If you’ve never done so, try this exercise. Pick up your smart phone and navigate to your web site. Scroll through the pages. Attempt clicking on the links. Are you surprised that it’s difficult to do either effectively? If so, you’re not alone.
Many people have no idea just how different their traditional web site appears on a mobile device (such as a smart phone or tablet), compared to a desktop or laptop. Fonts appear smaller, images are more difficult to see clearly, layouts can be distorted, and links can be awkward to click on.
A company that has adapted its web site for viewing on a mobile device is said to have a mobile web site. Though it reflects the important content of a desktop web site, it’s often simplified and configured to appear perfectly on all mobile devices. (Facebook’s mobile page is a good example.) Any bells and whistles are stripped away, providing just the essentials so you can do what you need to do while on the go.
Usually mobile web sites give you the option to switch to the full desktop view by pressing a “Full” button at the bottom of the screen, so you can still see the main site if you wish to. When someone lands on your site using a mobile device, your web site detects this by looking at the browser version being used, and so displays the mobile version automatically.
If you don’t already have one, here are five reasons why you should consider building a mobile web site for your business:
1) Ease of Use – You don’t want visitors who find your site on their Droid or iPhone to get frustrated because the menu buttons are so small they can’t get around, and they can’t read any of that fabulous content you spent so much time developing. Put yourself in their shoes. Make their lives easier by streamlining the visual appearance of your web site.
2) Call to Action – Improve your chances of driving new business by making it easier for prospective customers to contact you. Install a big, bright button that says “Call Now” or “Email” which mobile users can press to activate. Otherwise, they’re left to enlarging their screen to make out your phone number, or awkwardly navigating with their thumb to try to press the “Email” link on your Contact page.
3) Local Search – Mobile devices have changed the way people search for local businesses. If you’re driving around and decide you want pizza, most people whip out their iPhone and type in “[their town] pizza” to get a list of the closest pizza joints. If you’ve already put in the time and effort to improve your web site’s SEO and have set up your business on local search platforms, think how disappointing (and potentially disastrous to your business) it would be if mobile users get to your site only to find that it doesn’t display property, or doesn’t offer an easy-to-press “Call Now” button. They’ll leave your site in favor of one of your competitors who makes their lives a little easier.
4) User Expectations – According to Google research, mobile users expect their web site experience while on their mobile devices to be as easy and enjoyable as their desktop or laptop experience. That includes load time, visibility, and ability to interact. Statistics show that a majority of users will only retry a mobile web site two times or less if it does not load correctly or is difficult to navigate initially.
5) Mobile Trends – Google predicts mobile usage will soon surpass desktop usage in terms of accessing the internet. In fact, over the past few years the sale of mobile devices has surpassed sales of nearly every other electronic device, and shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. This huge demographic is hungry for mobile-friendly sites that provide easy-to-use navigation.
Curious as to what a mobile site looks like? Visit our web site first on your mobile device, then compare it to what you see on your desktop. You’ll notice that we’ve chosen to simplify the design and reduce the amount of content to make it more user-friendly for mobile viewers.
You can track how many visitors are viewing your site on a mobile device each month by looking at the mobile report in Google Analytics. This will give you an idea of the demographic you’re potentially missing out on by not having a mobile-friendly version.