Having a mobile website has gone from a sign of technological advancement to a necessity for entrepreneurs and start-ups. People using their mobile phones to connect to the Internet have grown in number from 55 percent in late 2011 to 65 percent by the end of 2013, according to Global Web Index. And during the same period, going online via a tablet grew at an even faster rateâ€”from just 12 percent up to 29 percent. And a Microsoft blog post predicts that global mobile Internet usage will soon surpass desktop Internet usage.
So if your company doesn’t have a mobile website, then you could be missing out on valuable customers. In fact, according to a Google Mobile Ads blog, 48 percent of users say they feel frustrated and annoyed when they get to a site thatâ€™s not mobile-friendly, with 52 percent saying the bad mobile experience would make them less likely to engage with a company.
Among the options for Smartphone-optimized websites that Google supports are separate mobile websites, dynamic serving (different HTML or one URL) or responsive design (the same HTML for one URL).
Benefits of building a separate mobile site include the ability to design specifically for mobile user needs and quick site creation, also according to the Google Mobile Ads blog.
There are several steps to consider when building a mobile website, according to Social Media Examiner:
– Choose what content to include. Ensure you include key information in the restricted amount of screen space you will have available.
– Keep pages to a minimum. Mobile web pages will load slower than traditional web pages, plus users wonâ€™t have the patience to click several pages deep. Pop-up windows should also be avoided.
– Other suggestions include not using flash or java (since many mobile devices donâ€™t support them) and keeping text entry to a minimum. You should also ensure your website shares branding elements with your desktop versionâ€“in addition to offering access to the full website for people wishing to access information that isnâ€™t available on the mobile site.
– Building a mobile website is not without challenges, however. Mobile development brings about the need to be both cross platform (iOS, Android, etc.) and cross browser (Opera Mini, Firefox Mobile, etc.), according to an article in Smashing Magazine.
– Another option that entrepreneurs and start-ups consider is responsive web design and development. A responsive website can provide customers with consistent, satisfying experiences while also helping your company maintain its brand identity across devices and optimize for search engines because one URL is much easier for users to share, interact with and link to than content that lives on a separate mobile site, according to Search Engine Watch.
Companies like Technocrats Horizons provide both offerings and consult with you to help your company decide which to go with. But whether you choose a responsive website or a separate mobile website, either offering allows you to communicate with potential customers 24 hours a day, every day. But start-ups and seasoned entrepreneurs alike need to ensure their companies have an option to capture the ever-increasing amount of mobile customers on the go.