Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Mobile Site Migration Planning: Rolling Your M-Dot Into Your .Com

Mobile-First Mentality Adoption Continues On

The mobile mind shift has created a paradigm in which the understanding is that each individual expects more out of each interaction, and their smartphone is the epicenter of their core interactivity.
If your desktop experience is being redesigned, or your business is transitioning to a mobile-first point of view, you’ll want to discuss what you need to consider when migrating your stand-a-lone mobile website into your existing desktop website. The primary reason for this type of migration is typically a transition to responsive or adaptive Web design. Making this decision will help you consolidate SEO authority, create a streamlined experience, reduce resources, and scale updates across all device types from a central code base. Keep in mind, you must really consider if this is what your desired mobile experience should be, because there are instances where responsive may not be the right choice.
However, with this being Google’s preferred method of Web presentation for mobile, as well as the increased understanding that brand consistency drives momentous brands such as Apple, Google, and Amazon, responsive is, of course, a no-brainer. But, if you already have a mobile website, it becomes quite the undertaking.
There are a few things required – well, actually more than a few - that will be needed in order to ensure a smooth transition from m-dot to www-dot.

Step 1 – Identifying WHO Is Necessary

Many times we focus on WHAT is necessary, in terms of tasks, and not the WHO. I find that identifying which individuals, committees, etc. need to be involved helps streamline workflow and fortifies support for getting the job done.
Typical teams involved in this type of migration:
  • Brand
  • Mobile/Mobile Marketing
  • IT/IS/Dev
  • Digital Marketing and Analytics
  • E-Commerce (if you’re a retailer, if you’re using a commerce platform to capture leads, or support non-retailer transaction activities)
  • Marketing
  • Creative
  • User Experience

Step 2 – Identify WHAT Is Necessary

So we know the goal is to consolidate/roll the mobile site into the desktop site. But, each team will be required to take action in order to reach the end goal.
  1. Identification of all mobile pages
  2. Identification of existing redirects (so you don’t create redirect strings)
  3. Mapping(s) of mobile to desktop pages
  4. UAT (user acceptance testing) of the new responsive design
  5. Optimization of desktop pages for both desktop and mobile.
  6. Custom 404 page for mobile users, if a page no longer exists or is improperly mapped
  7. Device display testing
  8. Resizing of image(s) for mobile break point(s)
  9. Identification of mobile feature/function gaps for transition or retirement
  10. Current state audit of mobile site (to identify later if your migration was successful)
  11. Brand and marketing messaging/voice change(s)/gap(s)
  12. Audience gap analysis (what’s different between your mobile and desktop users)
  13. Load testing – can your desktop environment handle all the new mobile users?
  14. Analytics tagging and report updates

Step 3 – Consider WHY You’re Doing This

This is a huge step because this is the business justification for resources. If you can’t answer why this benefits your audience, positions your business for future success, creates scalable efficiencies, and ensures you’re in line with your competitors, then you won’t be able to get this done.
Remember, if you want a separate, unique experience that incorporates your existing desktop experience, but is specific to mobile users….then, you may not want to do this consolidation. It’s OK to find out during the WHY phase that there’s not a good enough reason to move forward.

Step 4 – So YES, We’re Going to Do This. WHEN and HOW?

Timing may seem like the least of your concerns, except that no matter what the organization, each of the teams in step two has their own timeline(s), goal(s), and plan(s) for executing their parts. Just think of the last time you said, "Well it’s just a canonical tag, and can’t we just squeeze it into the next release…" What was the response? I’m sure it wasn’t, "Sure, no problem!" The best way to begin your mobile migration plan is to start with your top three priorities. The priorities will help you break out this project into the necessary work streams that get the job done, and done right!
For many these will be: 1) traffic, 2) revenue, and 3) visibility. But a great way to really understand the overall value is a nifty tool provided by Google called the Full Value of Mobile Calculator.
So now you’ve got your priorities, whatever they may be. In my next article, we’ll discuss what you’re going to do with everything in the WHAT section, to successfully roll your m-dot into your new responsive site.