Going Mobile: What it Means for Your Web Site
Take a quick look in your pocket. There’s a good chance you have a mobile phone in there. If not, then it’s probably on your desk or somewhere nearby. Recently, at the World Mobile Congress, the International Telecommunication Union announced that the number of worldwide cellphone subscriptions will hit 5 billion before the end of this year.
image courtesy of: http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/lusi-46247This number is staggering. The entire global population is now only sightly bigger than the number of cellphone users. The widespread usage of mobile phones opens up a huge opportunity for your business to go mobile.
Do I need a mobile site?
The increasing number of phones is leading to an explosion in usage of the mobile web. Americans are spending almost 3 hours per day on the web using their mobile devices. The phones themselves are getting more sophisticated. And as they do, this number will only increase.
If you analyze the browsers and operating systems your visitors are using, you will probably notice smart phones like the iPhone, Android and Blackberry along with Windows and Mac operating systems. All of these users are using a mobile browser to browse your site. But since they all render Web pages a bit differently, your site may not look so great. Optimizing your website for these mobile users can give you a leg up on the competition.
What makes a mobile website useful?
- Streamlined content – Users don’t want to wait for a site to load, especially on their phones, so the use of imagery should be minimal. They also don’t want to have to search for what they need, so keep your content focused on your visitors’ needs. Put only the most-used and useful features (think address, locations, or frequently updated content) on your mobile Web site and allow users to find the rest of your content when they have more time to devote at their computers.
- Localized content – Do you have different brick and mortar locations or products that are only available in certain areas? Make your site location-aware so that users only get the information they need based on their location. This reduces the amount of navigation needed on your site and the amount of time your visitors spend finding what they need.
- Reaching a new audience – Having a mobile site gives your business another distribution channel. Your audience now has another way to interact with your content. The mobile Web gives you the opportunity to target customers that may otherwise be unaware of your business.
Our lives are becoming more mobile and as they do, having a mobile presence will become even more important. Before long, many of your customers’ initial experience with the Internet will be on a mobile phone. You can make a great first impression by having a mobile site.