The Internet boom began in earnest around 1995. That was sixteen years ago. Everyone and anyone who had a product or service to sell made a mad rush to claim their piece of online real estate. Life was good back then if you were a web developer. For some businesses, however, that original website that was built in the late 1990s hasn’t changed one iota. The content is old and out of date. The graphics are stale or nonexistent. And worst of all, no one has a clue how many people, if any, visit the site. So if you’ve been looking for a good reason to update that FrontPage website of yours, now is the time.
The approaching mobile tsunami
By the end of 2010, 27% of mobile phones were considered smart phones. That number will be 50% by the end of this year. And the trend towards smart phone use is growing exponentially. This is no longer an emerging market. It’s here. Right now. People are searching for products and services on their mobile phones. Are you ready?
The mobile browser myth
When I ask people if their site is mobile friendly, the usual response I get goes something like this, “Can’t any website be viewed on a smart phone?” The answer is yes they can. But the reality is that a website designed for a wide screen desktop monitor does not translate well on mobile devices. It doesn’t take much to prove this point. Simply load any non-mobile-friendly website into a mobile browser and see how difficult it is to navigate or access content.
Another measuring stick is the bounce rate for mobile devices that access non-mobile-friendly websites. It’s well over 90%. The data indicates that visits from mobile devices are around 10% for most websites. And this number is growing rapidly. So another way of looking at this is that if your site isn’t mobile friendly you’re losing 10% of your visitors.
What does a mobile friendly site look like?
The short answer is that a mobile site is one that re-formats the content based on the size of the screen. A tablet is considered a mobile device. So a mobile only site (a site that only displays properly on a mobile phone) is not exactly a mobile friendly site. The image to the right shows a non-mobile-friendly site. You shouldn’t have to do any sideways scrolling to access content and features on a mobile phone.
There is also a debate as to how much information a mobile site should contain. Some argue that the needs of mobile users are different and that less is better. I disagree with that argument. As a mobile user myself, I want the same content that’s available as if I were using my desktop or laptop computer. I just want the content formatted for the device I’m using. Even tablet computers can benefit from having content formatted for that specific device.
Another advantage to having one site with different formatting capabilities is that you don’t have to worry about maintaining separate sites.
Lead or follow
Business owners who recognize the importance of having a mobile friendly website will have an advantage over their competitors with their circa 1990s websites. Mobile users will find and use the mobile friendly sites. And those sites that are mobile friendly will be able to take advantage of a wide range of mobile marketing opportunities such as text message marketing, QR codes, location based social media, and PPC ads for mobile.
The sad truth is that over 90% of the websites out there are not mobile friendly. This is your chance to get ahead of your competition. Wait and you’ll be left in the dust.
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