This post is sponsored and written by Formstack, an easy-to-use online form building solution.

If your analytics show that a large portion of your web traffic is from mobile devices, you are not alone. More and more website hits are coming from smartphones, and not just from people on the go; mobile devices have become a default at home for many people. In order to stay competitive, colleges and universities need to adapt their websites to what works on these devices.

Consider how different the mobile experience is from the desktop experience. You don’t want your audience squinting, confused, or clicking the wrong links; you want them to have the correct information right at their fingertips. In fact, one of out five students has removed a university from their consideration because of a bad website experience. Don’t lose opportunities with potential students just because your site isn’t user-friendly.

Here are a few ways you can start making your website more mobile-friendly and amping up your digital engagement:

1. Get Responsive

The most engaging web pages are responsive, which means they automatically detect and respond to the screen resolution of the device accessing the page. This translates to a website that is easier to navigate. The menu is simplified so users know exactly where to click. Call-to-action buttons are more prominent, which can lead to more digital engagement. If you have a developer handy, Foundation provides a powerful code framework that makes your page easy to design for mobile. Most online form builders also give you the ability to quickly deploy a mobile-friendly, branded form, which helps you capture data with no coding knowledge.

2. Make Online Forms Shorter

When your audience is mobile, easy-to-use forms become even more essential. If form fields are difficult to tap or you have too many to fill out, you may lose a potential contact. Using online form builders, you can create forms that are as effective as possible. Determine which form fields you really need and eliminate the rest to speed up the process of collecting data.

3. Keep It Lean

Forty three percent of students use their smartphones as their primary browsing device. Usability is one of the highest priorities for moving into mobile-friendly design. You are likely to lose your audience’s attention if your interface is clunky or confusing. Opt for buttons over hyperlinks: no one wants to feel like their fingers are too big for navigation. Eliminate busy backgrounds, and keep scrolling to a minimum.

4. Make It Easy to Connect

Mobile users are looking to act, not browse. If you make it difficult to find a contact form, for example, you have set a speed bump in front of a potential student. Mobile-optimized designs put the most important information right in front of the user, making it simple for them to move around your site and find the information they need.

5. Stay Social

More and more people are choosing to engage on social media with businesses, and 68 percent of high school students are using social media to research college. When updating your website for mobile devices, remember to place icons that link to your Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. On articles or blogs, prominent call-to-action buttons prompt your audience to share relevant content with their friends.

What roadblocks have you encountered when trying to market to a mobile audience? How have you taken steps to make your college website more mobile responsive? Let’s talk in the comments below!


About the Author:

Laura Thrasher is a writer at Formstack, an online form building platform that makes it easy to capture and manage data. Based in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, she taught English at the University of Alabama and enjoys sharing what she knows through speaking and writing. She is originally from the Midwest and enjoys good restaurants, cheesy jokes, and running the occasional half marathon. Follow her on Twitter (@lauranav) or Google+.


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