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The Need For Mobile Websites
Since mobile phones were invented they have never stopped evolving. From making calls, then sending messages, email, and eventually browsing the entire Internet. It is actually more fitting to call them “mobile devices” as making phone calls has become more of a secondary function now. Because we have the entirety of the Internet at our fingertips, we might as well use it. Mobile phones can offer a convenient portal to an immediate stream of information – within a few clicks we can often find what we’re looking for. With this emphasis on mobile usage in website design and development, the question we pose is: Is your website ready for this new type of visitor?
The Importance of Local Mobile Search
When a user visits your website, chances are they are searching for information. If they land on your website on their Android or iPhone and the page doesn’t load properly this can be a huge issue, potentially costing you a future customer. Depending on certain elements on the page (columns, images, menus), the page can render on the mobile device looking skewed and at times completely unusable. The user will be instantly dissatisfied and leave the page (something we would call a “bounce”). Interestingly, a recent study has found that smartphone users who make a local search have a 50% chance of taking an action following that search. This is huge. Your website could be turning away potential business. So how can you fix this issue?
Types Of Mobile Websites
There are several different types of mobile friendly layouts that you can have:
Desktop/Mobile Tandem – In this scenario, you have two completely separate sites. When a user reaches your domain they will be directed to the mobile friendly version (responsive website design) or the desktop version automatically, depending on what type of device they are using. For many businesses, this is a good and simple solution; however, it also raises two considerable challenges. The first one is that the content on both sites tends to be different. The mobile version of the website will not have all the information that the desktop version displays and it is easy for one of the two versions to be out of date. The second and most important concern is that, if not coded properly, Google will identify both sites, see two almost identical versions of the same thing, and will interpret them as duplicate content – a well-known SEO no-no, which can seriously injure your search engine performance.
Responsive – A responsive site is actually several different sites combined into one. Within the internal code and styling, the website can react dynamically based on the resolution of the user’s display. If it is a desktop screen, it may show all the menus and a full sized layout because it knows the user can view all elements. Moving down in screen size, at set “break points” the site will start to readjust and drop elements that are not as necessary. Responsive sites are great, as you can be sure that any user can view your site and navigate easily, regardless of how they’re accessing the site. Responsively built websites are also long-lasting websites, as the ‘scaling’ occurs dynamically, ever adjusting despite new devices coming onto the market. See the Ricardo’s Pizza website for a perfect example of this. Resize your browser window and see what happens.
Mobile Optimized – In this case, the site can be styled similar to a responsive site, but with less coding and heavy lifting. A mobile optimized site can ensure that mobile users will be able to navigate and use the site easily and can be done on a budget, all without creating duplicated content. A responsive website is a great tool but often requires a brand new build due to the complexity. Most of the time, mobile optimization can be done to a wide range of existing sites, often working well as an interim, temporary solution.
Learn more about why a mobile-friendly website is important for your business.
You wouldn’t shut your business’ doors on a customer interested in looking around, so why close the mobile door? Open the doors with a mobile-friendly website. We create both responsive and mobile optimized sites. If you already have a website that is not ready for mobile users, contact us and we can help get it optimized for as little as $699!