If you’re a blogger and you don’t own and use both a smartphone and a tablet, you’re already falling behind. Not that many bloggers don’t own these things. As a whole bloggers seem to be technologically advanced people who appreciate the finer gadgets in life. But even when they do, they might not be using them in the right way.
What is the right way? For bloggers it means using the tablet or smartphone in the way that their readers do. Without that they’re missing out on big trends that promise to change the industry in the next few years.
1. Check website design
How much of your website’s traffic comes from mobile devices? Google Analytics makes that easy to check, so there’s no excuse for not knowing. If you’re anything like one of the blogs I run, over 30 percent of your traffic comes from people browsing on smartphones and tablets. For us that’s a good 150 percent increase year-over-year, and n over 400 percent increase in the last two years.
Every so often — once a week at least — you should check your site from both a tablet and a smartphone to get an idea of what readers see. Is the site easily navigable? Do they have to zoom in to click your links? Is your site too wide to fit within a smartphone screen? Check your site as though you’re a reader and not the publisher. It will give you a better idea of what needs improving.
2. Use the commenting system
When you respond to comments yourself (you do respond to comments, right?), do so from your smartphone and tablet. That will kill two birds with one swipe: you’ll respond to those comments for one, and you’ll also get a feel for your own site’s mobile commenting system. That knowledge will allow you to make necessary changes.One complaint we used to get frequently: commenting on the mobile platform just isn’t the same as on the desktop website. Many of our regular commenters had started reading from their mobile phones, and so wanted to comment from there as well. But the interface was quite different on our mobile site, so they got discouraged. The last thing you want is to discourage your regular commenters.
3. Check search engine results
Go back to Google Analytics and check your stats. This time look for your biggest traffic referrers. Chances are that Google tops this list. Even if you have heavy social campaigns, Google in all likelihood remains one of your biggest referrers. But you might have noticed that those referrals have dropped recently. It has a lot to do with mobile.
Pull out your smartphone and type in a basic search. Notice something peculiar? While there are 10 results on a search page, you see three of them tops. If there are CPC ads on top you’ll see even fewer organic results. That makes being No. 1 that much more important. Those who aren’t No. 1 will see a drop in referrals.
Since more people are searching and reading blogs on mobile phones, you might have to adjust your SEO strategy. That is, you’ll have to pick some keywords for which you want to rank highly, No. 1 if possible. That means a greater effort on those fronts, so you’ll have to drop your work with other keywords and phrases. But at least you’ll have a workable strategy.
4. Using your app
What is a smartphone that isn’t loaded with apps? A nonexistent smartphone by today’s standards. People are gobbling up all the apps they can handle. So of course your site has an app, right? If not you might want to get on that. Bloggers who don’t have apps for their sites are missing a great opportunity.
There is tons of noise on the web. It’s basically one big distraction. But when people download your app, they’re giving you their attention. Maybe it will be for only a few minutes, but that’s quite a bit longer than the amount of their attention you have when they stumble on your website. As any advertiser tells you, they pay for people’s attention. If you can capture it, you can attract more and higher quality advertisers.
(Plus you might make a few bucks off the app itself if it’s good enough.)
5. Downloading industry apps
People not only love apps, but they also love apps lists. You can attract their attention, then, by creating lists of apps in your industry. Of course, you can’t really make a solid list without first using the apps yourself. That means downloading apps related to your industry and giving them a try.
While many apps are free, there are many that will cost you money. When it comes to the iOS platform, a fee is almost required if you expect a half decent app. You can try to contact the developer to get a free review copy, but you can also consider it a business expense and just download it. After all, we’re not talking about downloading hundreds of apps. We’re talking about those in your industry. It might only be a couple.
The way people consume blogs is changing. While they might have surfed from their laptops and desktops in the past, they’re increasingly visiting from their smartphones and tablets. It’s up to bloggers to adapt and accommodate these mobile viewers. This involves using their smartphones and tablets in ways that their readers do. But once they do that, bloggers have big advantages over the competition.