Imagine the following:
Your sitting in your car and all of a sudden you have an urge for a great slice of pizza. You can taste it, feel it and you need it. You take out your cell phone, open the browser and type “pizza’ in Google; hoping to find a pizza joint nearby.
Well, you’re in luck, or are you? When you click on the first selection in Google you’re taken to a ‘desktop’ designed website. The buttons are so small you can barely see them. The page is so wide, most of the tasty pizza selections are out of sight. And forget how long it took to load….so you close that page and click on the back button and open the next selection. Mobile websites would have solved this problem and had the new customer on their way but wait….
This time the mobile websites were smartly designed for the ‘mobile’ user. The buttons are huge making it easy to navigate, the images fill just the smart phone screen making it much easier to see the great looking slice of pizza. The website itself is designed to just fit the size of the mobile phone screen making scrolling right and left unnecessary. One of the buttons says ‘Directions’ so you click on it and are presented with a perfectly designed map for the phone. You can see that the pizza place is just a couple of blocks away.
It’s kind of late so you click on the phone number are immediately are put in touch with the restaurant and you’re in luck…they’re open.
The pizza was great and the restaurant turned out to be exactly what you wanted. They were lucky that their mobile websites was designed specifically to be ‘mobile-friendly’ like mobile websites need to be in order to attract mobile customers ‘when they want and where they are’!
What’s even better was that as you were leaving the owner asked you if you wanted to join their “pizza of the month” club to get discounts, coupons and freebies. All you had to do was Type: JoesPizza To:72727 on your smartphone (this is only an example and will not really work….) and they would send these specials right to your cell phone when they occur. And you don’t even need to use a scissor to cut out the coupon, it’s right there on your phone when you need it.
All in all a pretty good experience all thanks to Mobile Websites. Mobile websites are designed to be faster to load, easier to navigate and more comfortable to view on a mobile phone. Additionally, mobile websites are fit on the smart phone screen avoiding the need to scroll right and left and zooming in order to read text or use buttons.
A mobile market demands that companies interested in their business have a mobile website. It’s just that simple.
Websites designed for the ‘desktop’ are just not designed for use for the mobile market. Mobile websites are faster, load more quickly and have buttons that are large enough to use on a mobile phone. Additionally, due to the small size of the screen on a mobile phone, the content created for a mobile website is designed to fit on the screen eliminating the horizontal scrolling and the need for zooming in and out.
Finally, the mobile market has a need for certain, definitive information. Just think about what you want when you start surfing on your mobile phone and you’ll quickly realize that, for the most part, it’s very simple and basic information such as phone numbers, directions, video, restaurant menus and the like.
If there is one thing that a business owner needs to understand, and understand NOW, is that if you want to attract and keep the mobile market returning, you need to cater to their needs by creating a mobile website. Traditional websites just don’t provide that kind of functionality and will result in the mobile customer leaving and leaving in seconds. Where will they go….likely to your competitor!
We’re witnessing the next step in the evolution of the Internet. Now, mobile devices with smaller screens such as cell phones, tablets and smartphones are being used by millions of people for online surfing. As of yet, however, many cosmetic practices still do not use QR codes or have a mobile version of their website.
The continuing dependence of these cosmetic surgery clinics on standard websites means they are missing out on a significant portion of their potential market. Having a mobile website and using QR codes will be essential in the future, because in the last year alone there was an over 50% jump in the number of surfers who used their cellphones to browse the Internet. And, there are no indications that this substantial upsurge in mobile device usage will slow down. An ever-increasing number of Internet surfers are using Droids, Blackberries and iPhones to give them additional mobility.
Mobile access to information is important for cosmetic practices, but it is also important for consumers searching for the best cosmetic service providers. Equipped with mobile devices, purchasing decisions are now being made while people are on the go. Any business that is displayed during a search will gain additional visitors to its site, and some of those additional visitors will convert into patients for your cosmetic surgery clinic. You can accomplish this by using QR codes and making adjustments to your standard website so that a mobile website is created.
Mobile website development is burgeoning, a circumstance that translates into additional communication mechanisms, innovative marketing techniques, and ultimately, additional income for cosmetic surgery clinics with a mobile website. Businesses that are perceptive enough to recognize the increased usage of mobile devices to browse the ‘net will be able to position themselves for additional business opportunities by adopting QR codes in combination with a mobile website.
One way to pursue the benefits of this mobile medium is to offer mobile-friendly information relating to your cosmetic services and pricing, as well as any special promotions you are running. Effectively advertised in a way that mobile devices can access, such as through QR codes and a mobile website, this information can help draw in additional patients to your clinic.
QR codes and mobile websites are used to deliver the content your potential patients need by permitting mobile users to access your website no matter where they are. Naturally, this increased access provides some excellent business opportunities, and many cosmetic surgery clinics are trying to determine the strategy that will work best for them, working hard to engage mobile users. The mobile web is now viewed as being an established third medium, and substantial steps have been taken to permit mobile e-commerce websites and lengthen the reach of businesses. Now, a mobile website and QR codes enable cosmetic surgery practices to provide targeted information and promotions to mobile users.
One of the most appealing things about a mobile website is how it can benefit a business of any size, and cosmetic surgery practices are recognizing this by also jumping in. Make sure your main website is mobile enabled to take advantage of this great opportunity.
For more information on how to place you and your cosmetic surgery practice at the top of the Internet search results where patients can find you, go to http://CosmeticSurgeonsOnTop.com
It cannot be denied that almost everything nowadays is mobile. Whereas before laptops were not common, today these gadgets are abundant and actually cost lower than they used to cost before. Cellular phones were not the trend in the past, but nowadays almost everyone has a cellphone.
Recognizing these, cellular companies and website programmers have launched what is now called the Wireless Application Protocol. Abbreviated as WAP, it is the international standard for Internet access using a mobile phone or from a personal digital assistant. The mobile application for WAP is very similar to a web browser in computers (Mozilla Firefox, Opera, atc.) but with some features removed to comply with mobile phone standards.
With WAP, mobile users can access services provided by various websites from their cellphones. They can send email, browse through the latest news reports in major news websites, track news about their favorite sport events and even download music files to their phones. This is very useful for businessmen, who are always on the go and might sometimes find carrying a laptop around as tiresome.
Despite its similarity to the Hypertext Markup Language used to design websites, WAP sites are created using the Wireless Markup Language. Similar to HTML, WML provides web interface features such as navigation, data input forms, hyperlinks, text and images.
How Mobile Internet Works
Mobile Internet access works much like its computer-based cousins. It uses a bridge or gateway to access the World Wide Web. When the user requests a page, the bridge retrieves the pages from the Web. These pages are then converted into a format that the phone can read and recognize.
One wonderful feature of mobile Internet is that you can query for phone numbers of certain establishments through the Web. You can then use the numbers that are returned by the query to make a call through your cellular phone, saving you from the hassle of having to dial the number to make a call.
The Process of Designing and Building a Mobile Website
There is little difference on how to design and build a mobile website as compared to designing conventional websites which are accessed from a desktop or laptop browser. But it is important to know these differences before one decides to tackle the task of creating websites specific for WAP browsers.
For one, designing a mobile website takes a far longer time to complete as compared to its desktop cousins. This is because the WAP accessing terminals in each phone model varies from each other. There is a different terminal for Nokia devices, and different ones for Sony Ericsson, so on and so forth. WML itself has very strict specifications because it is a very different beast compared to its ancestor, HTML, despite their similarities in the appearance and behavior of sites that are built using their codes. Thus, one finds that there are different methods of how to design and build a mobile website that caters to each of these specific phone models.
To design a mobile website, you need specific authoring kits for mobile phones. In the beginning, when mobile phones did not support the XHTML standard, content providers needed specific development kits to come up with WAP-specific pages. This is in great contrast to designing desktop-accessed pages, where one only needs a text editor and a browser to design and test a page.
Fortunately, WAP authoring kits are available and are abundant in the Internet. To search for these kits, one only needs to type “mobile website authoring kits” in their preferred search engine and will be rewarded by a lot of hits, or search results. These results are links to the various WAP development kits that can downloaded from the World Wide Web.
There also documentation available in the Internet providing information on how to design and build a mobile website. For example, mTLD hosts a myriad of training resources including ebooks on how to make your websites compliant while mobile phone internet standards.
Initially, unlike conventional websites, WAP sites need to be tested using a cellular phone itself. This has made designing and building mobile websites take a far longer time to be completed as compared to computer-based web sites. Nowadays, however, more and more mobile phones are adapting to the XHTML and XML standards. Plus, there are also mobile phone emulators (software that imitate the environment of a mobile phone) that can be downloaded from the Internet. The mobile web designers can use these emulators to speed up the testing phase of their projects. Because of these improvements, the ways of how to design and build mobile web sites are much easier and faster.
To facilitate faster development of WAP sites, the World Wide Web consortium or the W3C has developed a scheme in which developers can assess if their web sites are ready to be accessed by mobile phones. The registry of mobile ready sites, mTLD has even released a tool, named “MobiReady Report” to test for the mobile readiness of website using established practices and standards of the industry. These tools can be used as a reference as to how to design and build mobile web sites faster.
There are basic principles and limitations one should be aware of in designing a mobile website. Summarized, these limitations are:
o Only Cascading Style Sheets can be used to design the layout of your mobile website. In contrast to conventional websites, one cannot use tables to lay out the design of the pages.
o XHTML (Extended HTML) and XML (Extensible Markup Language) can be used to hard-code the pages’ design.
o Only characters encoded using the UTF-8 standard can be readable and accepted by mobile phones’ browsers.
o There are specific page sizes for each specific phone. The pages have a resolution of 640×480 at most, and 120 pixels on the average.
o Unlike designing pages that are accessed by a computer, in which you have the freedom of placing whatever information wherever you may want to put them, you have to place the most important information of your WAP site at the top of the page.
o WAP users favor the use of radio buttons and list to take their picks, rather than entering information through text entry fields such as text areas and textfields.
o Only the JPEG and GIF image formats are accepted in a WAP-oriented site.
o Mobile phones can only accept a maximum page size of 20 kilobytes. Any larger than that and it will cause phones to crash when accessing the pages.
o Pure HTML is used a mobile page. You cannot provide links to videos, as well as the Portable Document Format or PDF. You cannot embed Flash and other similar file types as well because mobile phones are not yet configured to be able to play such files from WAP sites.
o Most mobile devices access WAP sites with the speed of a dial-up connection. As a designer, you must be careful to design your pages in a way that it will be too big and take too long for the WAP user to access. Users pay for the time that they access the Internet through their phones, so it is important for your pages to load quickly.
o Mobile devices do not have the luxury of navigational icons unlike web browsers. Mobile phone users are limited to using the directional buttons and scrollers on their phones to navigate through a page. Designers are also encouraged to put in an interface to navigate to the previous page because most mobile phones do not have a “back” button in their WAP interfaces.
Mobile websites are hosted using the top-domain name of .mobi. The domain is approved by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, and is managed by the mTLD global registry for domain names. Like mentioned earlier, websites hosted on the .mobi domain follows a specific standard in order to make sure that they are friendly to mobile phone processors. This standard, released by the W3C, specifies how to design and build mobile websites and optimizing them for users to achieve positive experience in navigating them.
To summarize previous information, these are the key points of how to design and build mobile websites:
o You need a content editor in order to design the user interface of your mobile website. These editors are available from the World Wide Web. Some of them are free, some are commercial.
o There are limitations that should be remembered when designing websites for the mobile phones, including the screen size (which is dependent on the phone model you are developing for) and the maximum file size that a WAP-ready mobile phone can handle.
o The content you come up with can be tested using an emulator that is also available in abundance in the Internet. These emulators imitate the environment of a cellular phone so you no longer have to upload your beta content to a host, and then access them using a WAP-ready mobile.
o Mobile web sites are uploaded and hosted using the “.mobi” top-domain name.
Mark Andre Yapching is a freelance writer providing writing services to just about anyone who is interested in his services. You can contact him through his email address. Check out some of his writing in http://immortalundead.multiply.com/journal
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.