Who else is sick of trying to access a website from a Blackberry, Android or iPhone only to be unable to view the site properly, due to the site not being mobile-friendly? Ugh! It is very annoying when that happens and it is happening way too often! It amazes me how many companies are missing the mark when it comes to mobile. Considering the fact that the number of Smartphone users continues to grow, more and more people will be utilizing their devices to access the internet. Companies ought to create a mobile friendly version of their website in order to serve their customers better. It is beyond frustrating for someone trying to find basic information such as your store hours, phone number, current promotions or directions, to not be able to get this information because you do not have a mobile-friendly version of your website.
A mobile website should be simplistic in nature and certainly does not need to be like your full website. The cost to design a mobile website is also relatively inexpensive.
The mobile website should contain basic information that people want or need to see. As an example, here is our mobile website, compared to our full website. As you can see, we have skinned the mobile site to have a similar color scheme to our regular site. We have then included just a few pages: Home, About Us, Contact us and Services. In addition, we have made our full website available from the mobile site, as well as included links to our Social Media channels.
There are no excuses. Too many people are forgoing their laptops and PC’s and simply using their Smartphone’s instead. You must have a mobile friendly version of your website immediately if not sooner. Go mobile or go home!
You have stepped up to the plate and made the (smart) decision to create a mobile friendly version of your website. That is great news, especially because the number of mobile users continues to rise and you ought to ensure that your website can accommodate this growing market segment. So, now all you have left to do is design the mobile site and you’re done, right? WRONG! Just when you think you have all of your bases are covered, you don’t. There are a few important factors to consider before building out your mobile site.
Now, you might be asking yourself, how do I figure out which devices my visitors are using? This information can be easily found in your analytics program. If you utilize Google Analytics, click on Visitors (on the left navigation) then click on Mobile and finally, Mobile Devices. The results may astound you! Remember: having a mobile site is only half the battle; it should be optimized properly for your mobile audience, whatever that audience might be.
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.