24 Nov 2011

Five Reasons You Must Have a Mobile Site for 2012

Still don’t have a mobile compatible website? You’re not alone. In fact, only about 5% of online businesses have a mobile compatible website. 

The best way for you to stay ahead of the curve, would then be to have a mobile compatible website.

So, remind me again why you don’t have one yet?

No doubt about it, not having a mobile compatible website heading in to 2012 is going to hinder your business growth capabilities, so here are five good reasons you should have a mobile site going into 2012.

Mobile Screen Size
Let’s be honest, the size of a smartphone screen is nowhere near the same as a tablet, laptop, or desktop screen. In fact, smartphone screens are downright small comparatively. If you direct mobile users to your main website, they are going to have to do a whole bunch of scrolling and zooming to make the site readable.

If consumers find your website looking like the picture above, it will take them much longer to find the information they are looking for, it can deter them from being a potential customer. Sites essentially should be a miniature version of your main website and designed with the mobile user in mind. Meaning, navigation needs to be easy and something that can be done with the touch of a finger. By having a mobile friendly website, consumers can find the information they are searching for faster and easier, given the minimal screen size.

Faster Load Time
Let’s be honest, consumers are all a little impatient. We all want to see things load fast. A mobile compatible site is going to load light-years before the desktop version. Think of the mobile version of your site as the slimmer version of your main website, it’s going to load much faster since you’ve gotten rid of the unnecessary items hogging up the space. Speed matters on a mobile site, just as much as it matters on a desktop site. I know I’ve run into this issue several times with my Blackberry; when it happens, I only wait around if it’s a necessary task to be completed, because I know then I’m going to get stuck scrolling around the page and waiting for it to load the zoomed screen.

Mobile Search is Different
If you didn’t already know, mobile search is a whole different ballgame. Mobile sites get indexed separately from non-mobile compatible sites. Another point, if you don’t have the mobile compatible site, you’re not coming up in the search results and potential customers aren’t finding you through search. However, if you’re one of the ones who already have a mobile site, you’re more likely to be found by local mobile users.

Half of all local searches are performed on mobile devices. Just think, the high-rankings you build now on mobile search will help you when the space becomes more crowded with your competitors. The competitive advantage is for you to jump in it now, while not everyone is in the space yet. You do want to be ahead of the curve right?

Mobile Sites Drive Traffic to Location
The whole point of a website is to drive traffic to your location and consumers do research on the go, utilizing their smartphones to search for information. When you’re out and hungry, you’re going to want to know where a specific restaurant is in relation to you. You never know when you will have a strong hankering for Five Guys or Chipotle. Since the consumer is looking for something specific, your website should contain the key information they want to find. For a hotel that could be icons to reservations, contact us, and rooms. For a restaurant that could be icons to location/contact us, book a table, and menu.

Provide a Place for eCommerce Transactions
A mobile site provides a place to complete eCommerce transactions such as, book a hotel room, make dinner reservations, or buy that last minute present. Take this scenario for example, you get stranded at Miami International Airport, the next flight you can get on doesn’t leave until tomorrow morning, what do you do? You get on your smartphone and search for hotels close to the airport – preferably, you’d like to book online. The first site that you look at isn’t mobile compatible – do you try to book, or go back to search and see if the next one is? Chances are you’re going to go to the hotel that has a mobile friendly site and book right there, no need to sit on hold with reservations.

Also, if your users are looking to buy something online, you should invest in mobile advertisements. With relatively little clutter in mobile advertisements, you are going to stand out from the crowd.

Original article: HSMAI