4 Steps to Optimizing Your Website For Mobile Pest Control Users

Columns - PPMA Pulse

December 12, 2018

Consumers spend more than five hours a day on their smartphones, with mobile traffic accounting for 63 percent of all online traffic in the United States, according to SimilarWeb. While you may have already spent significant time and money creating a robust website, the investment you make in optimizing it for mobile users is imperative to its success. Google notes that having a mobile site that’s slow or hard to navigate doesn’t just hurt short-term conversions, it impacts a person’s perception of a brand overall, as more than half of people look poorly on brands with mobile sites that are not designed for use on a smartphone.

As this trend towards mobile continues, it’s essential that pest control companies ensure their content is optimized for mobile platforms in order to compete in today’s mobile-dominated world. While there are several factors that go into optimizing your website for a better mobile experience, here are four steps you can take right now that won’t cost you an arm and a leg:

CUT DOWN ON COPY. In an age of dwindling attention spans, short, concise copy can speak volumes. Did you know that consumers have the attention span of a goldfish? In case you’re wondering, that’s roughly eight seconds! When users access your website on their mobile device, they are expecting answers to their questions about your business immediately. To ensure users are staying on your site, serve up thoughtful copy in as few words as possible. For example, within a few seconds, mobile users should be able to learn who you are, what pest control solutions you provide, where you’re located and how to contact you. Stray away from complex words and sentences that may clutter your page, and instead focus on direct, meaningful copy. The easier your information is to digest, the quicker that mobile user can consider becoming a customer.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT PHOTOS. Choosing the right mobile-friendly images for your site is equally as important to user engagement as concise copy. KISSmetrics highlights that 40 percent of people abandon a mobile website that takes more than three seconds to load, and a common culprit of slow load times is large image files. Detailed images, while impressive, could actually be slowing down your mobile site, causing your bounce rate to soar.

To combat this, try swapping out large image files with smaller ones. If a highly detailed image must be used, there are also a whole host of free image compression tools available on the web, including JPEG Optimizer, Optimizilla and CompressNow, all of which allow you to compress an image and optimize it for the lowest file sizes available without sacrificing image quality.

EASY TO NAVIGATE. Whether it be for convenience factors or personal preference, more and more users are accessing content on their mobile devices instead of on their desktop computers. Because of this, it’s incredibly important that the mobile version of your website is easy to navigate quickly.

For example, if you want users to specify which state they live in to better assist them in their pest control needs, utilize a drop-down menu of states for the user to scroll through rather than having them type their state into a search bar. By reducing unnecessary typing, you’re allowing the user to navigate your mobile site more quickly and efficiently. Touch feedback is another great way to cater to a mobile users’ needs, and utilizes text highlights and color changes to reassure users of what they selected, and indicates what actions are enabled and disabled.

AUTOMATE IF YOU CAN. The Professional Pest Management Alliance (PPMA) commissioned research to better understand how consumer behaviors relate to the pest control industry, and found an increase in mobile usage across Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers alike. Seventy-six percent of Millennials and 72 percent of Gen Xers prefer to receive mobile alerts prior to a professional arriving at their home, with 42 percent of Baby Boomers also preferring text reminders of service appointments. By knowing how your customers like to communicate, you’ll be able to serve them information how and when they want it.

Implementing automated SMS reminders is another way to optimize your overall mobile strategy while giving consumers what they need. GoReminders, Appointfix and Reminderly are great platforms for sending automated text reminders to your customers so that your staff doesn’t have to do it manually. Additionally, 78 percent of Millennials prefer to book an appointment online, and 77 percent also find online payments most appealing. To make it easier for users to book an appointment via mobile, only ask for what you need to complete the reservation. According to Vizlly, you lose 10 percent of your bookings for every unnecessary field in your form, so keep it simple and only ask for name and contact information to start.

FINAL THOUGHTS. While capturing the fleeting attention of mobile users may seem like a daunting task, by cutting down on copy, choosing the right photos, simplifying navigation and automating what you can, you’ll be on your way to a more mobile-friendly web presence without breaking the bank. As we head into the new year, make mobile optimization a priority for your pest managemnet firm today!

Cindy Mannes is executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance and vice president of public affairs for the National Pest Management Association. She can be reached at cmannes@pestworld.org. For more information about PPMA, visit www.npmapestworld.org/ppma.