The Benefits of a Mobile Website
• Is your website up to date?
• Is it compatible with all of the mobile devices out there?
• Will potential customers be able to read your site on a smartphone?
• Have you looked at your website on a phone screen?
We build fast, friendly, simple mobile friendly websites to help your business tap into the huge customer base that use mobile devices.
Gone are the days when the Internet was all about computers. The skyrocketing growth of smartphones and other cyber-ready mobile devices has brought web browsing right to our fingertips. One recent study has indicated that smartphone usage is quickly overtaking feature phone use, as more than 50 million people in the United States alone have transitioned to iPhone, Android, Blackberry and similar phone technologies.
What does that mean for website operators? In a nutshell, if your pages cannot be easily accessed on a handheld unit, they are in danger of becoming irrelevant. That includes pages too big to be viewed in on a small screens, slow-loading graphics that eat up bandwidth, heavy programming that depletes phone memory, etc. It is time to consider the benefits of establishing a dedicated mobile website.
To be clear, mobile websites are different from “Apps,” those single-use software applications that are written in the native language of a particular platform, such as Apple’s iPhone operating system. In contrast, mobile websites are websites that have been optimized for mobile browsing. They can be reached through a phone’s web browser directly, requiring no downloads.
Among the many benefits of establishing a mobile website are the following:
• The mobile site can be a simple version of an existing primary website
• Users searching on Google can easily find mobile websites (unlike Apps)
• A single mobile site will work on any mobile platform
• Mobile websites are typically faster and cheaper to develop than Apps
• Mobile websites can be embedded in Apps and vice versa
• Mobile websites can be easily updated via a CMS
Mobile websites are developed using markup language similar to HTML. The big difference is that they are specifically structured to be viewed on a small screen, vertically rather than horizontally because there is so little screen real estate available. Flash and similar web programming languages that don’t work on most mobile devices are eliminated.
A good example of a website that has been optimized for mobile access is Facebook. The version one sees on the computer screen is quite different from the one that appears on a Nokia smartphone—m.facebook.com. There are far fewer graphics. Navigation is accomplished by scrolling rather than clicking. Sidebars have been eliminated.
Fortunately, developing a basic mobile website does not have to be time-consuming or expensive. Online services such as Google Mobile Optimizer can be employed to quickly put together a mobile-friendly version of an existing website. For more options in customization, conversion programs such as Mobify, MoFuse, Mippin and WireNode can be used.
Of course, for those less savvy in web design, hiring a specialist is always a good option. However, it still pays to be knowledgeable regarding the best practices to follow. Issues such as bandwidth must be addressed, as must mobile browsing capabilities. Currently, there are no standards for mobile phone screen sizes, so the mobile website design must accommodate as many options as possible.
Anyone still questioning whether the hassle of establishing a mobile website is worth the time, cost and energy should perhaps be asking these questions instead:
• Is not having a mobile website creating a barrier to user access?
• Can brand reach be increased via computers alone as the market shifts?
• Will mobile users perceive current websites as behind the times?
• Are competitors still waiting to create their own mobile websites?
• Is there really any downside to having a mobile website available?
Clearly, inaction has its consequences. As more and more mobile device users move from 3G to 4G, carriers reduce the cost of data plans and manufacturers make phones even smarter, those who are limited to traditional websites will be missing out on the wave of the future. And isn’t that a risk far too great for anyone depending on the Internet for business? It’s time to mobilize, now.