5 Ways to Make Your Website Mobile

People are spending a lot more time browsing and consuming information on mobile devices these days, and we're shopping that way, too – especially with the boom of iPads and other tablets. A quarter of us did the bulk of our online shopping from a mobile device on Black Friday.

If your jewelry site or online shop is not readable on a smartphone or tablet, you are losing sales and customers. Here are a few ways you can remedy that.

Park your shop on a mobile marketplace. Because so many of us shop online, all major online marketplaces have an app that lets buyers easily navigate their shops. It's a whole lot easier to shop a site via app than to call it up on your mobile device's Internet browser.

A few apps you should have on your phone if you buy or sell on . . .

Etsy. Etsy's app is available for iPhone and iPad as well as Android.

Ebay has a very highly rated app, available via iTunes or Google Play (Android).

Both are designed to help both buyers and sellers – meaning you can post products on the fly. Offers a shopping/selling app via their website.

Bonanza doesn't have its own app yet but retrofitted their site so it's easier to shop and sell on mobile devices.

Set up a shop on Square Market and link to it from your website. Square Market shops sync with the Square payment systems Square Register app so they're easily viewed – and shopped – on phones and tablets. This won't make an existing website browsable on mobile devices, but it will allow you to post and sell your jewelry on a platform that is, without paying hosting or relisting fees.

Have your site professionally designed by someone who promises mobile viewing as part of the package. These days, it should always be part of the package – but always ask before you commission a design.

Pay someone to do a mobile conversion. Because so many websites were established before the boom of mobile web surfing – which only took off in the last couple years – a whole industry has sprung up around converting sites for mobile devices. Ask around or post an ad on odesk or elance. You'll find you can get this done pretty reasonably now, and the sales you may be losing will more than make up for the investment.

Download a plugin. If you have a WordPress site that doesn't have mobile design built in, you can download a free app that will do it for you. I use one called WPtouch on my WordPress site, which takes out all the magazine-like text wrapping when people call it up on phones or tablets. More than once, I've met someone at an event, mentioned my blog and watched as they whipped out their phone to check it out. WPtouch works, I'm relieved to say. The Jewelry Loupe looks different on a phone than a full-size computer screen, but the images are all there and it's surprisingly easy to read.

If you have a blog or a website that takes advantage of a desktop's horizontal screen, a mobile app or plugin like WPtouch will reconfigure it vertically, so that texts appear before images and you can scroll down. If there's an ecommerce aspect, it will make that touchscreen-friendly. 

CATHLEEN MCCARTHY is a freelance writer whose stories appear in Town & Country, AmericanStyle, Art & Antiques, and her own site, The Jewelry Loupe. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

NET PROFITS is a regular feature about using the Internet for jewelry selling of special interest to those with a home-based jewelry business that appears in Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Learn more in the July 2014 issue in "Is your site mobile?"

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