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The importance of having a mobile-optimised business website
Story by "Alex Pirouz " | September 24, 2012, 12:14 PM
Mobile optimisation can increase sales, generate more traffic, and boost customer engagement. And it’ll give you an edge over the competition, too. You may not realise it,
Things which once sat exclusively in the domain of our desktops – finding and booking a place to eat, playing your favorite game, buying your next favorite song, taking a photo or video of your children’s first words, seeing what is on TV, or even getting from A to B – are now integrated and accessible on the go via smartphones and tablet devices.
Recent research conducted by Ads Product Marketing found that today in Australia – as well as in the US, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Saudi Arabia and UAE – more than 50 per cent of the population use smartphones. The research found that 52 per cent of Australians now own a smartphone – 15 per cent more than in 2011.
With every trend there is usually a tipping point before something is accepted and widely used by the masses. Due to affordability, functionality and the ease of access to the internet, it’s no wonder that smartphones have become a key tool for information sourcing.
“Times have changed and technology has evolved,” explains Michael Simonetti from AndMine. “Business owners must stay up to date on current advancements and trends in order to adapt to how users search for your business online, especially if e-commerce is your specialty.
“As cliché as it is, you do only get one chance to make a first impression on a customer, and that impression can either be your best or last. With an increased amount of mobile searches conducted, it is important to have a mobile website that is not only functional, but is also user friendly.”
If a consumer searches for a certain product and you appear in their search results, they expect that your site will work properly on their mobile device. Websites that have an overwhelming amount of information and don’t fit the parameters of a mobile website are inconvenient and frustrating to use.
If your website isn’t mobile user-friendly, your bounce rates may become significantly higher as mobile devices continue to grow in popularity.
Business owners must also take into consideration the fact that the experience, behaviours and actions of a mobile web visitor are quite different to that of a desktop web visitor. Traditional websites can expect users to move in a vertical pattern, while mobile users tend to navigate side to side, ie left to go back to the home page, right to go to the next page.
Here are five important tips and practises from Simonetti to keep in mind when creating a mobile site.
Design decisions: Determine if you want to build a mobile site or responsive website design (also known as fluid design). There are pros and cons to either approach, but both are better than ignoring mobile traffic altogether.
Keep it simple: This age-old adage couldn’t be better suited to mobile versioning. Mobile users want the right information, quickly and easily; over-complicate it and you’ve missed the point of the mobile version in the first place.
A smartphone content strategy: Develop a cross-device content strategy to ensure consistency and cost-effective ongoing management. If possible, have both sites run a single point of control – for example, running the same CMS and database.
Mobile favouritism: Add Mobile feature improvements. For example, swipe gestures, “Click to Call” and “Directions to Here”. There is no better user experience when you’ve considered the user is “Mobile”.
Better is best: Finally, test and re-test your site for user engagement. Periodic reviews of Google Analytics and customer feedback will help determine necessary refinements and improve conversions of browsers to buyers.
A study by Morgan Stanley has projected that in less than two years’ time mobile internet use will surpass traditional desktop internet use, and it is estimated that by 2015 there will be more mobile phones than there are people on the planet. So if you have put the creation of a mobile website at the end of your (long) list of “Things To Do”, or perhaps it may not even be on your list, you may want to consider reprioritising if you want to stay competitive within your industry.
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