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How Important Is a Mobile Site?

by aschmidt

In January of 2014, a very significant milestone was reached when mobile devices accounted for more than half of all Internet usage in the United States – the first time in history that has ever happened. If current trends are any indication, the number of mobile-ready websites will only continue to increase as more and more people access the Internet via mobile devices as the rule rather than the exception. The growth rate of mobile-ready websites has virtually exploded from roughly 1 million in 2007 to a projected 150 million by 2017. So how important is a mobile site? With such exponential growth taking place, a business without a mobile-optimized website can easily fall behind.

Mobile Commerce: Welcome to the New Normal

Since smartphones and other mobile devices are becoming the “new normal” for facilitating Internet access, it’s imperative for businesses to incorporate a mobile-friendly site into their marketing strategy. Surprisingly, a recent study by New York-based research firm L2 revealed that a staggering number of online retailers had not yet developed a mobile-optimized version of their website; of the 100 top brands that were studied across several popular verticals (i.e., jewelry, retail, fashion, beauty, etc.), only 66% had developed mobile-friendly sites, and only 33% of those sites were capable of facilitating online purchases. This translates into untold amounts of lost sales and missed lead generation opportunities. With mobile commerce transactions expected to top $114 billion by the end of 2014, agile businesses will quickly recognize that having a mobile-optimized site is no longer optional; it will eventually become a mission-critical element of their business operations if they expect to stay competitive in the ever-changing landscape of digital commerce.

Advantages of a Mobile Site

Having a website that is optimized for mobile devices provides numerous benefits and advantages that may not be readily apparent to users who are accustomed to accessing the Internet primarily through desktop computers. Below are some of the main advantages of having a mobile site:

  1. Increased speed. For starters, mobile-friendly websites offer increased download speeds and shorter page load times. If you’ve ever tried to access a non-mobile-friendly website via a smartphone or tablet, you will quickly see why having a mobile-optimized site is truly necessary. More often than not, a non-mobile-friendly site will take forever to download on a mobile device, and it will more than likely have missing page elements or jumbled text. Simply put, mobile-optimized sites offer superior speed and usability, as they are specifically geared to perform well on mobile devices.
  2. Mobile-specific features. Another important benefit of mobile sites is the mobile-specific functionality that they offer. Many times web developers will build unique features into a mobile-optimized site such as click-to-call, object hyperlinking (e.g., QR codes) or GPS-based mapping in order to make the user’s experience more interactive.
  3. Increased SEO value. Let’s face it – all of us are subject to Google’s ever-changing algorithms to some degree, and ranking well in Google’s organic search results is still one of the best ways to receive a steady stream of visitors to your website for free. Google can instantly detect when you’re performing a search from a mobile device, and it will generally favor mobile-optimized sites in its search results when this is the case. If you plan to maintain an advantage over the competition in the realm of organic search, developing a mobile site is simply not optional.
  4. Superiority over app development. Many companies are content to have a smartphone app developed for their business while neglecting to build a mobile-friendly site. This can ultimately cost you more in terms of development expenses, because it will require creating a different app for each specific platform (e.g., iOS, Android, etc.). This can extend production times and fragment the timeline of your app releases. Mobile-friendly sites are universal to practically all modern smartphone browsers, as they are coded in HTML and not in a platform-specific language. This generally makes mobile site development a more cost-effective and flexible route to take than app development.

If your business seeks to acquire more leads and convert more visitors into sales, mobile site development is an option that you cannot ignore. In order for you to stay ahead of the curve in the rapidly changing world of online commerce, it only makes sense to stack as many cards in your favor as possible by developing a mobile-optimized version of your website.

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