There’s been a lot of hype recently with regard to making sure your website has a mobile friendly version available for Blackberry, iPhone, Android etc. users. How important is it really? Think about it this way. The vast majority of your site visitors have a mobile device, right? Well, the number of those mobile devices with internet capabilities is growing quickly and will continue to climb. You ought to ensure that you have a mobile site that represents your business well and can be easily accessed and viewed from any mobile phone.
That being said, have you ever looked at your website on a Blackberry or iPhone? If not, I encourage you to do so. Once you finally get it to load, how does it look? If you do not have a mobile version of your website, my guess is not so good. Oh wait, scroll to the left, now to the right, then all the way down. Get my drift? The purpose of having a mobile site is to present a simplified (yet still aesthetically pleasing) version of your website on a handheld device. The site should be no more than 4 to 5 pages of branded/informational content and should include components that a mobile phone visitor would want or need. So what would they want or need? Mobile searchers tend to be impatient; they want to find what they are looking for quickly and easily. Some examples include:
Directions – This is absolutely critical if you are a brick and mortar business. Think about how many people will use their phone to find directions if they are lost!
Contact Us – No matter what type of business you are, you want your visitors to easily be able to reach you.
Request More Information – This could be a brochure, or simply a request to have someone call or email them back.
Newsletter Sign Up — An excellent lead generator!
Services — What exactly do you offer?
Social Media — If you are participating in Facebook, Twitter, etc. you can include links and logos on your mobile site.
Also, don’t forget to include a link to your home page for those who wish to view the site in its entirety.
At the end of the day, for a relatively low cost, you can create a mobile friendly version of your site. It doesn’t require any of the functionality of your main website and can become an excellent branding tool. Why wouldn’t you have one?
More and more people are using mobile devices to access the internet. With the advent of the Blackberry, iPhone and iPod touch, surfing the web on the go has become better and easier. As technology improves and prices of these devices become even more affordable, there is no doubt that more people will be search the mobile web for information. The mobile web is extremely beneficial to search for store hours, price comparisons and other information that is needed when on the go.
I personally have noticed that when searching from a Blackberry or other phones that are internet ready, some websites do not even show up. Searching from an iPhone is a little better, but websites that are flash are still not compatible. You would make sure that your website can be accessed from any device.
A mobile website does not have to be a complete website with all of your information available. Create your mobile website to include the most relevant information for the traveling user. Here are a couple of examples of some mobile sites, giving only the info that someone on the go might need.
Movietickets.com offers information and online ticket sales for the latest movies. Their mobile site allows users to explore show times, get news and buy tickets. This is great for someone who is out and about and only needs the basic info. What time is the movie? Where is it playing? And, how can I get tickets so that I don’t have to stand in line? You can get all of that from their mobile website. Mobile.movietickets.com
Over the past weekend, I had to pick up some friends at one airport and my wife at another. Unfortunately for me, their plans were landing at the same time. Like most people, I was checking their flight status from home waiting to see which flight was delayed and who was going to land first. When the time came that I had to pick them up, I grabbed my iPhone. Waiting in the cell phone area, I was able to access AirTran’s iPhone ready website. This version was exactly what I needed. The options were limited so I didn’t have to do a lot of searching. They incorporated only the most important features of their website. It made my mobile searching experience easy. Below is a side by side comparison of the mobile website compared to their main website.
The important thing to remember when creating your mobile site to is incorporate the information that will benefit your user the most. For some sites, just having the phone number and an address will be sufficient, while others might need multiple store locations, and increased functionality.
There is no doubt that the number of mobile users is increasing, so you will want to make sure that your website is functional, no matter where they are searching from.
Can you remember the days when you automatically reached for a phone book to find a doctor, or called “411” to make dinner reservations? Whatever the case, those were the good ole’ days, and for many of us, those days are long gone. Think about it for a moment, when was the last time you did not utilize the internet in some fashion to retrieve this type of information?
Nowadays, the vast majority utilizes the internet to locate a doctor, as well as make dinner reservations. It is just too simple not to! Even the most non-techincal of searchers knows how to use search engines like Google, Yahoo, MSN, etc. to find exactly what they are looking for. That being said (in most cases) the more savvy the searcher, the more savvy the path to gather the information. Case in point…I recently took a trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina with some friends. Unfortunately, my friend’s mother was feeling under the weather. I grabbed by blackberry to do an online search for the nearest doctor. Simultaneously, another friend texted Google from her cell phone, while another used her laptop. Last but not least, the patient (AKA my friend’s mom) went straight for the phone book. It was quite comical how we were all trying to beat the other to retrieve the information and it is truly amazing just how much is at our fingertips. At the end of the impromptu “search contest”, we were all able to find what we were looking for, even though the paths to get there differed slightly! That being said, I (of course) won the contest!
This experience reinforces the fact that online marketing today is not only important; it is vital. If you are a marketer and/or retailer and are not found online, you could be missing out on many lucrative opportunities to gain new customers, patients, clients, revenue, etc. In a nutshell, the internet is a huge marketplace and not being seen online is NOT an option!