Why Your Business Needs a Stellar Mobile Website
BY: MEGAN TOTKA ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 08, 2013
Diving into the realm of mobile technology can seem like a daunting task at first, but it’s one that has become extremely important for businesses to consider over the past few years. While only 10% of internet traffic came from mobile (iPads, smartphones, etc) in 2012, experts predict that those numbers will double to 20% by the end of 2013. So, unless you intend on missing out on that 20% of internet users who are going mobile, you’re going to need a really nice mobile website for your business.
Some of you reading this article may already have a mobile site. Others may not have even begun to think about mobile technology. Either way, you’re in a good place. Because mobile technology is still new and growing, now is the perfect time to saddle up the mobile horse and design a site that helps users browse easily, no matter what device they use.
When you decide to up the ante for mobile users, one of the first questions you’ll likely have will be, “How do I go about building a mobile website?” Good question.
Before you start to build a mobile site, you should first find out what options you have, and what will work best for your business.
Exploring the Options of Mobile Web Design
According to research done by Our Mobile Planet (commissioned by Google), 35% of smartphone users made a purchase from their mobile devices in 2012. That’s no small number, and it gives us even more insight into the fact that mobile users are making up a bigger portion of the internet pie than ever before.
But, building a mobile website isn’t always easy. Similar to a regular website, there’s work that must be put in for the end result to really shine. There are important decisions that must be made even before the website is built.
The most important decision you’ll come to in planning your mobile site will be whether you want to create a brand new, separate mobile website for your business, or whether you’d rather change your current website into a responsive design that will adapt to mobile users who visit.
You should take into consideration your business model, brand image, customer engagement, and other important factors when you make the decision between responsive web design and a building separate site.
There are a number of pros and cons for each option, and which you decide to use to create your site will depend on what you’re really looking to offer with your business.
Mobile Pros & Cons
Here’s a list of pros and cons to help you choose between responsive web design and a separate mobile site:
Separate Mobile Website Pros:
- Allows pages to load faster by loading only assets that mobile users need. This will make mobile users actually want to visit your site, compared to a site that takes too long to load.
- A separate site gives you the opportunity to adapt items like content or writing style to meet your mobile users’ standards, which may be different than your desktop users’ standards.
- Especially with respect to tablets, some users would rather not have a separate experience between desktop and mobile.
- Cross-linking and redirects must be managed between mobile and desktop sites (i.e. make sure the right users go to the right place). This can negatively affect the speed of page loads.
Responsive Web Design Pros:
- Internet king Google recommends a responsive design for making the move to mobile. While Google’s opinion may weigh heavily with you, read on to make a more informed decision.
- A responsive design does away with the need for redirects and ensuring the right people go the right place, because it’s all located in one, convenient site.
- Banner advertisements and certain website layouts can be incredibly difficult to make responsive between mobile and desktop users.
- Responsive web design means more front-end coding, which can mean slower page load times for mobile AND desktop, as well as a total redevelopment of your website’s front-end codebase.
How to Increase Mobile Conversions
Your road to going mobile may look different than that of a big internet retailer. Or, it may look similar. It all comes down to what kind of business you have and what you want your mobile users’ experience to be like. Some e-commerce giants are using responsive web design to present a seamless user experience between desktop and mobile devices and thus, increase mobile conversion rates.
Leading internet companies are attempting to track customers’ experiences by encouraging them to create user accounts and log in on each device they use. This helps them personalize each user’s experience and reflect any account changes (like adding items to a cart, for example) they make, whether on a mobile device or a desktop.
Credit card information can also be stored in these cases, making it easier for a user to make a purchase from a smartphone or tablet.
According to IBM, approximately 25% of visits to e-commerce sites occurred on a mobile device, whereas only 15% of purchases were made on mobile devices.
That means that today, it’s up to the most savvy business owners to create a user experience that encourages mobile users to convert, and purchase those same items they were eying on their smartphones and tablets.
Image via Shutterstock