Every Offline Business Needs A Mobile-Friendly Website
If you see no reason for your business to invest in a mobile-friendly web site, there’s a simple test you can perform to prove that you’re mistaken.
Place a smart phone and desktop computer side-by-side and open up your existing web site on both devices.
The first thing you’ll notice is the mobile device loads far more slowly and most of the text is too small to read. If you have an iPhone, any flash video or animation – used in around half of all web sites – won’t load at all.
Then there’s the fact that, without a mobile website, all the buttons and links that can be activated so easily with a mouse on the desktop will be too tiny to hit with a finger, unless you first pinch and zoom your way around the screen.
Now factor in the astounding growth of smart phones. At the end of 2010 they accounted for just over a quarter of all handsets. In less than a year that figure has almost doubled and is continuing to climb just as rapidly.
More importantly, owners of these devices make them their primary means of accessing the Internet. According to a report by global financial services firm Morgan Stanley, mobile web use is growing so fast it’s set to overtake its desktop cousin by 2015.
In short, if your site isn’t mobile-friendly, ever increasing numbers of people won’t be able to make use of it.
Offline Local Businesses Are Particularly Vulnerable
In the past, the most likely way a potential customer would track down your business or service would be by looking in the phone book. These days they’re far more likely to search the Internet.
Being placed high in the page rankings will help initially, but smart phone users will soon get frustrated if your site is slow and tricky to use because it’s not been optimized for their devices. If the next link they click on leads to a mobile web site, the customer is unlikely to return to yours.
A mobile web site automatically reformats content according to the size of the screen of the device being use to access it. This prevents the user from having to scroll around in multiple directions in order to find the information they’re after and also ensures that text, navigation buttons and links are all of adequate size.
Optimized mobile web pages also make less use of heavy graphics – something which has increased in recent years because of the spread of high-speed Internet connections.
Although they’re becoming ever more sophisticated, smart phones still lag behind larger computers in terms of processing power. Similarly, connection speeds of the 3G network, while adequate for most needs, are still much slower than those enjoyed by domestic or business computer users.
In these trying financial times it’s no surprise that everyone wants the best value for money they can find. For this reason around 80 percent of all consumers research a product online before making a purchase. Increasing numbers of smart phone users are also making their purchases and bookings direct from their mobile devices.
Becoming more mobile-friendly does not always mean having to create and maintain an entirely separate site. Through careful use of design, plug-ins and clear navigation, it’s possible to create a site which works for both types of users and therefore gives the best of both worlds.
Updating your web site also provides you with an opportunity to explore the world of the mobile web app. Native apps like those available through iTunes or the Android App Market are hugely popular and can provide users with a new way of interacting with your products but have a major drawback. The two market leaders, along with rivals like Blackberry and Symbian, are not compatible with one another so you’d need to create a native app for each, virtually from scratch. A web app, on the other hand, works through the internet and is therefore compatible with any handset.
If you want to remain competitive and maximize your income in the years to come, you need to have a solid presence on the Internet. In addition, as the online world becomes increasingly dominated by the mobile web, your site has to do the same.
Contact us and discover how easy and affordable it is to put a mobile-friendly website to work for your business.