Why you need a mobile version of your website

Firstly why do you have a web site? To garner more traffic and show off your wares. These may be products or services. Once your users have found you, you want them to make a decision and do something. This activity may be to buy, subscribe to a newsletter, tell a friend, make a booking etc.

Now, what is a mobile version of your site? Basically, this means making your website useful for mobile users, be it on a mobile smart phone, iPad or other tablet. Your mobile users will be able to see everything that is important on your site and be able to act as you wish them to.

Before you scoff at people doing business on their phones, consider this: when you walked out the door this morning you picked up your keys, wallet and mobile, or your handbag which had keys, wallet, makeup, tissues… and mobile phone. In any one room of business people, or any gathering of Baby Boomers, Gen X or Y, you would have a difficult time finding a person who does not carry a mobile phone. Based on the ubiquitous nature of the mobile phone, by far more used than newspapers, TV, radio or any other mainstream mass media, you need to have a web site which can be utilised by these devices.

Whilst every mobile phone is not web enabled, the latest research shows that 37% of Australians have a smartphone (Source: The Mobile Movement Study, Google/Ipsos OTX MediaCT, Apr 2011), which is # 2 worldwide for smart phone penetration (Singapore is #1).

This very same research established that there was a 220% year on year increase in retail queries by mobile (2010-2011), only 20% of retailers have a mobile website. Wouldn’t you like your business to be in the 20% rather than the hidden 80%?

Depending on the type of business you run, you want to decide if your mobile site will be fully transactional or just offer a selection, be it information or sales. The mobile environment is particularly appealing to having a simply loaded site with locations, times, phone numbers etc- the basics. This means a quick solution to encourage visits to bricks & mortar outlets. Additionally you may add stock levels (such as Ikea) or specials only.

The future of geographic offers is coming, using locational technology, offers can be tailored to where you physically are. It will be easier to move to these specially targeted offers if you already have a usable mobile site.

Currently many websites are not suitable at all for mobile viewing, they are disjointed and can take 60 seconds or more to load. For those that are creating mobile sites, they see their traffic and conversions increasing as soon as a mobile version is implemented.

When a potential user has a poor experience, either your site is unreadable, very slow or doesn’t load at all, this can lead to a bad impression of your organisation. Turning around that negative interaction is an added imposition to businesses which never needed to happen.

Three basic ideas to work with which will improve your website for mobile users include:

  1. Reduce bandwidth to make your site load faster
  2. Scale back some of your content and lower resolution, keep the essentials: maps, directions, phone numbers, operating hours etc
  3. Have an interface that shows the content most applicable to mobile users first. Geographic offers, maps, phone numbers, directions etc.

Your website is the front door to your world, don’t forget that not everyone will walk the same path to it. For a small investment, be in the earlier adopters with a mobile version of your website and your site may be the only one in your category that users ‘on the go’ can enjoy!