Mobile represents the biggest shift in business in recent years. Mobile broadband is growing at double digit rates, estimated to reach 2.3 billion mobile subscriptions worldwide by end-2014.
To succeed in business today, your business needs to be easily accessible on mobile devices. If your business is mobile, you allow your business to be accessible at all times from virtually anywhere. Smartphones are ‘always on’ devices, with users carrying them all the time wherever they go. Many consumers own smartphones and access the Internet through their devices, including doing research of products to buy, play games or read.
With the rapid growth of mobile, it is important to provide mobile users a good experience of your website — similar to users of your desktop version. Many mobile users will not spend time pinching or zooming their screens just to see your web page. You don’t want to miss out on getting your message or business across to mobile users.
It is time to start thinking of getting your message across to the growing number of mobile users, and accepting that the desktop is not the only way users can reach your site. Pull up your website in your smartphone and you will probably see the need for changes. The mobile experience is different from desktop, as users demand different things between the two platforms. Mobile users want websites that:
- Load fast, which means fast-loading images and less text
- Has easy navigation with no scrolling or pinching
- Have larger texts for better readability on smaller screens
- Show the content quickly
- Simple call-to-action buttons
Then look at your website analytics software and check how your mobile users are growing. Look at the data on how engaged mobile users are on your site – e.g. how long are they staying, how many pages are they visiting, or are they completing any goals you have set up for our site. Even though your mobile users may still be small at this time, know that this is a market that is going to grow and you need to start working on the changes needed to serve this market well.
There are three ways to get your website mobile-friendly:
- Create a mobile app of your site
- Create a mobile version of your site
- Use a responsive website design
Many mobile users use an app instead of using their web browsers on their smartphones. Having an app for your business will allow you more channels to reach potential audiences and target market. However, mobile app development can be costly and may be beyond the reach of small business owners.
When you create a mobile version of your site, you basically create a copy of your entire site but with a streamlined version suited for mobile devices. Users on mobile devices will be automatically redirected to the mobile version of the site. This solution can really customize your user’s mobile experience. However, it may require higher maintenance as your content increases and as next-generation mobile devices require improved technologies.
A responsive design is a more cost-effective alternative for small businesses. There is no need to create a copy of your site for mobile users. Instead, the site design automatically adjusts depending on the screen size of the user. It is also a cheaper to get and maintain. If you are using WordPress, for example, there are a growing number of themes that you can use that are responsive-design ready.
Whatever method you choose to go mobile, a key part to achieving success on the Web today hinges on your ability to tap the mobile audiences and give them the experience they expect from your brand.