Moving your Business to the Mobile Web

May 22 2013, By , No Comments

In the last two years mobile web usage has tripled, which accounts for roughly 15% of all your web traffic. That’s 1 in every 7 customers. This number may be as high as 4 out of 7 by this time next year.

So no matter where you fit in the franchise, the question is, are you turning away every 7th customer by not enabling them to transact with you on their tablet or mobile phone?

How to Be Mobile Friendly

There are several solutions available for small business owners and franchises.

  1. Adapt your current site to respond to mobile devices
  2. Build a dedicated mobile site
  3. Build a responsive micro-site
  4. Mobile app

1. Responsive Web Design

Responsive Web Design (RWD (obligatory acronym)) is a relatively new way of designing websites. For the most part, they look the same to desktop users, but instead of the site shrinking into unreadable sizes when viewed on small screens, they can omit non-critical information and shuffle the content into an easily readable and clickable format. Most sites are, or at least should be designed this way now.

This site is built responsively. Try making your browser window narrower to see how the content re-organizes itself. Another good example is KND Digital, but I may be biased.

2. Dedicated Mobile Site

Sometimes larger or older sites are just too difficult to make responsive, so the second option is to develop a separate small mobile site that only contains the critical content for your customers. Your website will detect when your customers are browsing on a mobile device and redirect them to the mobile version.

Mobile sites are simplified versions of your normal site. They should only contain your key message, simplified navigation, contact details (with click-to-call phone numbers), perhaps a product gallery and connections to social networks.

Mobile sites are relatively quick and cost effective to set up and may be a good alternative to redeveloping a complex corporate site.

3. Micro-site

Micro-sites can be useful for businesses that wish to target a specific product or service or franchisees that must abide by the marketing rules set out by the franchisor. It’s also a cheap option if you are just starting out.

A micro-site is typically 2-4 pages with approximately 400-600 words to give it enough weight for Google to rank. Site content is not dissimilar to small mobile sites – key branding and message, product information, testimonials and contact details with click-to-call phone numbers.

For micro sites to be effective, they need have a razor sharp focus. This means including only 1-2 products or services. It can also mean targeting a specific geographic area if you are a franchisee or require your customers to physically visit your premises.

And, you would obviously make this site responsive.

4. Mobile App

Building an iPhone or Android app is a lot more involved than the above options. It must be coded in native Apple and/or Android languages and delivered via the respective app stores. This is a significantly more expensive way to ‘be mobile’ so the app needs to either generate income directly or provide a service that sets you apart.

The app option would be ideal if you could offer a specific service by hooking in with the phone’s functionality – i.e. geo-location, camera or the accelerometer (movement sensor). Most other functionality can be achieved with a normal web site. Micro and mobile sites can be designed to look and behave like apps and also have the advantage of inexpensive development and maintenance.

Mobile friendly … and cheap

Apart from the mobile app, each of these options is inexpensive compared to building a new website and can usually be planned, designed, built and launched within a month. Based on the increasing numbers we’ve seen in the past 12 months, mobile compatibility should be one of your top marketing strategies.

Not only will your doors be open to 100% of your prospects, but your existing customers will appreciate the increased convenience you offer.

About the Author:

Chris Garrett is a director at KND Digital. For over 10 years his Brisbane based digital agency has been guiding businesses through the ever changing maze of online marketing and complex web systems. He turns the technical jargon into practical business solutions.

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