10 Things Not to Do at Networking Events

Networking is far more than just giving random people a sales pitch of your ideas. It is an art form in itself – a juggling game between being assertive and listening, between sharing without revealing, between being patient and yet accomplishing. Whatever you put into networking is what you will get out of it. So how do we know what not to do at networking events? It can be surprisingly fun if you are able to go by the rules laid out below and you will realize how your entire networking experience will change – or at least improve. Although there are certain guidelines that should be followed, I highly encourage you to go out there and take your own unique approach. The recipe for success is as follows: my secret rules for what not to do at networking events + a touch of your uniqueness = success!

Rule #1 – Double Down

If you play blackjack, then you know that doubling down means: “double the original bid in blackjack in exchange for only one more card” – in networking terms, don’t double the drinks just to get one more business card. No matter how tempting free alcohol may seem, do not take full advantage of the open bar. Yes, a drink or two might help warm you up to conversation with strangers, but you don’t want to be that one annoying, sloppy person treating it like it’s a party. As an entrepreneur, I have attended hundreds of networking events and see that every time alcohol is offered, (and yes, it is almost always offered) there are always those who go overboard. Many investors use this as a tactic to weed out those who are not as serious about a potential deal. You do not want to be that person running around with their 5th glass of wine in hand.

Rule #2 – Chatterbox

We’ve all been to an event where we meet someone and we cannot seem to squeeze a single word into the conversation. Although it seems like common sense, sometimes people don’t realize it and are so passionate about their startup/company that they don’t leave room for someone else’s thoughts or questions. The listener ends up just tuning you out or trying to get out of the one-sided conversation. You also have to be respectful of the fact that people are trying to mingle with more than just one person at events like this.

Rule #3 – The Exchange

The hot topic of business card etiquette… I made my first set of business cards about a year ago, designing them myself on Adobe Illustrator and going all out on them. Although I’ve received never-ending compliments on them, I soon realized it’s an archaic way of connecting with people. Even I, myself, have lost important business cards. It’s faster and easier to just immediately connect through LinkedIn or exchange numbers. The cherry on top is that it is much more personal that way. Don’t get me wrong, you should always be prepared with a business card if an investor comes along, but don’t be pushy about them.

Rule #4 – Hugh Hefner

This one is simple, but vital to your networking success: no inappropriate jokes or flirting. Never make other intentions obvious, as it will change the energy of the event for people. Networking events should be a safe space for people to talk about business. Now, if two people hit it off in a personal sense, whether as friends or more, then that can be okay. However, do not go into it with that sort of intention as it is not fair to the others there.

Rule #5 – The One-Upper

We have all been to an event with a one-upper that’s the biggest downer. Leave your cocky/know-it-all attitude at the door, even if you are an expert in your field or at your startup. Nobody goes to networking events to argue, as you should be aiming to lead more productive and less competitive conversations (unless you meet your direct competition, of course). This happens a lot when you fill a room with a bunch of entrepreneurs.

Rule #6 – Simon Cowell

Never put down other people’s startups or ideas. Believe it or not, everyone has bumped into that one person that thinks your idea is pointless or does not fully understand it. As I said previously, networking events should be a safe space for you to share your dreams and passions. If you do feel comfortable with one another, then maybe constructive criticism can be inserted, but that is about it.

Rule #7 – The Venice Surfer

Aside from your attitude being important, so is your attire. Be conscientious of your attire as it shows your respect to the event and its attendees. Please don’t wear flip-flops (unless it’s your startup product). Don’t wear strong perfumes or colognes, as some people have allergies and sensitivities. And lastly, dress moderately.

Rule #8 – Overly Political

Do not bring up politics or trump other people’s beliefs. Sounds obvious, right? You would be surprised how many people hint at it or throw in low political jokes. Even if you feel close enough to someone to bring it up, it could still make others feel uncomfortable especially if the prime focus should be talking about business and not having debates. Do not waste your energy on this topic as it could create enemies right off the bat. Maintain a neutral environment so everyone can focus their energy on the priority of the event.

Rule #9 – Homeopathy

Do not clam up thinking people will steal your idea – I have done this before and gotten absolutely nothing out of an event; no feedback, no connections, and no trust from those I met with. There are ways of watering down your idea to 10-12 and pitching it without giving away any trade secrets that could lead to someone stealing and copying your idea – be creative with it and you will soon find out that giving people a rough pitch will really be valuable in the long run.

Rule #10 – The Gazelle

Treat strangers like they are your friends. Be friendly, energetic, and open. If you maintain positive energy, then you will attract people to you. Go up to strangers and act like you are fully comfortable. Talk to them about what drives you to work on your startup or your job and being open and sharing will create an inherently safe environment for those you are talking to.

That concludes my article on what not to do at networking events!

I believe that in order to genuinely succeed and enjoy networking events, you must put 100% of your energy into it. Things not to do at networking events: take any extremes; whether it’s trying to talk to every single person at the event or just talking to one person (unless it is an investor or future partner of course!), pounding a few drinks or not drinking, and lastly not revealing your company concept or disclosing trade secrets. There is always a happy medium at networking events, so find where yours is at and network away!

Catch up on my last article here.

Author Details
Editor, Cravingz
A Los Angeles ‘solopreneur’ combining her passions for food and tech through her startup, Cravingz app. Winner of two distinguished entrepreneur awards through the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University.
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Editor, Cravingz
A Los Angeles ‘solopreneur’ combining her passions for food and tech through her startup, Cravingz app. Winner of two distinguished entrepreneur awards through the Fred Kiesner Center for Entrepreneurship at Loyola Marymount University.
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Blockchain: Trust Is Not A Binary Option

Blockchain: Trust Is Not A Binary Option

Trust doesn’t have to be an all-or-nothing proposition when it comes to Blockchain

Blockchain’s primary value proposition is decentralization, the idea that the “truth” can be validated without 3rd party intervention in a trustless environment.  As technology has proliferated over the last several years, we have seen the infrastructure incorporate many different types of protocols:

  • Public  – Fully open blockchains with no barrier to participating (eg, Bitcoin, Ethereum)
  • Permission – Private blockchains where a central entity controls access (eg, Orderers in Hyperledger Fabric)
  • Federated – A consortium of entities controlling the blockchain (R3 comes to mind)

Each of these options has a different take on “trust.”  There are some in the crypto space who feel the only groundbreaking solutions are the public, or “permissionless,” solutions.  Their argument is that a protocol is only decentralized when it is fully public, and only then can it reach the full potential of the blockchain.

It’s a fair point, to be sure.  How can you be decentralized if one or more entities are entrusted control access to the blockchain?  However, it occurs to me that this is a very binary view of trust – in reality, trust is more nuanced and multi-layered, like a set of qubits more than a simple 0/1 representation.

Every single day we maintain simultaneous levels of trust at the same time.  I trust my wife implicitly (I hope that is wise), while I have much less trust in the Lakers’ ability to win a title without LeBron.   I have varying degrees of trust in my employees based on past performance, while I have no trust in the cars speeding along my neighborhood street when I walk the kids to school.

Our entire day is defined by a cascading array of trust, depending on our situation.  We understand and accept this because trust is a tool we use to maximize our benefit in specific situations.  I’m not going into a conversation with my wife about whether to have a 4th child (spoiler alert – not happening) from a lack of trust, because the conversation would be utterly pointless.  Conversely, I’m not going into a startup pitch from a place of trust, because it would eliminate the healthy skepticism I’ll need to evaluate the opportunity.

Why wouldn’t the same concept apply to blockchain?  Does every system need to be fully permissionless to add value?  The security and decentralized nature of Bitcoin works great for payments between people who don’t know each other, but in certain environments, organizations can still benefit from blockchain with a degree of centralization, provided there is a healthy level of trust.  For a tight supply chain of organizations with the right incentives to work together, a federated or permission solution would do just fine.

Ripple uses roles to establish specific participants to act as transaction validators

I’ve heard the argument that blockchain technology isn’t needed in situations where a centralized approach is acceptable – a central database would do just fine.  Sure it may be fine, but why not use blockchain when the technology provides other value propositions out of the box – namely, transparency and immutability?

My point is this: because trust is a multi-layered concept in our daily lives, and blockchain can handle trust in many different ways, we should embrace its implementation to support more than just the no-trust situations.  Let’s not limit blockchain’s potential while we still shaping this exciting new technology.

Is Blockchain Truly Decentralized?

Chad Hahn
Contributor
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.
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Chad Hahn
Optimity Advisors, Inc.
Chad Hahn is a partner overseeing the digital & technology practice at Optimity Advisors. He is an entrepreneur with 20 years of experience in strategy, business development, operations, and technology, and has started and sold two successful service businesses. He has a strong background in software engineering and enterprise architecture, with deep expertise in both traditional and emerging technologies.

Having Good Friends at Work Makes Everything Better

Having Good Friends at Work Makes Everything Better

Making friends is something that we’ve all been trained to do ever since childhood. In kindergarten, our parents often ask us to be good and to make friends with the other children in the playground.  This is probably one of the most important things that you need to learn if you want to succeed in life.

You wouldn’t feel comfortable borrowing a pen or paper from the person next to you if you aren’t friends with that person in the first place. You can’t ask for a raise if you aren’t on friendly terms with your boss. And you can’t get married if you can’t even find a partner.

To survive the jungle that is life, you need companionship, you need other people. They say that no man is an island – this is a very accurate statement.

But why make friends at work?

You might ask yourself, “Is it necessary for me to make friends in the workplace?” You might even think to yourself that you already have enough friends outside of your career, so why would you need more?

To be honest, you didn’t sign up for that job offer to build connections with your coworkers. But being in friendly terms with your coworkers brings you a lot of perks. Studies have shown that working with people you like will help you gain power throughout the day. Studies also show that these people will help increase your productivity as well. Sweet deal, right?

If you’re one of the people who say that friends at work are one of the most important factors to having a happy working life, then you’re not alone. 70% of employees say that this is true for them as well. This makes making friends a lot easier. With like-minded individuals, you’ll be sure to spot someone who you’ll instantly connect within no time. Some people go even as far as saying that they would refuse a higher paying job if it means not getting along with their colleagues.

But I don’t think I need friends at work!

Still not convinced huh? Well…

Data shows that one out of every three adults meets at least one of their closest friends at work. Having good company while working makes you feel happy and a lot more productive.

Eating alone is deemed to be a sad practice. Did you know that there is a 25% increase in morale and productivity when you’re given a larger lunch table to eat with your colleagues? After all, food does put you in a good mood. Use this advantage to your advantage and build positive relationships with the people you’ll be working with.

Having a best friend at work also improves the probability of staying in that company for a very long time.  After all, you’ll have someone you can trust to watch your back.

But there’s more!

The benefits don’t just end there. People who have a best friend at work are more likely to receive praises and they have a higher chance of being promoted as well. They also have a higher commitment to quality.

Because of this, they start developing a higher sense of consideration for constructive criticism, making them work harder to be the best that they can be.  These are actually things that can help make your career grow.

Having friends at work can also help you lead other people

Managers should start actively participating and encouraging the building of office relationships to ensure that happiness levels at the office are kept at the optimum level. Activities such as team buildings and office small talk prove to be useful in strengthening friendships between team members. Supervisors can also join in on the talk, to help ease the tension in the office and to establish that they aren’t just there as a body to reprimand them when they make mistakes. Establishing that even supervisors can be human can help build trust between the team and its managers.

Even a few minutes of chitchat over coffee during breaks will help you foster better relationships. This will lead you to have the drive of improving your performance, and improving your career.

Yes, even non-work related banter is considered to be a big help. If you have problems striking up a conversation with other people, try thinking of things that you both mutually know, you can try talking about food or the current events.

You could even try giving your coworker a compliment or two. Do not think too much about what you’re going to say and just let words flow naturally.

Don’t give up!

Friendship is a two-way road. If the person you’re talking to doesn’t seem interested in your friendship. Then don’t worry. They might just be having a bad day, or they might not have gotten enough sleep the day before. Try again another day, or with another person. If they still don’t feel like being friends with you, then it’s okay. It’s their loss. You still have the rest of the company anyway!

Finding yourself in a good mood will greatly affect how you go on about doing your daily tasks. Even the most difficult tasks seem a bit lighter when a good company joins you. Productivity is always seen as a good thing in the office. The more work is done, the happier your bosses will be.

Don’t Worry, Be Happy!

A happier “you” can make people around you happier as well. Muse writer Kaitlyn Russell goes on to explain that the friendlier you are with the people you see every day, the happier you’ll be. Remember that happiness is actually something that can infect the people you work with. You end up more open-minded about challenges that your boss presents to you, and you get to collaborate even better with your workmates.

Just be happy!

Conclusion

Workdays can be long and exhausting. Deadlines here, deadlines there, deadlines everywhere!  But, don’t let that get you down.  If you made friends with your coworkers, then there will always be people that you can rely on.

Your friends will help you get back on your feet when you feel like a failure. Don’t be afraid to summon the 4-year-old in you and make friends with people.  If you can’t do that, then you’ll most likely end up alone and without allies. If you want success, then you need connections. Period.

Why Some Work Friends Just Stick People

LA Startups Crew
Los Angeles Startups
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.
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LA Startups Crew
Santa Monica, Culver City, Venice, Hollywood, and beyond
LAStartups.com is a digital lifestyle publication that covers the culture of startups and technology companies in Los Angeles. It is the go-to site for people who want to keep up with what matters in Los Angeles’ tech and startups from those who know the city best.

Startup Should Create a Culture of Collaboration, Not Silo

Startup Should Create a Culture of Collaboration, Not Silo

A company needs its employees to work together.  For the organization to function well, it must have multiple people with different expertise and skills working together towards a single goal. Basically, a company needs its people to collaborate.

But moving fast, innovating, and excelling all at the same time is a hard thing to do. It’s even harder if you put people with varying beliefs, personalities and abilities together.

So the big question is, “How do we create a culture based on collaboration?”

Know the “Why”

Before anyone can collaborate, they need to know why they should do it in the first place. Some professionals may refuse to work with other people because they believe that they don’t need the help of others.

To convince these kinds of people, you need to show them that the project cannot be done by a single professional. Tell them that it will be faster and efficient if a group of people with special skills work together. Plant the seeds of cooperation early and you’ll see fantastic results.

Have a meeting and invite everyone involved in the project. Explain to them clearly why you need their services and why you need to solve this problem. If people know the “why”, then all that’s left for them is to “do”.

Use the UX Mindset

The user experience mindset or UX mindset for short is a way of thinking that puts the customer first. It reframes how you think and it will give you a new work perspective. Integrating the UX mindset into the team will instill cooperation.

People unite under the UX mindset because they have a common goal. Instead of bickering with one another, people will set aside their differences to create an amazing user experience.

Teach people to respect roles

Respect or to be more accurate, the lack of respect is one of the biggest reasons why people refuse to cooperate. Lack of respect stems from a feeling of loss, elitism, miscommunications, misunderstandings, and ignorance.

It’s hard to teach people to respect someone that they’ve just met. However “hard” does not mean that it’s impossible.

To remove lack of respect from your team, you simply need to show them respect. Respect can be gained by clearing up misunderstandings, having a positive outlook, and understanding the bigger picture.

An ignorant employee might complain that a certain job or role is useless but once you show them why the bigger picture, they will understand their foolishness and begin to show a little bit of respect.

Teach your people to accept and embrace change

The only true constant in this world is changing.  Change is something that happens all of the time but for most people change can be a bad thing.  Your people might be comfortable with the status quo and the thought of change is a scary notion for them.

However, change is needed for progress.  You simply need to convince yourself and your people that change can be good. You simply need to look at it from a different perspective. Show them that they’ll be getting more than what they’ve bargained for. All they need to do is to simply learn and embrace change.

Sure, some changes can be rough. And change may lead to tough times, but you have to take risks to move forward.

If this isn’t enough to convince them, then you can use change as a way to stimulate people. Frame the change as something that creates adventure and excitement. Frame it in a way so that they will learn to love the unknown.

Improve communication between team members

People cannot collaborate if they can’t communicate with each other. And standard communication isn’t enough, they have to communicate perfectly with one another.

Perfect communication between team members is hard and it isn’t just about telling people what to do. No, perfect communication is a much trickier task. You must teach your people to use the right words at the right time.

Improper communication can lead to arguments. The use of incorrect words might offend people and impact them on a subconscious level. Learn ways to reframe your words, because a single word can alter your intended message.

Effects of a Culture based on Collaboration

A culture that promotes teamwork and collaboration is ideal. There are tons of benefits from having your people work well together. But some of the most notable and most important effects would be…

An increase in creativity and morale

This is probably one of the most obvious and most notable effects of a collaborative culture. Teams are more creative and more positive since they get along well with one another. People will also feel better if the workplace promotes teaming up and working with others.

More innovative members

A culture that promotes working together will also promote new ideas and new opportunities. Team members are more likely to participate in meetings since they feel comfortable talking and sharing their ideas.

Innovation stems from the will to change. And if people are open to change and new opportunities, then they are welcoming innovation with open arms.

Better ROI

Achieving a culture based on collaboration is hard. It might even be impossible for others, but once you reach it, it would be worth your while.

When a team is collaborative, they work faster and better with one another. People are more content with their work and they will do their best most of the time. People are also more creative, and innovation blooms freely in the work area.

In the long run, the team will be able to produce quality products and the company will make more money in the long run.

Conclusion

Mankind is capable of creating wonderful and amazing things. I mean we’ve created airplanes that can fly in the air, we’ve harnessed the power of lightning, and we’ve created cities that can accommodate millions of people.

This is all thanks to collaboration and teamwork. Creating a collaborative culture in your workplace is a big deal. Expect better products, better relationships, and overall a better team.

Creating an ideal setting where people promote the idea of teamwork and camaraderie is hard but it is well worth it. If you’re a manager and aren’t doing this to your team, then you’re missing out!

Here’s a great read – Top 4 Tips for Building a Real Networking Community

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

8 Ways Your Company Can Save Money By Hiring Remote Worker

8 Ways Your Company Can Save Money By Hiring Remote Worker

Whether you’re a veteran or simply a new business owner, one thing is certain – overhead costs are a big pain in the @&&. So it’s a good thing that modern technology has helped today’s businesses cut down on costs.

You save a lot of money by not paying for office space, construction costs, electricity bill, rental fee, food expenses, and other expenses. You can simply hire your employees and have them work at home. It’s also a big benefit to the employee since they don’t have to worry about gas expenses or commuting expenses. They also work in the comfort of their own homes and they can set their own schedules as well. It’s a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee.

But if you’re still not convinced then take a look at these reasons that explain why hiring remotely can save you a lot of money.

1 Lower Operating Costs for Your Business

You don’t have to worry about renting office space, paying electric bills, paying water bills,  buying office supplies, providing for snacks, office repairs, buying hardware, fixing to plumb, and all those other expenses since most (if not all) of your workers are now working at home.

Based on a poll from Global Workplace Analytics, it was discovered that businesses and companies who allow their employees to work at home have reduced expenses and reduced company overheads of approximately $11,000 annually.

2 Your Remote Workers are More Productive

Working at home has a lot of perks. The most obvious perk would be that of time and travel expenses. Home workers don’t need to travel to the office which saves them a lot of time, they also don’t have to experience the stress of being caught in a traffic jam during rush hour.

Asides from the traffic, home workers have fewer distractions and they can devote 100% of their time and energy on work. Home workers have flexible work schedules that they can even take care of their children, cook their own food, and watch television. This flexible work schedule makes them more productive and it helps them produce high-quality outputs.

According to Tiny Pulse, about 91% of home workers state that they get more work done when they are working remotely.

3 Employee Turnover Will Be Reduced

A lot of employees are being replaced yearly. It’s costly to train new employees and it takes a lot of time and investment to make them as effective as the old ones.  You can convince your current employees to stick around by making them work at home.

According to the Global Workplace Analytics, about two-thirds of employees would switch their current jobs if they could ease the burden of commuting and deal with traffic. By relieving your employees the burden of traffic, you are also ensuring that they would stick around and work for you.

4 You will have more productive and efficient meetings

Payroll has reported that over 40% of office professionals see impromptu meetings as a major distraction in the workplace.

You don’t have to worry about impromptu meetings that hinder you from doing your work. Most impromptu meetings have little value to add and they are often used to kill time in the workplace. It’s even more annoying when people chat and goof around while waiting for the other workers to come to the meeting. You lose at least an hour of your work time in these meetings, an hour that you could have spent working on that project.

You can have more efficient and productive meetings if you have a lot of remote workers. Why? Because meetings have to planned and scheduled in advance which gives you and your employees more time to prepare for the meeting. So no more on the spot brainstorming or fooling around, you can now have meetings that help and improve your employees work rather than hindering it.

5 Your Workers Can Work Even on Sick Days

People in the office often take the whole day off when they call in sick. This would set back your profits and you’ll be at a loss. Remote workers, on the other hand, don’t have this problem.

Your remote workers can work from bed (if possible) when they’re sick. If they can’t work when sick it’s still okay since they have flexible work schedules that make it easy for them to catch up with work.

6 It’s Faster and Easier to Hire Remote Workers

Office employees undergo a very long and tedious hiring process. They undergo interviews, handle paperwork, background checks, and they have to be sorted out by the HR department. It would take a few days at best to hire a new employee.

Hiring a remote worker, on the other hand, can simply be done within a 24 hour period. There’s no bureaucracy that will slow you down.  However this comes at the cost of security and quality, you have to do the background checks yourself and make sure that they are up to par with your company’s standards.

7 You Don’t Need to Rely on Local Talent, You Have the World to Choose From

If your company is located in a big and thriving city. It’s very likely that your employees are also living in the city as well. The cost of living is high and you have to pay them a much higher rate.

However, you can pay remote workers much less since you don’t have to adhere to industry standards. You can pay someone a lower rate but with equal talent, whose living in a rural area and they’d still be happy about it. You can even completely outsource the work and hire workers from across the world.

8 You Can Work Remotely as Well

What’s so great about having all your workers work remotely? Well, it means that you don’t have to go to the office anymore! You’re basically working remotely as well. That means that you don’t have to worry about commuting/ driving, rush hour, and other daily work expenses. You now have more time to spend with your family and you can probably work while traveling the world.

And, here are 3 ways to build trust in remote teams

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
×
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.

6 Simple Steps to Making a Mobile-Focused Website

6 Simple Steps to Making a Mobile-Focused Website

You’ll need a different mindset if your website is primarily designed for mobile users.

It’s funny when you think about it, but there was a time when websites weren’t really designed for smartphone screens. They were designed for the much larger monitors of desktop PCs. Of course, when you shrink those web pages you can hardly read and see anything, which became a problem when mobile Internet surfing became more popular. So the more farsighted website owners created their websites for PCs, and then they tried to have a different version for smartphones.

Nowadays, most serious websites have both a PC and a mobile version. In fact, more websites are actually being built for mobile surfing first, before a desktop PC version is created. That’s because more people are going online using the smartphones rather than their desktop PCs.

So how do you build a website that’s more focused on serving the needs of mobile visitors? Here are a few tips that can start you on your way:

1. Strip Your Pages Down

When you’re determined to build a website that’s actually geared for smartphone users, you can’t use overly complex webpages. You have to simply your web pages instead.

There are good reasons for this. One, with a small screen to work with you don’t want to overwhelm the user with too many details. A simple layout works much better so they know what to do. Two, with too many complex elements it’ll take too long for a web page to load, and we all know how impatient mobile surfers are. If it takes more than 3 seconds to load a page, chances are good they’ll press the back button and try another website.

2. Plan for Your User’s Needs

Will they be tapping buttons on the web page? If so, you need to make those buttons visible, and they should be large enough so that they can be tapped easily enough. Will they have to input a username and password? If that’s the case, you’ll have to put in a keyboard interface as well. What if they’re looking for a particular section? You may want to feature a clear outline of your site, and a search bar can certainly help.

You have to put yourself in your website user’s shoes. Pretend you’re the user and you need to find something on your website. You’ should then realize what kind of helpful elements you need to put in.

When you’ve designed your web pages, try them out first. You have to know for sure how they would work within a mobile browser.

3. Don’t Forget about Laptops

When you’re designing with a smartphone user in mind, at least you have a touchscreen working for you so your users can simply swipe along the way to navigate your site. But that’s not exactly the case when your mobile user is actually using a laptop. In some instances, they don’t have a mouse either.

What this also means is that you have to plan for various resolutions to make sure your web pages appear at their best. Laptops are often limited to 1024 x 768 resolutions, and that’s what you need to plan for. In fact, check out the various screen sizes of the most popular laptops so you can have a different version for each resolution.

4. Going with Responsive Layouts

Some people would rather opt for a responsive layout, rather than have a different type of website for each type of Internet device. With a responsive design, your website morphs to fit whatever type of resolution your website user is using.

This can be quite convenient for you. You’ll have the same HTML markup that works on all screens. You won’t have to go with specific stylesheets for different types of devices.

Since you’re focused on mobile users first, at least with this approach you take care of the needs of those using smaller screens. Of course, there’s a good chance that you won’t get an optimal look when you’re website visitor is using a desktop browser. But those are bugs that you can fix later. These guys aren’t your top priority after all.

To help you see just how responsive websites can work for different devices, you ought to do some research on the various responsive sites that are currently in operation these days. Just Google for them and you should find them easily enough. You can then cherry-pick the features that you want to appear on your own responsive website.

5. Don’t Forget about the Navigational Requirements

If you’ve been designing websites all this time with a focus on desktop users, then you’re probably more used to people who can just use a mouse to get around a webpage. That’s not going to fly with a mobile website.

For most website designers, the simplest solution here is to just have your page sections cascade down. Your visitors can just swipe downward to see more of your content. You can also have your links appear constantly at the top or at the bottom of the screen so that they can get around your site more easily.

Just don’t go overboard and put in too many links on your navigational menu bar. Just go with the basic root items instead.

6. Set Up Your Images Properly

Dealing with image content can be problematic when you have such a small screen to work with. One solution is to have a set of images solely for small smartphone screens, while you have another set for normal displays. However, you can’t overlook the need for high-resolution images for iPhone retina displays.

Another solution is to set up all your images to contract and then expand up to the maximum point. This can work just as well for desktop users too. Even HTML5 video supports this setup, so it’s convenient.

It does require a different mindset when you’re building a website that’s more focused on mobile users. The old ways won’t work if you’re used to traditional desktop websites. Whatever you do, just don’t forget to give it a test run on your own smartphone first!

Here are 5 Steps You Can Do to Prepare Your Website for Google’s Mobile-First Index

Founder, Editor-in-Chief
LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.
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LAStartups.com, Schmoozd.com
A native Angeleno. John studied engineering at UCLA; founded Schmoozd, an offline social tech networking event in LA with 30,000 subs; ran a startup accelerator (StartEngine). Worked for several major brands like Toyota, DIRECTV, Hitachi, and Raytheon. A mentor at LMU Entrepreneur School. And advises a dozen local LA startups building amazing tech in various industries; also invested in some.