Going Mobile to Improve Book Sales

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Last week I went with a group of friends to a restaurant for TGIF beers and munchies. The second we all sat down to our table something amazing happened: rather than reach for the stack of menu set upright between the napkin dispenser and shakers, everybody pulled out his smart phone to either check messages or use Facebook or Foursquare to “check-in.” Now, a younger person might think nothing of this, but the moment struck me as a sign that times are changing.
I have worked in search engine optimization for over a decade, back when Google was just a glint in a techie geek’s eye. The things we did to ensure high rankings for websites back then would definitely not work now, in an age where mobile functionality is king. As an author, it should excite you to know that people can read books on their iPhones and Androids with applications from Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, and others. If your books are not available digitally, they may still be purchase via mobile commerce. Regardless of how you offer your works, mobile browsers should be able to properly translate your site content so it’s seen clearly and encourages click-throughs.
How can you achieve this? You have a number of options.
1) Utilize a content management system with built-in mobile plugins. WordPress users have long been able to use a plugin that enables mobile browsers to adapts sites. Recently Blogger initiated a similar feature. Call up this blog on your mobile browser and it’s much easier to read – only disadvantage is that the sidebars are not shown. If you have something to promote, put the links in your post.
2) Generate a mobile-friendly version of your site. Most large sites have mobile counterparts that are called up when you sign on with your iPhone or Android. Twitter, for one, launches into mobile mode when it detects your browser. If you know the CSS, you can code your main site to detect the browser in use and direct the reader to the appropriate pages. If you are not tech savvy, you can employ the services of a web developer to assist you.
3) Utilize a third-party mobile template generator. A search on mobile site conversion will land you several leads that can take your site or RSS and make it readable on mobile browsers. Bear in mind, however, free services are not necessarily free. You may find terms of agreement include insertion of paid advertising in your site.
However you decide to go mobile, do it quickly. If a smart phone user in unable to read your site on a tiny browser, he is less inclined to delve further and learn about your books.