Mobile devices present an exciting yet challenging opportunity to the internet marketer. Over the last 2 years, mobile devices have outpaced just about every other electronic gadget on the market. Currently, over 84% of US adults have mobile phones, and the smart phone segment of this market is experiencing double-digit growth. The shipments of smart phones are expected to exceed those of PCs in 2012. According to Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com, over 1 billion dollars in amazon.com revenue was spent on smart phones over the last 12 months.
It is obvious that restaurants, stores, coffee shops, movie theaters, and banks are greatly impacted by how they address the mobile website markets. However, many business-to-business companies may not believe that creating a mobile-friendly website should be a priority. Should a business-to-business company invest in a mobile website?
First question: can mobile devices view your existing website?
Second question: how many visitors are coming to your site now via a mobile device and what are they doing when they get there?
Google analytics tracks such events. My client base is almost 100% business-to-business, and many in manufacturing, yet there are some consistent trends emerging. Presently, about 1.5 to 2.5% of all traffic coming to these websites is from mobile devices. This is not a significant percentage, but this rate of growth is significant. In most cases, the percent of mobile traffic has tripled over the last year. In terms of engagement, the mobile user neither views as many pages nor stays as long as the average viewer, but in nearly every one of my client’s cases, I see that a mobile user has submitted a “Contact Us” or email form, and sometimes even purchased something.
Third question: what should your mobile website look like?
Mobile websites tend to be scaled down, simple, and very easy to navigate. The sites use fewer graphics, simpler text, and very straightforward navigation. Mobile websites are actually built with different languages than HTML so that they are simpler and faster for the mobile browser to decipher. Most businesses should consider starting out with just a few pages, since mobile users typically just want basic information. You can always give mobile users the choice to go back to your desktop website if they really need to get a lot of info.
The pages chosen for a mobile website should accommodate the greatest needs of anyone using a mobile device to view the site. For example, would a client use his phone to find information on a component while on the road? Maybe someone en route to your plant just needs quick directions. Each business has to figure out what information their mobile user would most need and make sure it’s a part of the Mobile Web.
One final consideration is whether your competitors have mobile sites. Being amongst the first to launch a mobile website can provide SEO advantages for local searches, as Google may give priority to mobile websites. For Pay Per Click, Google allows you to set up campaigns just for mobile devices. The cost per-click rates are, in most cases, going to be significantly less than your conventional PPC campaigns.
Overall, companies need to assess the trends of their consumers and decide whether a mobile site will better cater to clients. Ask anyone who has navigated both a mobile and regular website from their phone which is better. The full website can be a headache, especially if there is a mobile site to browse. Will your clients be searching you from a mobile device, and if so, who is easier to browse than you?
Stephen Petersen is president of SP Business Solutions and is a search engine optimization specialist. SP Business Solutions has a license to market as WSI. WSI does internet marketing including building custom websites, search engine optimization, pay per click management services, social media optimization and website hosting and maintenance.
As you might probably know by now, more than five billion people in the world own mobile devices. In the past few years, the sale of mobile devices has surpassed sales of just about every other electronic device on the face of the planet. In fact, mobile phone usage is exhibiting no signs of slowing down any time soon. Scientists are predicting that by the year 2013, cell phone shipments will have surpassed those of PC’s and Mac’s.
What does all this mean? It means that business owners need to capitalize on the millions of web searches conducted on these mobile devices by setting up mobile friendly landing pages and websites. To emphasize this point, studies have shown that people rarely leave their homes without their mobile phones and more and more of them are using them to perform business searches on the go.
Just in case you’re still not convinced, here are some more pointers as to why investing in a mobile website design is a good bet for safeguarding your business’ future.
Apart from the fact that consumers are performing searches on their mobile devices more often than they are using their computers; there is also the reality that search engine optimization is slowly fading and that mobile search optimization is the rising trend and will probably drive new business and marketing opportunities to the future.
Also, it is wise to think about the rate at which cell phones are being bought. It won’t be long before the sale of smart phones eclipses that of computers and laptops. The exotic and endless bevy of newly developed mobile devices, upgraded mobile broadband access, captivating content and a wide range of applications to choose from are all catalysts stoking this remarkable growth. In this respect, failure to acquire a mobile website will mean that more people will continually be frustrated by trying to view web content created for desktop/laptops on their devices. Inevitably, visitors not wait for a slow site to load and will just move on to the next site. Whether they are moving towards or away from your website is something only you can decide.
It goes without saying that with such a high rate of mobile access, competition is destined to be strong; not only by retailers in the revenue sector but also online companies for mobile space. Smart business managers should realize this and plan for the future. Those who act ahead now stand to retain their customers and also benefit in the future by attracting new ones.
With all this information, your mind is probably racing with ideas concerning the new mobile website you plan on setting up. The good news is that having your own mobile website designed and operational is a lot less than you would spend on a traditional style website and much less than the cost of an app which for most businesses is a false economy since development costs are multiplied by the number of operating systems required, while a mobile website will work on all browsers with no need to download anything. Changing content or offers on a mobile website is as easy – changing an app will involve specialist skills with a price tag that will not be cheap.
Some companies will opt for an app as they think it will confer some kind of extra status, but a visitor doesn’t see it that way. All that does is just place another step in the process but even more importantly, the app will need to be publicized before anyone will even know it exists. There are hundreds of thousands of apps out there but who has the time to trawl through them when the information is easily available online in seconds. Google, Yahoo and Bing will not be listing apps in their search engine results for keywords but they are listing local businesses in a big way. Google recently upped the stakes by including 7 listings for local results on their first page of results. They did this because they know that the majority of searches are for local services and the majority of searches are with mobile phones. ‘Google Places listings’ ensures that page one results will load quickly – and if your business has a mobile version of its website then your business will gain an extra advantage with ‘Google Places’ results.
Google has stated that sites which are slow to load will drop in ranking – why? Because Google want visitors to use their search engine. So if you were experiencing slow sites on your device when you searched on Google and ‘quick to load’ sites on Bing – then you would make Bing your browser of choice. Google know this and are not going to allow that to happen under any circumstances.
The fact is, most businesses (about 97%) do not have a mobile version of their website. Most that do are larger companies who are never slow when it comes to this sort of advance. For smaller businesses however, this represents an enormous opportunity to gain a big headstart on their competition.
The mobile revolution is here.
To find see why mobile websites are superior to apps, just visit us at Mobile Website Design. View our gallery of designs and for a limited time you can get a free mock up mobile website design for your business with no obligation.