A Mobile Optimized Website Is A Must For A Local Small Business

Mobile Website Design

 

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Simply take a look around at your potential customers. Take a look around when strolling down the street. Take a look around your own household. Something that almost everyone has in common these days would be that we don’t function well with out our mobile phones.

The current sales boom in smartphones and pc tablets indicates that more and more people are getting access to the Internet by using a mobile phone on a daily basis.

As the 4G network continues to expand across the world, smartphone Internet usage is expected to grow right along with it. As the next wave of mobile devices becomes cheaper in price, they will also become more advanced with the ability to handle even more complex tasks.

Because of this, Internet access via mobile devices is set to exceed desktop access in the very near future.

In order for small local businesses to be able to compete with the big online businesses, they need to have a good mobile web presence that clearly directs people to their products, services and location.

Many businesses nowadays are reliant, to varying degrees, on bringing in revenue via the Internet. Social Media, Search Engine Optimization, Video Marketing, and many other online methods are helping small businesses connect with their local consumers.

Yet, a lot of local small companies are missing out on one vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to effectively marketing their businesses: A web site, and a mobile-friendly alternative of their website.

A web site is no longer an extravagance for those who would like to grow and expand – it's a necessity. More than 87% of the population conducts an online search for the products and services they want before making an initial contact. They question, read reviews, and consult with friends and family. A website provides the canvas upon which plumbers, painters, dentists, chiropractors, etc. paint a picture of their services and what they have to offer.

The mobile user marketplace is a quick emerging and highly promising market readily available for small business proprietors to create their strategies around, and bring in new customers. A mobile website isn't overkill, it's essential for people who use mobile devices to connect online. Traditional websites don't display well on mobile devices, making the site difficult to navigate. Mobile sites are specifically designed to provide optimum viewing for devices other than desktop and laptop computers.

The technology is undergoing a gigantic shift and the industry professionals predict that in the next few years, mobile Internet usage will take over the usage of Internet through laptops and personal computers. By 2014, it is projected that more users will access the Internet from their phone than from a computer. Does this mean that all of those fancy flash-based, heavy content websites may become useless? Probably not, but it does mean that if you do not have a mobile presence you'll be losing out on over 1/2 of all browsers.

Because of the way that mobile phones and tablet computers display webpages, a web site that appears very good on a desktop may be hard to navigate and hard to read on a mobile phone.

Today's search engines like Yahoo and Google are created to be more device-specific in their results pages. This means a website that is not mobile-optimized may not even appear on the results pages for mobile Internet users.

However, many business owners fail to see the affect this may have on their ability to profit in these tough economic times. Overlooking this powerful form of marketing is a huge mistake.

Developing a website for your company that is intended for mobile phone users is a simple process. Mobile-friendly pages are often just a simpler version of a standard page, so they do not require as much content as a normal website.

Actually, your mobile web-site can easily be made up of the information on your present web site. But the "layout of the content" and the "amount of content" must be appropriate in order to have a flawless mobile website that your customers will love.

Designing a mobile variation of your site doesn't have to be painful or expensive. In fact it's typically a smaller version of your existing website with a more simplistic design. The important thing is to identify the key actions you want your visitors to take when accessing your mobile site.

The Current Increase In Cellular Phone World-Wide-Web Use

Being that mobile systems continue to develop and improve, using the Internet on the go is fast-becoming a standard practice for most people today.

This kind of phenomena is not expected to slow down any time soon. Mobile Internet usage is expected to grow at a rate of 17% per annum as the use of PCs and land line Internet connections continue to decline.

Additionally, the latest stats show that 85% of web surfers also shop online. In fact, the number of new Internet surfers who spent money online in 2011 almost doubled those who spent money online in 1993.

This massive growth of "mobile" usage in conjunction with the massive growth of "Internet" usage is a strong indication that a large portion of any company's website traffic will probably come from a mobile device.

Business owners of all types and sizes have to compete with online shopping and services; including local businesses that need to have customers continuously coming to their physical location in order to stay afloat.

Advertising and marketing online has become an essential part of every business' marketing strategy and targeting mobile customers is just the next evolution in online technology.

Tailoring your web presence to take into account the most recent breakthroughs in communication technology is a shrewd way to gain an advantage over your competitors.

Making use of mobile technology also makes your small business more customer-friendly, which is more likely to turn into revenue that could have otherwise been easily missed.

A Comparison Of Standard Web Sites To Their Mobile-Friendly Alternatives

There are a number of simple explanations why a standard website will not display well on a mobile device. The most common one is the size.

Website pages are usually created to be viewed at a screen resolution of 1024×768, but most mobile devices like smart phones have screens that are around 320×480 pixels.

This makes observing a standard website on a mobile device extremely difficult in most cases. While some mobile devices are finding ways to work around this problem, most traditional websites still do not function well on mobile devices.

In reality, navigating a standard webpage can be a real problem because mobile devices do not have mouse style pointers, which makes it difficult to click on tabs and links.

The smaller storage size of smart phones means that active elements of a page, such as java script, will not display well, if at all, on a mobile device.

Yet again, the designers of these devices are working on improving their performance in these areas. But in the meantime, the pages take a very long time to load, and create bad user-experiences for your mobile viewers.

In order to create a pleasurable viewing experience for mobile users, it is vital to take these factors into account when planning out the design and content for your mobile website.

Ensure your mobile web-site prominently presents your important information and that the pages still look professionally attractive to your visitors.

The overall formatting on your mobile pages should be vertical so that it is easy to just scroll down to the necessary information. The navigation bar is best placed at the bottom of the page to make it easy to operate on older style phones.

The pace at which a mobile web site loads is really important to its success. For that reason, it is best to remove many of the larger active elements from the mobile version of your website.

This will keep the downloadable file size to a minimum and ensure that your mobile pages load quickly. This way, you won't lose the visitor while he or she is waiting for the page to fully display.

Another necessary strategy for attracting mobile traffic to your website is to make sure your site is indexed in the mobile search engines like Google. The major search engines are now determining which results to display based upon the source device of the query.

Consequently search engines like Google Mobile and Jumptap will find and list pages that will display well on a mobile device at the top of the search engine results. Obviously, those pages will receive a greater percentage of the mobile traffic.

The search engines will examine the size of the page, the length of the keywords, the location of the user, and any other mobile-specific content to determine which mobile websites will best fit the users' needs.

Obviously, if you are a small business, you want your site to be high in the mobile search engine results so you can get more actual foot traffic coming through your doors.

For the reason that many businesses will not make the extra effort to design a web page specifically for their mobile potential clients, they stand to miss out on a lot of potential revenue.

Their on the web content will be difficult to view on mobile devices and the poor mobile viewer experiences will cost them the very customers that they should be targeting.

Most will try cheaper techniques like compressing their pages, which may work on some devices, but not all. Furthermore, this is only a stopgap solution at best.

The supposed price of upgrading their entire site will stop many businesses from catering to their mobile customers when it is really a simple, affordable, and profitable task.

Precisely What Is A “Mobile Friendly” Web Site?

A suitable mobile friendly web site is a brand new version of your desktop website built from scratch, which is designed, coded and optimized for mobile devices. Although a mobile friendly website may be accessible on desktop browsers as well, its main target will be mobile visitors.

Huge players like Google, Facebook, Amazon and all other large-scale companies already established their mobile presence by serving their content through their mobile friendly web-sites, so that their users can have a better interaction with them.

I can hear some of you saying “I already have a pretty nice internet site and I spent a lot of money on it, so why do I need a mobile version of it?”. Although this statement might make sense at first, when you check your website on a mobile device and see how slow it loads, how messy it looks and how tricky it is to do things on it, you may want to reconsider this. To fully understand why you and your visitors need a mobile friendly website, let me continue with some of their characteristics.

With regards to providing web content on mobile devices (iPhone, Blackberry, HTC, etc.), you need to think completely different from the desktop (PC, Mac, Laptops, etc.). Never forget that while using a mobile device, there is no mouse and no fully functional keyboard.

There are three main considerations to take into account about the web regarding mobiles:

  1. the limitations of the mobile devices (screen size and software).
  2. the cost of mobile Internet to the user ($ per KB downloaded).
  3. the mobile user is in a totally different mood and environment than the desktop user.

Keeping these three important factors in mind, I will list the most important characteristics of mobile friendly web-sites that distinguish them from desktop sites:

Mobile friendly internet sites…

  • are functional and appear high quality.
  • fit to the window of mobile phones.
  • appear far better and allow a much better user experience.
  • happen to be simple to navigate which makes it easier to contact you and find information about your services/products/location.
  • target mobile users, who are in a hurry, who are on the move, or who use their mobile phones as their preferred way to connect to Internet.
  • tend to be free of issues that are not supported by all mobile devices like Flash, unnecessary plugins and scripts.
  • really are very small in size (less KBs).
  • load very fast. A typical loading time for a mobile friendly site on a mobile device is about 2-3 seconds, whereas the desktop version takes up to 20 seconds (in some cases even more) to load. And we all know that Internet users simply abandon sites that take too long to load. Can you imagine a mobile Internet user waiting 20 seconds for a website to load?
  • usually do not cost much to the user in terms of bandwidth. (very low $ per visit)
  • enable you to reach even more people in a proper way (people who use only mobile devices to connect to the Internet).
  • allow for users to call you with click-to-call buttons and find your place with the help of mobile friendly maps.
  • have no extra domain registration or hosting costs (assuming that you are not going to have a separate domain and hosting for your mobile site).

Exactly Why Every Organization Could Use A Mobile Friendly Internet Site

Since you now understand what a mobile friendly web site is and you have an idea about its characteristics, I guess that you have already realized the benefits of having a mobile friendly website. With a mobile friendly web site, it will be easier for anyone around the world with a mobile phone and Internet connection to find you, get information about your products/services, and contact you instantly. With a mobile friendly website, you are not targeting only people who are in the comfort of their home, but you are also targeting people who are away from their home… travelling, shopping or looking for a specific service/product in their neighborhood.

How About Some Examples Of Businesses That Could Benefit From A Mobile Optimized Website

Even though all businesses could benefit by having a mobile-friendly web-site, some business types will benefit more than others. If your business offers any sort of mobile service, emergency services, or simply appeals to those "on-the-go," you fit that category.

It would be difficult for me to list the business types I think would benefit most, but I will give you some possibilities to help you determine whether your business might benefit.

Possibility #1 – Car Towing Service

This example should be easy to follow. A motorist breaks down and is in need of an emergency towing service. As they're not at home, it's likely they will use a mobile device to find the service they need.

This highlights both the need for a mobile-friendly website, and a website that is well-optimized for the search engines (aka "SEO" – Search Engine Optimization).

Possibility #2 – Restaurants

After a day on the water, a group of boaters talk about where they might go to dinner. A search is conducted on someone's "smart phone", and a restaurant is selected.

Possibility #3 – Chiropractor (or many other medical-services businesses)

An out-of-town businessman starts experiencing back pain. As he's out of his usual area, he uses his mobile device to look for a chiropractor that takes "walk-in" appointments.

As you can see, there are a lot of reasons that someone might use a mobile device to look for a business. An added benefit is that most are looking to do business right away, not sometime in the future.

If your mobile website is easy to find, attractive, easy to navigate, and offers your essential business information, you stand a good chance to gain a new customer.

Bottom Line

In summary, a properly designed mobile friendly website will bring in more business to you, give your visitors a better user experience and take your marketing a step higher. I am sure you can see how fast the world is transforming into mobile. Nobody is saying that desktop Internet will ever vanish, but from what is seen at this time, mobile web will be the number one way to access the Internet for the majority of people very soon. And, as a business owner, it is up to you whether you will transform your business and prepare it for this brand new world or not.

So, How Can I Help You?

I am a website developer, mobile websites are one of my specialties, and I help thumb area small business owners bring their business into the mobile world.

You took the first step by reading this article. This is great for you, believe me you are one step ahead of others who still have no idea about the importance of having a mobile optimized website for their small business. Now, it is up to you to take your second step, which would be to get a mobile friendly website for your business, and better serve your mobile customers.

Let me help you in this process by creating a great mobile friendly website for your business. You can have your mobile friendly website up and running within a few days from now and start interacting with your customers in an improved way.

At the moment, I am offering a very special discount for a limited number of businesses and if you act soon you will be eligible for that discount.

If you have any questions about anything related to the Internet, mobile web, or if you want to discuss the details please contact us.