The Value of a Mobile Website

Jan 11, 2013

You may remember back in 1998 when a little bug in your ear kept saying you HAD to have a website to be relevant. (The bug was right.) And that website had to have a loud blinking Flash intro. (Okay, the bug got that one wrong.)

mobile webNow that little bug is telling you the future of your website is mobile. The bug is now half-right — mobile is not the future. Mobile is now.

As of March 2012, 50.4% of mobile users own a smartphone, according to Nielsen. Global smartphone sales have surpassed the one billion mark, according to a new report from Strategy Analytics, a US-based research and consulting firm. That puts your website and brand in the palm of a lot of hands. For businesses and brands, having a mobile presence is no longer an option. It is a must.

So what is the big deal about having a mobile site? Well, on mobile devices the rules of the game are different than on your traditional desktop PC or Mac. For example, your traditional website was designed for a full screen and a mouse. Neither exist on a mobile device. Simple things taken for granted, such as hovering and a mouse pointer, don't exist on today's modern touchscreen interfaces. And while our large monitors lend the opportunity for vast beautiful layouts, mobile screens are small and force us to make tough decisions about what content goes where with small valuable screen real estate. What about that amazing Flash animation on your homepage? Well, on a mobile site it may just be a simple black box. Not so flashy.

We know what you're thinking. "ANOTHER website? How can I afford to keep up?" The good news is that creating a mobile site doesn't have to be painful or overly expensive. It is typically smaller than your traditional website with a greatly simplified design. The trick is to anticipate the key actions your target audience will seek to do. Here are a few basic guidelines to consider when planning mobile sites.

Streamline the content

With the limited screen space on a mobile browser, fonts are smaller and line lengths are shorter. Keep the content short and sweet.

Keep the file size down

3G, 4G? It doesn't matter how many "Gs" you have on your phone, it will never be as fast a desktop. Avoid large images and PDF downloads.

Don't use Flash

As beautiful as that Flash animation is, the fact is, it just won't work on the iOS operating system (iPhone). In the near future, Android will drop support as well.

Be flexible

Most modern mobile phones have an accelerometer. That means it knows when you turn the phone on its side to change the presentation. Don't lock down your layout; let it be flexible for your users.

Touch-to-call phone numbers

By adding a simple piece of code to phone numbers, a quick touch allows customers to dial you instantly. It's a no-brainer!

Give the option to visit the standard site

People who visit your website regularly have already gone through the learning curve of knowing how to find your content. They may choose to sacrifice some usability and speed to get to content the way they usually do. Let them choose.

Measure

Keep a finger on the pulse of how many people are visiting your site with a mobile device and where they go when they get there. By using this information, you can tweak and make the experience better for your entire audience.

The trend toward mobile is only increasing, so having your content mobile-friendly is critical. If your content does not load properly and is hard to navigate, your customers will go somewhere else. Your competition is counting on it.

Contact us today to learn how MC Interactive can help you mobilize and keep your content in the hands of your customers.