Mobile Optimisation, Responsive Web Design, Mobile Websites………..arghhhhhhhh!
What should I be trying to do here?
One thing! Your goal should be delivering a comfortable experience for your customers while browsing your website from any web enabled device. Simple.
And why should I be trying to do this?
In today’s fast paced society more and more people are using their smart devices on the go and at home to purchase goods & services, read news articles, access social media and more. For you as a website owner this means many things and I hope to give you some insight as to why companies like ours spend so much time helping businesses go mobile.
You have a couple of options when it come to the Mobile Optimisation of your website and it’s always best to talk to your Web Design company about this. We’ve dealt with a number of companies in New Zealand and we still see people building websites for kiwi’s which don’t come optimised out of the box. If you don’t think your current Web Design company is up with the play, give us a call and we’ll be happy to give you some free advice. Our latest example was with a company in Auckland who had no idea what Mobile Optimisation was and in turn it was only their customers who were suffering from this lack of knowledge.
Getting your mobile site right is also important. Google has been making grunting sounds for a while now about mobile sites, search ranking and the penalties for not having a mobile site configured correctly. For the website DIYers Google’s Yoshikiyo Kato and Pierre Far share a bit more info about this here in their blog post.
As important as it is to comply with the almighty Google’s requests, there’s also a tonne of compelling statistics out there for business owners. Mike Abasov covers some great statistics in his blog post. Some of the standouts are:
- Over 1.2 billion people now access the web from their mobile devices.
- 61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience.
60% of mobile shoppers use their smartphones while in a store, and another 50% while on their way to a store.
Almost half a billion tablets will ship in 2013 and 2014 alone.
Mobile-based searches make up one quarter of all searches.
That list keeps on going as to why you should be looking into mobile optimised websites and we also have a handy little info graphic at the bottom of this post with a few more stats on it. But lets get into it and actually take a look at what the geeks are talking about and decipher what going mobile actually means.
Here are a couple of your mobile options:
Option 1: Responsive Design
As the name suggests this type of website re-sizes itself responsively depending on the device it’s being viewed on. This is certainly my number one pick for most use cases and it comes with Google’s seal of approval, so great for Search Engine Marketing (SEM) also.
Here give this a try…. If your browser is in full screen mode hit the restore button, it’s in the middle of the little close and minimise buttons typically found on the top right of your browser. Now your browser is in windowed mode, grab the corner with your mouse, drag and start resizing it. Can you see how it changes and adapts depending on the viewing size of your browser? Pretty neat huh ^^ This is because the AppThat website is a fully responsive website.
The Pro’s – All your content is in one place so no double handling of data, Google recommends it and the pages are easily ported for use in a Mobile App. Download Player’s App and check out their mobile online store, this is pulled from a responsive website and sits beautifully inside their app.
The Con’s – You’re still using the same images as your traditional site and these can be slower loading over a mobile connection. Careful planning must be used to make sure your responsive website performs properly.
Option 2: Mobile Website
Another perfectly viable option, although sometimes more difficult to implement than a responsive design. A Mobile Site means making a whole new website, although typically a much smaller one, which diverts all visitors from tablets and mobile’s to this smaller site. You’ll notice some websites when viewed from your phone will come up something like m.example.com, this is a mobile website specifically tailored for mobile devices.
The Pro’s – You can tailor your site much better to mobile devices and smaller image & content sizes make for faster loading.
The Con’s – It could harm your search engine ranking if not configured correctly, in some instances it means updating data in two places and having to manage users over the two sites can become a headache.
So you’ve got some options when it comes to choosing how you and your website go mobile. We’ve talk to a lot of people who just want to start again, refresh their brand and start building again from scratch. Some people on the other hand are happy with their current website and aren’t quite ready to let go just yet. If you’re one of the latter you could get a mobile site built for yourself and link this to your current website. Secondly you can get a web developer to add custom CSS media queries to your existing code and convert your site to a responsive design. So there’s options for everyone when it comes to jumping on the mobile bandwagon.
One last piece of advice we can give everyone out there is if you’re getting a website built for you now, or thinking about having one built, make sure it’s built with mobile in mind. These days there’s no excuses for not designing with these considerations.
Every use case is different and getting advice from experienced web designers is recommended. All in all the message is the same, start planning the mobile journey for your business now, your competitors probably are.