Mobile access to the internet is growing daily with more and more people jumping on the smart phones bandwagon. So naturally comes a question, does you business need a mobile website?
Let’s start with basics. What is the mobile website? Answer is simple – it’s the website which is supposed to fit nicely into the tiny screen of the smart phone, load fast enough so user won’t start thinking about data transfer charges and time wasted waiting for the website to load, it’s simple enough to navigate with touchscreen and it has useful content.
Content of the mobile website may be somewhat different from the full site. Keep it to the basics, just think about why people will be looking at your mobile website. Are you a local business? Good chance people want to know where you are and what you do, when you are open, how to contact you, are there any deals. A few examples:
- Restaurant – location, hours, contact info, menu (full or sample, and don’t try to make me download PDF or see scanned menu), as an extra touch add some special offer
- Plumber – services, rates, contact info and hours
- Real estate agent – you can guess it 🙂 Contact info and property listings, just make sure it won’t explode my phone with extra large images. And make sure listings have locations, so customers can actually open them on the map
- Travel agency – deals! Plus of course contact info and location
And the list goes on… In addition to having that info on your own mobile website, make sure you are listed in the places where people will be looking for you – Google places, Facebook places, Yelp, FourSquare. Make sure that those sites point people to the page which makes sense – tell what you are doing and where you are right away!
Got interesting content in form of articles and blog posts? When you share links to your website on Twitter or Facebook (and you really should), make sure that page opens nicely on the smart phone, it’s really a disappointment when page doesn’t fit into that tiny screen or is not readable, otherwise your social media efforts may be wasted. Also make sure user is taken right to the article, not to the front page.
For the web applications, think twice about what people are more likely to do on the phone, because some operations are almost impossible to perform. For example, if you have a job postings on the site, people may be looking through those, but it’s really hard to post resume from the touchscreen. So, make sure users have some easy way to email themselves a link to the job posting, so they can apply later from my laptop or desktop computer. In other words, concentrate on presenting information in easy to read format and make it easy to share it, but don’t forget about some basic functions for editing – I may not be posting an online ad from my phone, but there is good chance I will want to delete or deactivate it at some point.
Back to the question, does you business need a mobile website? Yes, but keep it simple!