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Are mobile websites really that important?


There’s no question that mobile devices have become a staple in everyday living around the world. Now more than ever it’s important that websites be optimized for mobile devices. Mobile optimization can increase sales, generate more traffic, and boost customer engagement. It’ll give you an edge over the competition, too.

You may not realize it, but finding and booking a place for you to eat, playing your favorite game, buying your next favorite song, taking a video of your children’s first words, seeing what is on TV or, even getting from A to B; all things almost exclusive which once sat in the domain of our desktops are now everyplace you are, all integrated into one incredible device.

According to a recent research conducted by Mobile Ads Product Marketing manager Dai Pham, “Today, US, Australia, U.K., Sweden, Norway, Saudi Arabia and UAE each have more than 50 percent of their population on smartphones. 52% of Australians own a smartphone, 15% more than did last year.”

With every trend there is usually a tipping point before something is accepted and widely used by the masses. Due to affordability, functionality and the ease of access to the Internet; it is no wonder why smart phones have become a key important tool for people all around the world.

“Times have changed and technology has evolved, business owners must stay up to date on current advancements and trends in order to adapt to how users search for your business online, especially if ecommerce is your specialty,” said Michael Simonetti from AndMine.

“As cliché and true as it is, you do only get one chance to make a first impression on a customer and that impression can either be your best or last. With an increased amount of mobile searches conducted, it is important to have a mobile website that is not only functional, but is also user friendly,” said Simonetti.

As a consumer, if you search for a certain product and you appear in the search results, users expect that your site will work properly on their device. Websites that have an overwhelming amount of information and don’t fit the parameters of a mobile website are inconvenient and frustrating to use.

If your website isn’t mobile user friendly, your bounce rates may become significantly higher as mobile devices continue to grow in popularity. Let’s face it, many of us are constantly on the go and aren’t spending as much time on our computers like we used to.

In saying this, we need to take into consideration that the user experience, behaviours and actions of a mobile web visitor is quite different to that of a desktop web visitor.

Traditional websites can expect users to move in a vertical pattern, while mobile users tend to navigate side to side, that is, left to go back to the home page, right to go to the next page.

Simonetti explained, “Whilst the list of things to consider when building a mobile site is longer then your average published book, the below tips and practises are the most important to keep in mind when creating a mobile site.”

Design decisions

Determine if you want to build a mobile site or responsive website design (also known as fluid design). There are pros and cons to either approach, however both are better than ignoring mobile traffic altogether.

Keep it simple

The age-old adage couldn’t be better suited to mobile versioning. Mobile users want the right information, quickly and easily, over-complicate it and you’ve missed the point of the mobile version in the first place.

Have a smart-phone content strategy

Develop a cross-device content strategy to ensure consistency and cost effective on-going management. If possible, have both sites run a single point of control, for example, running the same CMS and database.

Be obvious with mobile favouritism

Add Mobile feature improvements, for example; swipe gestures, “Click to call” and “Directions to here”. There is no better user experience when you’ve considered the user is mobile.

Better is best

Finally, test and re-test your site for user engagement. Periodic reviews of Google Analytics and customer feedback will help determine necessary refinements and improve conversions of browsers to buyers.

Yes, it’s that important

A study by Morgan Stanley has projected that in less then two years time, mobile internet use will surpass traditional desktop internet use.

It is estimated that by 2015 there will be more mobile phones than there are people on the planet.

So, if you have put the creation of a mobile website at the end of your (long) list of “Things To Do” or, perhaps it may not even be on your list you may want to consider re-prioritising. Especially if you want to stay in competitive within your industry.

There’s no turning back now. The web has gone mobile.

Alex Pirouz is the founder of RIDC Advisory Pty Ltd., a business advisory firm partnering assisting companies successfully start, grow and exit their business.