most interested in grabbing quick information. So make use of organizational formatting like bullets and bold text in a shorter piece, and consider things like the ability to hear sound in a busy transit station.

Do a gut check on how accessible your content is on mobile devices (or use our "Mobile Ready Check" tool). As publishers, it’s crucial to recognize the shift to mobile in general, and maximize on the opportunities available to get content into the hands of hungry readers. Right now, this is on mobile.

 

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