Is a Mobile Website Really Worth It?
It’s undeniable–smartphones have become an integral part of our everyday lives. By virtually every known metric, mobile Internet usage has increased at a blistering pace, and there’s little doubt that the trend will continue. After all, smartphone adoption is becoming more and more prevalent across the globe, to the point now where there are some countries that have more smartphones than they have people. In addition, the year 2014 witnessed an extremely significant shift in the tide of technology, where mobile Internet usage exceeded PC usage for the first time in history. With all of these rapid and important changes taking place, it only makes sense for website owners to start thinking about optimizing their sites to offer smartphone users a mobile-friendly experience. Building a mobile-optimized website requires a significant investment of time and money, and for this reason many webmasters often question whether or not the benefits outweigh the costs. So is building a mobile website really worth it?
1. Mobile-friendly websites ensure greater usability across a wide range of devices. All too often webmasters will design a website that looks great on a desktop computer, but then appears completely jumbled on a smartphone. You wouldn’t want your mobile visitors to struggle with manipulating horizontal and vertical scroll bars just to see the full web page. Even worse is if the site has “Buy” buttons or other e-commerce functions that are incompatible with mobile devices; this can translate into lost sales and missed lead generation opportunities.
2. Websites that are optimized for mobile devices are typically streamlined to perform with greater speed and efficiency. If your desktop-friendly website contains flash animation or heavy scripts, it will more than likely cause a mobile browser to choke and only load fragments of the page. Mobile-friendly sites are designed to produce faster page load times by using lightweight page elements (e.g., lower-resolution pictures, etc.) to ensure optimal speed and performance.
3. Audience consideration is a major determining factor as to whether or not a mobile website would be worth the investment. If your website targets an on-the-go audience, it only makes sense to build a mobile-optimized site. For example, local businesses such as hairdressers, restaurants, dentists, mechanics, etc., could benefit greatly from offering a mobile-friendly site, since many mobile users search for these types of services while they’re out and about. According to a recent survey conducted by Google, 86 percent of smartphone users have performed some type of local search on their phone before, and of that number, 88 percent have actually contacted one of the businesses listed in their search. A mobile-friendly website offers you a greater chance of capturing those leads instead of forfeiting them to the competition. You can also take advantage of certain functionality that is specific to mobile devices, such as GPS-enabled map applications to provide directions.
4. Mobile-friendly websites will enable you to reach a wider social media audience than you could with only a desktop-friendly site. If your business relies heavily upon social media marketing, it may be a good idea to invest in a mobile website so that you can garner social media referral traffic as well. Mobile use of social platforms is not insignificant by any means; for example, Facebook recently reported that 30 percent of its 1.32 billion users log in exclusively through their mobile devices. Other social sites such as Twitter and Instagram are huge among mobile users as well, which can equate to more visitors coming to your website via links from social media sites.
5. The statistics mentioned earlier are clearly in favor of a growing trend in mobile Internet usage. Simply put, it is not wise to fight against a tidal wave. By investing in a mobile website, you open up opportunities for your website to be found by a wider range of visitors than just desktop users alone.
As mobile technology continues to develop and as smartphones continue to become more powerful and robust, Internet usage will become more prevalent with people that are on-the-go. This only makes sense in light of the ever-increasing busyness that characterizes our modern lives. Developing a mobile-friendly website will enable you to establish your presence among an expanding base of smartphone users, and it will serve as an excellent complement to your desktop website.