It’s no secret the power of tablets, smartphones & the Internet these days. You literally can’t walk 5mins out the office without finding yourself in the middle of a techo apocalypse. For the first time in more than ten years, PC sales are expected to drop and predictions show that by 2014 mobile will be the dominant form of web browsing.
So how do you think this will impact your business? If you’re not amongst the waves of business owners jumping ship to provide your customers with a mobile friendly alternative it’s time to get serious. Read on.
So what is a ‘mobile alternative’?
Put simply (without getting into too much detail), it’s a website which has been designed & optimised specifically with tablets & smartphones in mind. Given the number of them out in the public space right now, you’d be silly to look past this prime target market.
While there are a few different routes you could go down to ensure your business is above the mobile game, knowing what is what is always helpful, so lets explain the different options you have to mobilise yourself.
Firstly, ‘Mobile Friendly’ should not be confused with ‘Mobile Website’ as these serve an entirely different purpose. All websites we build at Media Heroes are all built ‘mobile-friendly’ meaning; we build them to be viewable on a smart phone. Overall, the website will look and function the same as your desktop site, just at a much smaller size. So get those thumbs zooming!
A mobile website is a separate entity of your site that is sitting on a different url (eg: mobile.mediaheroes.com.au) majority of the time you would never even know you had been redirected.
Typically, mobile sites will be stripped back to show only relevant information people on the go need at their thumb tips – less text, larger headings, clear call to action buttons, directions & maps to business locations & the all-important phone number.
In some instances too, mobile users may require a completely different experience than desktop users; this is where mobile sites become super handy.
Keep in mind though; having a mobile site means you have 2 sites to update, along with 2 domain names.
Responsive Web Design
Responsive websites respond to their environment, sending designers & clients into a fluster of excitement – and for good reason. In a world where tablets & smartphones are performing the same duties as PCs and Macs, we are seeing the face of the Internet change.
Using css media queries, websites built responsively have the ability to serve up different styles (showing / hiding information) depending on the screen size, orientation (landscape or portrait) resolution & other characteristics of the user’s device. A responsive site will change with you giving you an optimised view based on your device – regardless of its size.
While the development time involved in building a responsive site is slightly more, overall you will be future proofing your business – screens are only going to get bigger!
So what advantages can I expect?
Having a business website is mandatory – even if it is only for web presence. But it’s also just as important for it to function well on mobile devices. Any website which fails to do this, is only shooting themselves in the foot – you want to retain your customers not pass them to your competition.
If the growing number of mobile users isn’t enough to swing your decision to upgrade your business website, here are some other advantages to reap:
Improved User Experience
Mobile users love a good mobile site, so give them what they want! In a recent study by Compuware, 57% of respondents said they would not recommend a business that had a bad mobile site. While 40% said they would turn to another business after having a bad mobile experience. The proof is in the pudding!
Increase brand awareness by offering the millions of mobile users with access to your website – anytime, anywhere.
Optimised sites are generally leaner, lightweight & load faster.
Easy to maintain
With a responsive site, you only need to edit 1 website. With a separate mobile site, you would need to edit both.
Google recommends Responsive Web Design (RWD) over mobile sites, because RWD “preserves a canonical url, avoiding any complicated redirects.”
Having a good-looking user-friendly mobile alternative puts you in a position to stand out amongst competitors.
Are you ready to join the revolution?
Hopefully my article has swayed you enough to at least start thinking about upgrading your business site to mobile or RWD. However if you are not 100% convinced yet that this change will be beneficial for your business, ask yourself the following, and then decide.
- What does my business website look like on a smartphone?
- Is it easy to read & navigate around?
- How many of my users are viewing my website from their mobile device?
- What about my competitors – Do they offer a mobile alternative?
With 2014 slowly approaching, there really is no better time than right now to get one up on your competitors. Regardless of the framework or route you decide to go down, remember it is your users who you should consider first. Get in touch with Media Heroes today for more information on mobile & RWD.