How to Support Mobile for Your Website

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mobile-website-smallIf you don’t have a mobile solution for your website/blog it is very likely that you are loosing business as a result of this.

Mobile is becoming increasingly important as a smartphone becomes the phone of choice for everyone.  It’s not even a phone any more, it’s a computer that you use sometimes for speaking!

In this article we discuss the options available for building a mobile version of our website.

Are visitors using a mobile device to access your website?

It is likely that at least 10% of your visitors are using a mobile device to access your website.  If you use Google analytics it is a good idea to check so at least you know the percentage.

Under the Audience section of google analytics select the audience section and the mobile -> overview.  This section shows you the overall percentages of traffic coming from a mobile/non mobile device.

 

Google Analytics Mobile Traffic

Google Analytics Overview of Traffic from Mobile

 

You can also drill down and find out what specific devices visitors are coming from. In the image below it shows you that the most visitors are coming from an iPhone.

 

Google Analytics Mobile Devices

Google Analytics shows you the devices where the traffic is coming from

 

Now that you know the percentage of visitors you can consider how important it is to your site.    If you don’t have a mobile site and more than 20% of your visitors are coming from a mobile device you may have an issue.

Another area to look at is bounce rate.  A bounce is when someone comes to your site and leaves immediately.  If the bounce rate is much higher on a mobile device than your desktop this could be an indicator that there’s an issue with your mobile site.

3 Options for Building a Mobile Version of Your site

If you decide that you need to do something about your site to support mobile there are 3 options!

1.  Build a mobile version of your website

A mobile version of your website is a website that is designed for a mobile device.  When you are on a mobile device you want very simple navigation and you want to view content that fits within the screen.  The user interface for a desktop may not be suitable for a mobile device so you may want delivery a much cleaner and simpler version.

Here’s an example of a hotel website.

Gibson Website

A Normal Website viewed on a desktop

 

Here is the mobile version of this website.  As you can see it is completely different.  It is specifically designed for a mobile device so menu options are very simple and when you navigate through the content there is less of it and it fits nicely within the mobile device.

 

Mobile Website

The Mobile Version of your website

 

If you want to build a mobile version of your website there are many providers that give you that option without any coding skill requirements.  For example, dudamobile provides a very easy to use interface to build your mobile app.  If you are a wordpress user you can install WP Touch and this automatically creates your mobile version.

 

2.  Build a responsive theme

A responsive theme means that you have one website for all devices but it automatically adjusts according to the size of the device.  So if you’re looking at the website on a large screen it looks normal and if you look on a small screen the width of everything is adjusted, the menu structure may change and overall it will work better on a mobile device.

RazorSocial has a responsive theme so when you look at it on a mobile site it adjusts to fit this device.  The content is generally all the same but the layout is different.  There is also a facility for reducing the size of the images depending on the device.

 

RazorSocial

It’s the exact same content just

To convert your website so it’s responsive you need to get some development help.  There is no automatic way of doing this.

3. Build an Application

You can build an iphone and/or android application for your website but you’d be wasting your money!  An app is something that you download onto your phone so you can access it offline.   You only really need to build an app if you want to use the functionality of the phone.  For a typical website this is not required.  Building apps is an expensive business!

When to build responsive and when to build a mobile site?

This is a question where a lot of people have varied opinions.  Google recommends that you create a responsive theme for your website so it’s hard not to listen to google.  However, there are times when a mobile site may make sense:

a). You don’t have the budget for responsive

b). It’s extremely important to your business that the mobile interface is very easy to use for your customers and your website is too complex.

c). You need to get something up and running quickly!

Summary

Mobile is important and growing in it’s importance every day.  Check to see the level of traffic you get to your website and then consider the options.  It’s really important to put in plans now as mobile is not going away.  What have you done to support mobile?  Which do you prefer a mobile site or a responsive design?

Note: We did a guest post with a similar article on Social Media Examiner recently so if you seen this article you may recognize some of the images.

photo credit: blakespot via photopin cc




 

About the author

Ian Cleary

Author: Ian Cleary is a technology guy with extensive experience in Social Media. He is a writer for Social Media Examiner and other high profile blogs and is very passionate about Social Media Tools. Ian is the CEO of RazorSocial and also RazorCoast which is a Digital Marketing Agency.

  • http://www.socialbakers.com/ Michal Smetana

    As it was said many times last year and many times this year, 2013 will be, and already is, a year of mobile. People are using their smartphones literally everywhere and they are browsing websites on their smartphone. It is only reasonable that many website owners should make their website mobile-friendly. Thanks for this great article, Ian.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you for your feedback Michal!

  • http://twitter.com/bbrian017 Brian

    Hi Ian, this mobile website topic is just HOT HOT HOT right now. I’ve gotten a few quotes for blog engage but man it’s so costly. Just to get blog engage on android and apple the company wanted $8000 USD. After discussing it with my wife I’ve decided to take the money and go back to school and take mobile development and learn it myself. The program is two years and is about 7500 CDN in costs.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Hey Brian, wow that is expensive! It certainly will be in hot demand for a long time to come!!! Thanks for your feedback, Ian

  • Neil Summers

    I have a blog that was created in wordpress and having a responsive website is the best practice specially for those new website that will be build, however in my case(my site has been running for 3 years now) it would be very expensive to start from the beginning. my friend recommended me to just get this plugins which redirect viewers depending on the device they are using.it is called handsetdetection and is working great so far. I would reconsider having my site build to be responsive site in the future when I manage to raise some fund to start from the ground up again. I just hope I don’t lose my viewers and visitors in the process.

  • Lou Piombino

    Ian, ALWAYS enjoy your articles – thank you!

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you Lou. I’m delighted you do!!

  • http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com/ Cendrine Marrouat

    Hello Ian,

    As always, brilliant article.

    Responsive is probably the way to go, especially if you are a WordPress user. There are tons of themes created for that purpose and you don’t even need to customize them that much.

    WP Touch didn’t work for me.

    I think that there isn’t even a need to check out stats to know that mobile-friendly sites are now a must.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thank you Cendrine!!! I have a responsive design and it suits perfect. You’re right, you just have to look at people on a train or a bus and see what devices they are using to access websites! Thanks for your feedback, Ian

      • http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com/ Cendrine Marrouat

        I love to be right. lol

        • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

          I’m sure that happens a lot!

          • http://www.cendrinemarrouat.com/ Cendrine Marrouat

            I wish it would. LOL

  • http://ethnicomm.com/ Bhupesh Shah

    During a talk yesterday on the importance of being mobile friendly, I used an IDC/Facebook stat from March 2013 which stated that 50% of Americans are using smartphones.

    WP Touch worked for me when my blog was the home page. Now that I’m using WP as more than a blogging platform, I find that it doesn’t work. A site redesign is in process.

  • http://www.activatemedia.co.uk/ Rita Auta

    Thanks Ian for sharing this post. It’s pretty much agreed that most businesses should adopt mobile for their website. Arguably what’s most important to small and mid-sized businesses is 1) which mobile method is best for them, and 2) how to convert with mobile. Plug-ins and tools alone cannot help with this, you’ll need to consider how to incorporate mobile into your wider marketing plan. I discuss this further in my post “Does your business really need an app” http://www.activatemedia.co.uk/activate-news/entry/does-your-business-really-need-an-app.

    • http://www.razorsocial.com/ Ian Cleary

      Thanks Rita!

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