Hey there, desktop mobile reader!
OK, so I may be wrong, but I THINK you’re reading this on mobile (like most of my readers). And if you are, you probably want to get right to the good stuff, so you can be on your way, right?
And hey, desktop readers feel this way too. But I’ve learned to write a little differently to keep you, my mobile reader, from leaving too quickly.
Mobile bounce rates are dropping, but…
Mobile visits are still climbing, And you know what it’s like reading on a smartphone… small screens, big fingers, pesky popups. It’s not always a friendly experience.
But to keep readers around, we HAVE to make it more friendly. How are we going to tell our stories and reach our customers otherwise?
So let me give you a leg up with some tips on how to write for mobile readers.
First, always check your work on mobile
Yes, this is obvious, but it’s all too easy to write on desktop, hit publish and walk away.
What looks short on desktop will be mega long on a phone screen, but the only way you’ll know is to check. One trick I use is to just resize my browser window to a narrow size to estimate how it’ll look on mobile.
Grab those eyeballs
Your home page headline should give them a reason to stay. This is prime real estate on your website. Give them an idea of what to expect on your site.
Please, please don’t use “Welcome to Our Website.” It’s a nice sentiment, but doesn’t say anything about who you are and is a waste of the most important space on your site.
Have a blog site? If the home page isn’t fixed or static, make sure your header has a tagline or subhead telling readers what you’re about. Remember, your blog headlines are always changing, so try to have a consistent message at the top.
Front-load headlines for mobile. Keep the most important information in the first 40 characters in case the headline is cut off in the screen view, in emails or on social.
Use copy elements that grab attention on the page. The first things visitors look at are headlines, pictures, captions and subheads. Sure, you’re using headlines, but what about subheads? And photo captions? Try them.
Some sites even put links in captions. It’s not a bad idea and might get you some clicks.
Other eye-grabbing elements: block quotes (or tweetable quotes), bullet points, lists, photos, videos, infographics and even GIFs.
Make the first sentence count. See my post on hooking your reader early. You want them to keep reading!
Keep it short
The page or post itself doesn’t have to be short, just the text. Long-form content can be successful, but try to keep your writing light and tight. And don’t be afraid to break a few grammar rules to do this. Starting sentences with conjunctions, for example, will still get the point across. 😉
Use shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs. You’re writing for people on the go now. They skim or scan text on mobile and even on desktop, so keep paragraphs to 3 sentences or less.
Avoid a screen full of text on mobile. Readers are turned off by huge blocks of text. Again, use shorter paragraphs and other elements to break up the space. I try not to have more than 3 paragraphs without a subheadline.
Sell the click
“Sell the click” in the Meta description tag of your page too. What tag is that? It’s the short snippet or description that shows up under the page name in Google search results.
You’re competing with all the other sites that show up in results. Your description should “sell” or entice them to click on yours. If you use the Yoast SEO plugin, click “edit snippet” and enter your description there.
Are you using a call-to-action or CTA? Every page or post should have one, even if it’s just “sign up for my emails.” Be careful with using pop-ups for this. They don’t always work well and can be annoying on mobile.
Where did your CTA go on mobile? Remember, things get repositioned. And that sidebar with your newsletter signup box is now at the bottom on mobile.
Long links are better for mobile clicks. Users shouldn’t have to zoom in to click a link. So, avoid one-word links like: “See our post on mobile marketing here.” Instead link whole phrases or sentences: “See our post on mobile marketing.”
When writing for mobile readers, grab their attention, keep it short and sell the click! See you on mobile. 😉