As a small business owner of a gym or studio, you may rely heavily on local, tech-savvy customers that find your site on their smartphones. However, your site may not be mobile-friendly, and like many small business owners, you may not know how to fix it. With this dilemma in mind, here are three steps to help you on your way:
1. Adopt a mobile-first frame of mind
The first step to take as you consider revamping your website is to reorient yourself to it. In the past, site owners had a desktop-first mentality. The main focus was to get your site to look good on a desktop/laptop. Then you might start thinking about mobile. However, in October 2016, mobile traffic in the U.S. surpassed desktop/laptop and tablet traffic for the first time, and the trend has only continued in 2017. As a small business owner, this means your customers have transitioned to a mobile-first mentality, or are well on their way. This is especially true as an owner of a fitness or wellness site, as your customers are often well ahead of the curve. Therefore, if you want to keep attracting tech-savvy customers, you’ll want to adopt the same mobile-first mentality that they have.
2. Fix the small things
Once you’ve gotten yourself into a mobile-first frame of mind, give your site an honest once-over from a mobile perspective. You can start with Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Then take the time to visit every page of your site on your smartphone. Start with the text. As you browse your site on a three or four-inch screen, are you squinting to read the text on your About page or latest blog post? If so, you may want to change your site’s default font size. Of course, like everything else in design, it gets complicated. Since font size is relative to font, and some fonts run larger than others, there really is no ideal default font size. Nonetheless, you can easily see first-hand whether your site’s text is too small for smartphones. If it is, and you’re not sure how to fix it, ask a designer or CSS-savvy friend for help.
Another area to look at is your buttons, especially any that might lead to sign-ups at your gym or studio. Is the button big enough to easily tap on a smart phone? As a rule of thumb, Apple recommends buttons that are at least 45 pixels wide and tall. Still, even if your button is big enough to tap, is its text easily readable? If not, it’s time to make it bigger.
3. Get responsive
Just in case you haven’t heard, responsive web design (RWD) is a big deal. In fact, it’s such a big deal, and has been for so long, that it’s almost old news now. At this point, recommending RWD for web design is a bit like recommending Google for search. It’s stating the obvious. And speaking of Google, they recommend responsive design. At the same time, Google’s search algorithm has begun penalizing sites that aren’t mobile-friendly. All the same, many site owners, unsure or what to do, have hesitated to make the transition. As a result, their sites are not “responsive,” which means they don’t change in response to a changing browser-window or a different device. On the other hand, a truly responsive site will not only expand, shrink and rearrange its content to best fit your browser window or device, but will progressively hide or bring back menu items and other content, as needed.
For many small business owners, responsive design is the best way to make their site mobile-friendly without creating an entirely separate mobile version of their site. Of course, if you’re using a site builder like Wix, or a content management system like WordPress, there are many preexisting plugins and themes that will help make your site responsive. However, most site owners will need to reach out to a designer and make a financial investment. However, if having a responsive design leads to more mobile traffic, and more mobile traffic leads to more sign-ups at your gym or studio, then your investment in a responsive design may quickly pay for itself and then some.
4. Getting started
Like getting in shape, making the healthy transition to a mobile-friendly site takes time. Your first step is to adopt a mobile-first mindset, just as your customers are. Once you see the mobile-friendly changes you need to make, you can then start addressing the easy ones, such as larger fonts and bigger buttons. Finally, when you’re ready to make the long-term commitment, it’s time to reach out to a designer to help you transition to a fully-responsive, mobile-friendly site.
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