What does your website say to visitors from mobile devices?
“With mobile website traffic on the rise, you might think small businesses are developing mobile-friendly websites. But you’d be wrong. Only 26 percent of small businesses have a mobile website. That’s a growing problem — especially for local businesses.”
A website can be a great ‘shop window’ for your business. Imagine turning away visitors from your shop before they can even see what you sell!
Make smartphone and mobile users happy
Is your website welcoming to mobile visitors, giving them an easy way to navigate through your site and read the content?
Commonly websites haven’t been built with consideration for mobile users, and in effect are telling those users they are not welcome.
So I have to build a new site just to cater for mobile visitors?
Actually, no. If you already have a website, but it doesn’t work well on mobile – there are usually ways that you can workaround a full site redesign / rebuild. One such method is called ‘responsive’ design. This, as it sounds, means that the website responds to the size of the device which it is being viewed in.
Although this sounds perfect, it can mean that sites download slowly (as mobile devices have slower internet connections than desktop devices, and the device downloads the full site (including any large images designed for desktop computers)).
However, a responsive upgrade to your site could be a great option to get you back on track without breaking the bank. You get to keep many elements of the website you are used to, but with the additional benefit of knowing that as mobile devices continue to increase in popularity, your site will stand out as one that is easy to use.
Responsive Sites vs Dedicated Mobile Websites
An alternative to responsive design is to have a dedicated mobile site, which might look like this:
mobile.yourwebsite.com or m.yourwebsite.com
This is where the website contains code that says, “You’re viewing this on a poxy little mobile – so I’m going to send you to another website that will work better for you”.
This is different to responsive design, which says, “I see your screen is x number of pixels wide – I’m going to squeeze this website into that size, and make the text bigger so you can read it”.
There are arguments for and against both responsive or dedicated mobile websites. We tend to favour responsive websites when building new websites, as it reduces the cost for the client whilst providing a satisfactory experience for website visitors. It also means that the site that visitors on all devices see is the same content. Search engines penalise websites that output duplicate content, and dedicated mobile sites can be seen as a copy of the desktop site.
However, there are situations where a separate mobile site delivery can provide the most satisfactory experience of all, particularly in e-commerce situations where every little detail can make the vital difference towards a sale.
Ignorance Was Bliss
Hopefully the above description hasn’t made things worse for you. If you would rather dig and hole and sit in it than think any more about mobile websites, we’d be more than happy to explain the principles of designing websites for mobile users – and we can stick the kettle on while we’re about it. Just drop us a line!