Consider if Your Business is Ready for Mobile
By: Jessica Chestnut
Have you considered the importance of a mobile-optimized version of your website? Are you missing out on potential customers because your site is cumbersome to navigate on a four-inch screen? Consider adding a mobile-optimized site for your business.
Check out your site on a few mobile devices. Assess how easy it is (or isnít) to navigate, shop, and checkout. If you are struggling to get around, then imagine yourself as a potential customer who may give up in the first few seconds to find a better option Ė perhaps another site that is optimized without all the pinching and squeezing.
If you are still questioning whether or not you get enough traffic to warrant needing a mobile site, review your website analytics. Look at the breakdown of the number of mobile vs. non-mobile visitors, what type of device they were using, how long they stayed on your site, and if you have eCommerce analytics Ė what was your mobile vs. non-mobile conversion rate.
During the summer of 2012, 55% of U.S. mobile subscribers owned a smartphone, while 25% of U.S. adults owned a tablet. As more affordable smartphones and tablets hit the market, these numbers will continue to rise, thus increasing the need for mobile-optimized sites.
To go mobile or not to go mobile is not the question. Itís just a matter of when.
People visiting a site on their portable device are likely on a mission (whether itís to get more information on a business or purchase a product), compared to those on a laptop or desktop who are often browsing the Internet for pleasure. Because of the differences in browsing habits of mobile vs. non-mobile users, there are a few differences in mobile vs. non-mobile websites as well:
- Mobile-optimized site should load faster than desktop sites: The average webpage today is 1.3 MB (according to HTTP Archive), which can be slow to load on a smartphone or tablet. Mobile-optimized sites can be streamlined specifically for the mobile experience so they load faster. Research shows that the majority of consumers are quick to leave a site if they feel it takes too long to load on a mobile device.
- Mobile sites should be easier to navigate: The structure and content of mobile-optimized sites should be designed to minimize the visual content and reduce the focus of the site to the most important messaging and calls to action. The layout facilitates this focus by adjusting the visual display to accommodate a smaller screen with a different aspect ratio than desktop screens. This reduces the amount of zooming (pinching and squeezing) needed to read content and click links.
- Mobile sites are accessed from anywhere at any time: Smartphones are ultra-portable (even compared to a laptop), giving users the ability to surf the Internet at all times, with a purpose or when just killing time. According to KISSmetrics, mobile-optimized sites generate almost twice the average traffic per users than standard sites. Itís important that mobile sites are easy to work with because of their unlimited accessibility.
- The lack of a mobile site can affect the way customers perceive the brand: According to Internet Retailer, consumers say that a poor experience on a mobile site hurts their opinion of a brand, makes them less likely to engage with that company, and just plain annoys them. Opting for a mobile site can be a modest investment that pays dividends to keep customers happy.
- Customers are visiting mobile sites while on-the-go: Yes, some people are surfing the Internet from their phones at home, but many of them are out running errands or shopping. Because of this, many people are using these sites seeking basic business information including an address, phone number, or business hours. After you optimize, be sure this is easy to find and easy for visitors to take action, such as a touchable icon to place a call to your business.
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