Mobile web usage is increasing rapidly. As of this writing, nearly 30% of the 4+ billion mobile phones are smart phones. By 2014, it’s predicted that mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage. That’s a lot of users that you don’t want to miss out on. However, most smart phones will pull up your regular website, so why would you need a mobile website?
For many businesses, the answer is that you don’t. For now. However, if you have a business that people are likely to search for from their phone, then there are some compelling reasons. For example, if you are a restaurant, retail store or provide a service that might be needed in an emergency such as a plumber or locksmith you need a mobile website now. Here’s why…
One half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. Consumers looking for local products and services are as likely to use their mobile phone to find those businesses as they are to use their desktop computer.
In addition, mobile websites are treated differently by the search engines than normal websites. How? They are in a completely different “mobile” category. In other words, Google has a separate index for mobile content. Because this index is so much smaller than the normal Google index, it’s much easier to get a higher ranking in mobile. The mobile web is a little like the normal web was 10 years ago. It’s a new frontier with a fraction of the number of sites and many of the sites not highly competitive for the terms you will want to rank for.
Like Google’s regular website index, the longer your site is on the mobile web, the better chance it has of ranking. This, combined with the fact that within a few years it’s likely that virtually EVERYONE will be searching from a mobile device means that even if you don’t have a business that might get a lot of mobile traffic now, it makes sense to start your mobile web development efforts now.
While smart phones will render your regular website, many of them do so poorly. Regular websites are optimized for a computer screen, typically 1000 pixels wide. Mobile devices average about 300 pixels wide. The result is that when viewing a regular website from a mobile device, you have to scroll a lot as well as zoom in and zoom out to find the content you are looking for. This can be frustrating and anything that frustrates your website visitors is likely to lose them.
Mobile advertising and mobile sales are exploding. And consumers are 51% more likely to purchase from retailers that have mobile-specific websites. In essence, if someone is searching on their mobile device, they are much more likely to become a customer if you provide them with a mobile website. This shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Good user interface design creates trust with users by making it easier for them to find what they are looking for. This translates into sales.
Get a mobile website now or get one later. It isn’t a matter of “if” you’ll get a mobile website. It’s a matter of “when”.