Mobile phone usage is growing at its fastest ever pace.
Virtually everyone you see walking down the street will be carrying some sort of mobile device, whether that’s a smartphone or a tablet. Now, you may wonder why that should be of any particular importance to small businesses. Well, the latest statistics reveal that 20% of the search market is occupied by mobiles. In other words, a fifth of all product and service searches are done on mobile devices. Now you may find that figure surprising, but really it shouldn’t. Mobiles are sophisticated pieces of equipment. They’re essentially pocket sized, full-spec computers with high-resolution touch screens, and a plethora of apps that puts all the information you’ll ever need just a finger’s touch away. No wonder we all use them.
The problem is if your business trades online, you’ll need to have a website suitable for mobile browsing.
If not, your business 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 you won’t be surprised to hear that the answer is definitely to invest in a purpose-built mobile website, and the reason for this is simple enough – businesses really can’t afford not to.
Business websites on mobile screens are hopeless.
If you’ve ever used a standard company website on a mobile screen, you’ll know how frustrating it can be. In fact, let’s cut to the chase: it can be an absolute nightmare. 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 that anyone who doesn’t have the nimblest of fingers will generally hit more than just the one button. Full size business websites viewed on a mobile device are hopeless.
Well-optimized mobile websites, however, generally work like a treat. They are minimal, so reduce loading times. 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 optimized mobile websites have large call-to-action buttons that are brightly coloured and meant for use by users who have normal sized fingers.
Your competitors have a mobile website.
In a straight competition between two similar sized companies, which one is more likely to be the most profitable? The answer is the company that has an optimised mobile website. 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 by chance roaming users do chance upon your site, 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.
Local businesses need an optimised mobile website if they want to have any kind of success in local mobile search.
Mobile search is tied in closely with local search. The reason for this is simple: 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 logic tells you that you’ll go back to the search pages and find a restaurant where that facility is available. So, one business gains at the expense of the other. Now imagine if that happens every night? How much income might that business lose over the course of a year?