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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.