When we launched our new open course, Writing for mobile. It was great to hear how other people are looking at mobile websites and some of the challenges they’re facing.

One thing that stood out in particular was the difficulty of writing a single piece of content that will work on mobile and desktop.

It’s not easy, and there are many different ways people are approaching it. While some companies are investing in expensive developments to their content management systems to tackle the problem, many are looking to re-write their existing content so it works on mobile too.

Make the space work for you

When your content is being looked at on a desktop, the first thing to remember is you have a lot of real estate to use. When you’re writing for mobile, you go from having 15” in which to get your message across to just 4 or 5.

You might be selling car insurance for example. Why make your users scroll through page after page on a mobile before they see the ‘Get a quote’ button?

Or you might be a charity, launching a new initiative. Instead of using the first few paragraphs to explain who’s involved in this new venture, why not cut straight to the point and explain how people can get involved?

You’ve only got a few lines to get your message across when it comes to mobile, so think carefully about what you want your user to do and make sure that’s the first thing they see, whatever device they’re using.

How you can do it

Here’s a couple of quick tips to make sure your existing pages work on desktop and mobile:

  • put your calls to action higher up on the page – if you need a user to complete an action, make sure they don’t have to scroll through 4 pages on a mobile to do it 
  • include a standfirst which clearly sets out what the page is about – your readers are more likely to scroll through 4 pages on mobile if they know they’ll find the information they need

Of course, every site’s different and you might need to test it on a few devices to make sure that whether it’s a Blackberry, a Samsung or an iPhone, users are still getting the same experience.

Test your site

There’s a great new tool Google have released which lets you test your site on a mobile. Give it a go and ask yourself:

  • is there a call to action above the page fold
  • is it immediately clear what your page is about?

If not, it’s probably a good idea to take a look at your existing content and make sure your mobile users are getting just as much from it as those on a desktop.