If you believe that mobile websites don’t matter or are only used in limited settings, I’m here to tell you that you are missing the boat (and business!). I believe that every business needs to have a mobile website or a website optimized for mobile viewing and here is why and how to do it yourself.
As of September 2011, there was a jaw-dropping figure announced – only 1.25% of businesses had ‘mobile-friendly’ websites. This is coupled with Googles’ prediction that 1 billion users worldwidewill use mobile devices as their primary internet access point in 2012! Then, finish the thought off knowing that 1 in 5 users are influenced by the companies mobile website (Call, get directions, visit, or made a purchase on the mobile site).
If that’s not enough to convince you to set up a mobile website, I will keep going. 35% of Americans intentionally use their cellphone while shopping to access mobile sites to compare prices and do product research. 32% of users have changed their mind based on the information they did or did not find on the mobile site.
Mobile and social
Business Owners know they have to have a social media presence, and most have adapted on some level at this point. I love Social, but I won’t go into detail in this blog on that topic – since I already did that here. Suffice it to say, Social Media is one of the driving forces behind the necessity of the mobile website.
Seem like an odd statement to you? It shouldn’t. 65% of all internet users in the US use a social media site. Think there’s an age bias? Wrong. There’s certainly a bell curve of usage, but it seems to be slowly leveling out. In the 50-64 age group, 32% use social media networks daily (with these numbers growing annually) while in the under 30 group, 61% use at least one site everyday. Again, this isn’t a social media focused blog, So i’ll get back on point.
“Alicia, I know social media is important and is used heavily, but what does that have to do with my mobile website?”
Great question! 3 in 5 smartphone users are using their phones to access social media networks (and that number may be even higher now!) So you went through all the work of setting up the website, setting up your business on the various social media networks, and all the other work in between. You take the time and follow the “best practices” for posting on the social networks all for what? To get traffic and convert to sales, right?
Assuming 3 in 5 users view your social media post on a mobile device and click on it (wouldn’t that be great?!?) what do they see? Will the site even come up? Can they read the information? Is it easy to navigate? Slow to load? Take you to a certain page or just drive users to the homepage? Does it discourage users from doing business with you?
After all, the last thing any business owner wants its for their efforts to go to waste. Time, energy, and money are all precious and limited commodities – so let’s make everything count!
I’m ready to build my mobile-enabled site
First, this really breaks down into three distinct choices: Mobile-Friendly websites, Websites optimized for mobile, and a mobile website. And yes, I promise those are three different things
A Mobile-Friendly website is defined as ‘a website that is easily accessible and viewable from a smartphone or tablet via the mobile web’.
A website optimized for mobile is a simplified version of your website laid out and organized such as to only fit in the smartphone screen.
A Mobile website is an entirely separate website built on a subdomain (i.e. “iphone.aliciamariephillips.com”) requiring custom work and made specifically for mobile viewing.
For the do-it-yourself business owner
Almost immediately, the building of a custom mobile website is out, as it is the most expensive option. However, if you are willing to invest the money make sure you seek out an expert that you are comfortable working with who both listens to your suggestions and concerns while recommending the best options for you.
Next, most websites are “mobile-friendly” meaning that they will open on a smartphone and users will muddle through them if need be, zooming in and out on the page as necessary. Not the best option available.
Finally, building a website optimized for mobile was relatively easy in my limited experience. I’ve only used WordPress for my site and there were endless plug-ins you could add that automatically optimize your website for mobile viewing. There is limited customization available on these options, but they are neat, clean, and get the job done. If you built your website on another platform, you probably have a consultant who is either working on maintaining the website, doing SEO work for you, or more. I would seek the advice of that person and talk about this option for your business.
Hopefully you’ve seen the importance of having a mobile website for your business after this posting and know what next step you would like to take. I would love your feedback! What does your business look like on a mobile device? Which option did you use or will you be using? Or do you think mobile websites don’t matter?