Is Your Website Mobile Ready?

Why you need to transform your traditional website for the smartphone user of today – and the millions tomorrow.

There is always much discussion on new trending marketing ideas and their relevance to increasing the bottom line of your business. Lately, a lot of that discussion has been focused around mobile technology – specifically mobile websites.

To fully understand mobile websites, the computer of the future must be taken into account. In 2010, the sales of smartphones exceeded the sales of laptops both globally and locally, a trend still very alive in 2011. For the businessperson this means that every day more people are turning to their cellphones for information than before.

Last year more than half the population used smartphones, a number that is without a doubt increasing. Fact is, the smartphone is the laptop of the future. The processing speeds of smartphones will only increase, and as they go, the result will be greater functionality and ever-increasing dependence on these devices.

My prediction? Soon you'll be able to plug a keyboard, monitor and speakers into your smartphone and, like it or not, your home or work computer will be with you wherever you go.

What's that mean for the future of websites? A lot. Today, when a traditional website – one made for viewing on a computer screen – is opened on the screen of a smartphone, it's often hard to read and navigate. The words appear tiny, and the links to other pages are often small and hard to click on. To make the experience even more awkward, often times the viewer must move the screen to the left and right to see the whole page and finish reading all of its information.

A mobile website, however, is different. It is built and formatted in a way that makes the experience for the smartphone user more graceful. Text and pictures are formatted to fit on a much smaller screen, navigation to other pages is more prominent and easy to select with a fingertip, and marketing messages are formed with a more surgical experience in mind.

Is a mobile website necessary for your business? You be the judge: Look at your company's website through a smartphone. Would you be satisfied if you were looking for information there, or would you shut down the screen in frustration? If your website was built for viewing on a computer, chances are it doesn't translate well to use on a smartphone. If it doesn't, and you want to ensure smartphone users find your website as useful and easy to navigate on a smartphone as it is on a computer, you might want to consider a mobile website.

What important information should you know when considering a mobile website for your business? First, understand the No. 1 rule: When it comes to crafting a mobile websites, less is always more effective. Just 100 words on a smartphone screen can look like War and Peace. Your mobile site's mission is to keep your messages short and to the point.

Rather than scads of paragraphs, offer the viewer the chance to interact with your site. Offer interactive features like point-by-point directions to your venue. Request information so you can gather subscribers for your email list and text message campaigns, or ask a survey question directly to your customer base.

Once your mobile website is built, a printable QR code can direct smartphone users to your site from your print materials and other merchandising. This allows customers to access your website in one step from your business card, periodical ad, direct-mailing, or even a Frisbee. Statistics can then be analyzed to provide pertinent information on which marketing efforts are paying off.

Besides helping you glean actual evidence of which marketing efforts are working best for your business, mobile websites are of great value for another reason: They're a minimal expense in terms of time and money.

A mobile website typically costs, at most, a couple hundred dollars. The monthly upkeep in time is just a few minutes, and maintaining it costs roughly $5 to $10 dollars monthly.

Another bonus: mobile websites, by their very nature, prompt people to contact you. It couldn't be easier; after all, your business' phone number and email address are on the screen, and the customer's means to contact you is right in the palm of his hand.

Montie is TK of Pro Web Marketing. 231-944-1421, Dan@prowebmarketing.com.

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