Shrink Your Site To Become Huge

Mobile Store.ClinicalPosters

It's a fact. You gain more attention when you lose weight.

By Kevin RR Williams

TECHNOLOGY I lost about 25 pounds this year. Pressure exerted on the knees is multiplied by an order of magnitude. In a spry version of myself, I could nimbly carry multiple bags of groceries upstairs in one trip. As I gained weight, the bags seemed to get heavier too. Instead of stacking three cases of water, I would lift one. When I reached the steps, drinking a bottle to "lighten the load" crossed my mind.

To my knees, that extra 25 pounds felt like 75. Another 25 pounds of groceries was exerting nearly 150 additional pounds on these poor patellas. Losing weight was progressive. People first noticed it in my face. Then it was in my gut. Now I am punching new holes in belts to keep up pants with waists that are several visible inches too large. My wife even pulled a favorite single-button Givenchy suit of my smaller self from the closet and it fits!

Is Your Website Too Fat?

Websites can gain "weight" too — by substance and dimension. Remember when 17-inch laptops and 24- to 30-inch desktop computers where the envy of everyone? Web developers rushed to fill up these large displays with content. The sidebar was born. Web pages got bigger — dimensionally. With content that's 920 pixels wide on ClinicalPosters, the hips still look downright slim on a 30-inch display. But before it could be expanded further, mobile tablets and smartphones became popular. Now everyone is scrambling to make pages smaller.

Store.ClinicalPosters is not gigantic. It shares the same physical dimensions as ClinicalPosters. Comparing content, a recent Google search of the store name returned about 2,400 results — about two fifths the amount of the top-level domain. That's not the amount of physical pages. These results are mostly mentions here and on various social media sites.

Now Amy (nickname for human anatomy store) has gotten smaller — dimensionally. With the plethora of tablets and smartphones browsing the Web, it's important to have both a strong desktop and mobile presence.

Sure, everything scales down automatically. But that's like squeezing into a suit that's too small and telling everyone to stand back when they look so we seem smaller. A nice feature is available to Safari browser users. Standardized legible text is presented by tapping the Reader button in the address bar. You may be using this function to read this blog now. Unfortunately, Reader doesn't work well for shopping carts. It hinders organic navigation and excludes supplemental information in the sidebar or footer.

The relatively few visitors that checked out on an iPhone with unoptimized pages are to be commended. Typically, when mobile visitors land on a page, they zoom in and read just that single page (or a portion of it) and leave. However, when the page is formatted for their specific device, they remain longer, interacting with more content — increased page views in site engine optimization parlance.

Which Diet Is Best For Your Site?

Our online human anatomy store is a mix of quasi-static pages and temporary ones generated on the fly. Static product pages can be indexed so they appear within search engine results. (Good SEO.) That's probably the way your site is — directories of static documents. If so, you can use a script to detect hardware devices or browser dimensions. Then automatically apply an alternate style with different margins, larger text is presented. This works well when all the styling is stored in an external CSS file.

Amy has learned how to detect browsers. She can generate both static pages and temporary ones. The first thought was to have her produce a duplicate set of smaller static pages. But that could present problems with search result landing pages. So she was allowed to continue managing static product pages for desktop and tablet users. A modified CSS applies bolder text with increased contrast. There are three versions of the Store.ClinicalPosters landing page — desktop, tablet, and smartphone. Every smartphone page, however, is generated on the fly. This allows realtime integration with inventory and offers other advantages. Smartphone-optimized pages may be reminiscent of columnar Web pages from the 1990's but on a mobile phone, the simplified presentation is greatly appreciated.

Take Amy On The Road

But changes to the store were not just about shrinking pages. After losing a significant amount of weight, clothes must be tailored for a better fit. More user-friendly features have been added even to the desktop version. During checkout, Amy analyzes selections and presents more appropriate recommendations — even showing what your poster selections look like when framed.

The crown jewel is the post-checkout customer page. You'll want to buy something just to gain access to this gem. Customers can login to a secure page to view the status, click to see tracking information from appropriate carriers with ETA, add additional comments to open orders, email customer service or print a duplicate invoice. Remarkably, all these benefits have been included in the mobile version. Yes, you can take Amy on the road. So if I am away from the phone, running up the steps with arms full of groceries, Amy can intuitively answer just about any question you may have.

Many other features have been added and there are more to come. The important announcement this week is that Amy is mobile. Despite vigorous internal testing on multiple devices, a few glitches are anticipated. In fact, some former features (relating to alternate payment methods) have been disabled. Take Amy for a spin — perhaps even spend a few bucks on a poster to get the full effect. She can be a cheap date. Then share comments. Perhaps your suggestions will be crafted into the next phase of the online store. After that's complete, we can expand to the rest of the site.

Do you have plans for a mobile site? Remember, a smaller format can reach a larger audience for increased Web traffic.

Tags: increase website traffic, seo, site ranking, social media