Can Small Businesses Really Afford Not To Have An Optimised Mobile Website?

Mobile usage, whether via smartphone or tablet device, is growing quicker than ever, and small businesses really need to take note of that fact.

Why is it so important for small enterprises? Well, simply because 1 in 5 product searches are conducted using mobile devices. There was a time not too long ago when such figures would have been unheard of as the technology was lacking, but that’s no longer the case: mobile devices today are sophisticated pieces of equipment.

In fact, they are essentially pocket sized, full-spec computers with high-resolution touch screens and a plethora of apps that are capable of putting all the information you’ll ever need at your fingertips. If your business trades online, then your website will need to be suitable for mobile browsing. If not, you could potentially be missing out on sales. So how can small to medium sized business make sure they’re not left behind? Do they simply pare down their existing website and hope for the best, or do they bite the bullet and invest in a properly optimised mobile website? Well it’s a no-brainer really: businesses need to invest in a purpose-built mobile website for the simple reason that they can’t afford not to.

Have you ever tried to look at a regular business website on a mobile screen?

If the answer’s yes you’ll understand how frustrating that can be. The page can take an eternity to load, the text is so small that it’s barely readable, half the text can suddenly just vanish into the ether, and the link buttons are usually so small as to be useless. Regular, full-size business websites are just not meant to be viewed on a mobile device.

Well-optimised mobile websites, on the other hand, generally work perfectly.

They are minimal and scaled back in many senses, so page loading times are reduced. The user is presented with text that is both big enough to read and in a format that is conducive to mobile scrolling—typically in straight columns down the page. Properly optimised mobile websites have large call-to-action buttons that are brightly coloured and easy to use.

Which business will make the greater number of sales – a business with a fully optimised mobile website, or a business with a standard website? The answer is obvious – the company that has an optimised for mobile search. If your competitors have a mobile website and you don’t, then you’re missing out on potentially a fifth of mobile search market. If you’re fortunate enough to attract roaming users, it won’t take them long to realise that the site isn’t optimised, and therefore frustrating to use, so they’ll bounce away and go somewhere better. In fact, users tend to remember the sites that gave them a positive mobile experience, and go directly to that site the next time, and that doesn’t bode well for your business.

Mobile search is inextricably linked with local search.

Mobile phones can detect location and the search engines will give results based on that location. Even if your business ranks well in local searches, without an optimised mobile site, there’s every likelihood that although you may get traffic, you won’t necessarily get the conversions. Imagine if you’re meeting a friend for dinner and want to make an impression. Normally you’d look up the name of a local restaurant, and scan the menu to see if the choice and the cost are acceptable. Now if you can’t access the menu because the website isn’t optimised for your smartphone, then you’ll go back to the search pages and find a restaurant where you can. So, one business gains at the expense of the other. Now imagine if that happens every night – how much income could that business lose over the course of a year?