It’s Time to Get Mobile with Your Website

Gerard Tollefsen - February 10, 2010

About a year ago (March 2009), I wrote a blog about the increasing trend of people purchasing “Smart Phones” and how that can impact local advertisers.  The statistics were staggering with regard to the sheer volume of people using their cell phone to browse the internet and complete search queries.  At the time of my blog article “More than one out of every six American homes (17.5%) had only wireless telephones during the first half of 2008, an increase of 1.7 percentage points since the second half of 2007. In addition, more than one out of every eight American homes (13.3%) received all or almost all calls on wireless telephones despite having a landline telephone in the home.”, according to the report from CDC’s Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition, according to a recent comScore report at the time of my March 2009 blog, “the number of people using their mobile device to access news and information on the Internet more than doubled from January 2008 to January 2009.  Among the audience of 63.2 million people who accessed news and information on their mobile devices in January 2009, 22.4 million (35 percent) did so daily; more than double the size of the audience last year.”

Well, it seems the trend is continuing upward.  Google Search was the top mobile property in December 2009, with nearly 28 million unique visitors, followed by Yahoo Mail, at 23.2 million, and Facebook, with 18.8 million.  Rounding out the top five were Gmail, with monthly traffic of 17.6 million, and Weather Channel, at 13.8 million, according to recent research from The Nielsen Company.

Given these large numbers, as a business owner, are you comfortable with what people see when they visit your site from a mobile device?  If you’ve looked at your site recently using a smart phone or other mobile device (unless you already have a mobile website) odds are you will not be pleased.  Regular websites, no matter how great they look, when viewed from a PC do not look the same when viewed from a mobile device.  In fact, some devices (even the smart ones) cannot read websites unless the website is created specifically for mobile visitors.  I own a Palm Treo Pro, and it has the capability to view any website with its built in browser, but I can tell you its almost impossible to navigate (or get any information) from sites that are not “mobile ready”.  The amount of text and images that take up the screen is so large that by the time I scroll vertically or horizontally, the page needs to reload and by then my patience is worn out.

Think about this as you plan out your marketing strategy for 2010.  With increasing numbers, people are using their cell phones to access the internet and visit websites.  Be sure you include in your marketing plan to account for these visitors and provide them with a user-friendly and accessible version of your website.

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