Benefits of Mobile Websites for Business Owners and How to Design a Mobile Website

Hosting a website became a necessity for business owners over 15 years ago. Without a website today, your business is invisible to consumers. It is similar to not having a telephone number. In this day, you can look around and see that almost every single successful business has a website on the Internet.

The desktop-website trend took shape in the late 90’s and grew-even exploded into the business world. As is the case with business, the economy and business environment is always changing. Indeed, today, there is a new trend that is taking off and changing the way that the business world works, and it is coming straight at the business world like a freight train!

Mobile websites are becoming a necessity for business owners. Not only is a desktop website necessary but now, even more high on the priority list of business necessities, is a mobile website. With over one Billion smart phones, mobile websites have begun to saturate the entire mobile space. It’s powering advertisements, and many other services – from weather to travel apps. This new trend has been coined the “Mobile Economy” and if you-the business owner-are foolish enough to ignore this, I assure you that you will not like the results.

Mobile Design Mistakes: Navigation First, Content Second

How do we actually allow people to move through your mobile website? What are the navigation elements and the user interface that we can put on the screen to allow visitors to move through your mobile website easier?

Many mobile web experiences offer introductions, and even when you get through the “skip-introduction” phase, you get navigation options. What works better on mobile websites is content first and navigation second. Look at YouTube’s mobile website, for example. You will see a minimal amount of navigation at the top, and then content such as stories, videos, live streaming. Why should we put content first? Speed matters. Does your visitor have to tap a couple of times to see your content? There are constraints on mobile. The screen is smaller. Screen space is limited. What are you going to fill it with… five bars of navigation or content that people actually want to interact with?

Mobile Website Design Tips:

Use “content first/navigate second” organizational structures optimized for small screens and mobile use cases
Design for touch interactions with appropriate targets and gestures
Construct forms and input fields to make input on mobile easier and more frequent
Manage layouts across multiple devices with ruthless editing, device classes, and responsive/flexible designs

The point of mobile marketing is to give your customers quick and direct access to your business. The longer your message is, the less likely you will be to actually pull them in. Be clear and concise. Tell them only what they need to know, and it will be easier to pull people into your brand, entice them to stay at your site, and convert leads into sales.

Why the Sudden Growth in Mobile Websites?

Consumers gravitate to convenience. That’s as true with payment technologies as it is with anything else. A prime example is the decades-old trend away from cash or checks and toward credit cards.

Trends Toward Mobile Websites and Benefiting From the New Mobile Internet

Why is it important for you and your customers?

Their customers are mobile
More people use their mobile phones than PC’s to get online
Mobile searches have grown by 4x since 2010
There will be one mobile device for every person on the earth in less than two years
935,000 Smart Phone subscriptions exist, and over 6 Billion Mobile phone subscriptions. 1/6 of the mobile phones out there are smart phones

In Asia, Mobile Traffic versus Desktop Traffic is converging. This is a little glimpse into our future here in the U.S. Across Asia this is prominent and this is the trend we are seeing in North America. Traffic is converging. In India last month, mobile traffic actually surpassed desktop traffic. This is just a glimpse of our future here in the United States.

Economic Trends towards Mobile Shopping

Why is this important? Because a mobile friendly site will help you to connect with all these users.

60% of users expect a mobile site to load in 3 seconds or less
71% of users expect a mobile site to load as fast as a desktop site
78% of users will retry a site two times or less if it does not load initially.

Users expect their mobile website experience to be as good if not better than a desktop website experience.

Functionality and Context of a Mobile Website

Functionality:

Other than load times, customers are expecting “click to call” functionality. The full website pulled up on your smart phone, the “click to call” will not work. Mobile sites even have e-commerce connected to a mobile payment processor. If you are placing an order on a mobile website, will that order actually go through? If the site was designed for mobile, then the answer is “yes”. Forms are even expected on a mobile website. A lot of forms use javascript, and most mobile phones can not handle javascript. It is important that you have functionality that will work for your mobile users. Content that is specifically designed to work on a smart phone is important for mobile visitors.

Context:

Users are looking for specific information right now.

How much does it cost?
Where are you located?
Give me directions.
Are there any tables available at 8:00?
Where is the nearest restaurant?

Bank websites allow you to check your bank balance and lookup the most recent interest rates. But on a mobile phone when connecting to a bank you are most likely looking for information such as where is the nearest ATM machine, or how to transfer funds. Your are probably not going to apply for a home loan on your mobile phone. There is a clear distinction between the context of a desktop website and a mobile website.

Customers are connecting with the businesses in their local area via mobile.

Your customers are mobile and you cannot ignore it!

95% of smartphone users have searched for mobile information
61% of users call a business after searching and 59% visit the location
90% of these people act within 24 hours

We can see that the users are there, the traffic is there, we can see that mobile visitors are growing, but what is very important is that these users are very active. Current data today shows that mobile commerce makes up about 8% of overall e-commerce online business in the U.S. today. And the overall e-commerce in the U.S. is growing 17% year over year. So not only the percentage of mobile commerce, but overall the e-commerce is increasing. It is a sweet spot and a great time to get online with a mobile website.

Apps and Mobile Sites

Many people prefer mobile sites for shopping.

81% prefer mobile sites for researching products
79% prefer mobile sites for product reviews
90% prefer mobile sites for purchasing

Apps are great tools for customer retention, but they will not bring you in new customers and they will not help you to be found. For most small businesses, the objective is to be found, to be seen and to acquire new customers. If you do a mobile search, an app will not be listed on the top local results of Google, but your mobile website will. The priority of being found from the growing mobile traffic is essential. An app is nice, but being found with a mobile website is essential.