In 1997, there were approximately 1 million websites, and 10 years later, there were 150 million. In 2007, there were about 1 million mobile websites, and the number is supposed to reach 150 million by 2017. It is clear that mobile friendly websites are going to increase exponentially in the years to come. The internet started on the PC but with more than 3 billion mobile phones being used world wide, we are soon approaching a time when many people’s first internet experience will be through a mobile device. These rapid changes have left the business world with no choice other than to adapt to them. With mobile devices taking over the place of the PC, not having a mobile friendly website is like committing business suicide.
People want information and services, and they want them fast. With the advancement in technology, it is possible for you to access this information and the services through your cell phones. Those companies that have not yet adapted to mobile may miss this opportunity to attract customers. It has become very important for companies to be able to cater to their customers over mobile phones. A mobile is the most personal form of communication and is becoming a powerful one as well. If you can capture a customer on their mobile, then you have them on all other platforms as well.
WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE A MOBILE FRIENDLY SITE
Rise of the smart phones: Smartphones have become affordable over the past few years. Almost everyone is looking to buy one. These devices are excellent for hand held browsing. Since the sale of smart phones is increasing, it only makes sense for companies to have a site that can be easily browsed through on these devices.
Popularity of mobile internet: According to studies, about 40% of the people who have a mobile phone use it for going online, and half of them will go online at least once every day. This presents a huge opportunity for a business.
Inexpensive option: Because mobile screens are a lot different from computer screens, the site design has to change accordingly. It is a relatively cheap process and not very time consuming either.
Use of GPS: GPS is a very useful technology. It is used by many mobile users to find out necessary things or directions. They also use it to find nearby services or businesses. If there is no mobile site available for your business then you are potentially losing a customer right in your own area.
Don’t get beaten by competition: People love to browse while traveling. However, when they find that sites that they normally used at their PCs are not mobile compatible, they might end up switching to a site which provides similar services and is mobile compatible as well.
SEO: Having a mobile friendly website also helps in SEO as it helps improve rankings on mobile friendly search engines such as Google or Yahoo.
Compatible with all platforms, unlike mobile apps: The alternative to mobile friendly site is producing apps that perform similar functions. Now this can be a very tedious task. Making an app is also quite expensive and apart from that, you would have to make different apps for different platforms. Once you make these apps, they have to fight hundreds of thousands of other apps to get into the spotlight.
2D Bar codes: One great bonus that comes along with mobile friendly websites is the 2D bar code. These appear like regular bar codes, but are capable of so much more. They can be used for discounts. A customer takes a picture of the code with their cell phone and instantly has access to not only the details, but also reviews of the product before they buy it.
Better user experience: Earlier, it might not have been possible to make a mobile site and give the user a good enough experience because of the low bandwidth and server speeds. However, in recent times, this has changed and you can be assured that using a good mobile site will be an enriching experience for a user.
Within a span of three years, the number of people accessing the internet via mobile will be more than those accessing it via a PC. This, more than anything else, should be a clear indication for you to start working on the mobile version of your site. Apart from that, the biggest draw on the internet today are social networking websites. Many people access these websites through there mobile devices. If they come across a link to your site, they would want to view it on their mobile screens.
Things to Keep in Mind
There are numerous reasons for you to have a mobile version of your site. Mobiles are the device of choice for many people today, and you would want to be accessible to them. However, while making mobile sites, you need to keep certain things in mind. People use mobiles for browsing because they want to save time. If a site takes too long to load, then there is no point of a mobile user visiting that site. You need to keep the page size small enough so it is loaded quickly on cellular networks.
Often the problem of text size also crops up. It is not a good idea to cram the most information you can in one page. Mobile screens are small and it becomes difficult to read a lot of text. Also clicking on links becomes a difficult task. Make sure that the content of your page can be viewed easily and the site can be navigated easily as well.
If you are not someone who is surfing the net from your mobile, then you will soon be in minority. In the near future, most people will be using a mobile phone for browsing. This means that any business that has a presence on the internet right now should make appropriate changes so that its website is mobile friendly.