Walk down any High Street and you’ll see people accessing the internet on their mobile phones. To many people now, it’s second nature to go online when they’re waiting for a bus, out shopping – or even when they’re at home on the sofa and just can’t be bothered to turn on their laptop.
You can create a mobile version of your website, designed to be easy to use on a smaller screen. But should you bother?
Well, yes. Here’s why:
1. Mobile internet use is exploding
According to some figures, in 2009 mobile internet access was just 0.02% of all UK website traffic. Now it’s 8.09%. And still growing. So as people are going to access your website from mobile phones whether you like it or not, don’t you want to make it easy for them?
2. Many normal websites don’t work well on mobiles
Mobile phones are very different to computers. The screens are tiny. There’s no mouse pointer, so you can’t roll the mouse over menus to reveal their contents. If using your website is difficult or impossible on a mobile, people will go elsewhere.
3. It’s relatively easy to create a mobile-friendly website
It depends how your website was built in the first place, but you don’t usually have to start again from scratch. You can usually restructure your existing content and add the functionality it needs quite easily.
4. Mobile web users want different things
Think about how people use the internet on their phones. It’s often – but not always – when they’re out and about. They may not have much time, and may be very focused on finding a specific piece of information. You need to design your mobile site to cater for those needs – which may be very different to those of your other visitors.
5. It’s more important than having an app
Many businesses have focused their efforts on creating their own mobile application, for people to install and run on their phones. These can be useful, but they take more effort, because you have to create a different version of your app for each type of phone. It’s better to start with a mobile website, then consider an app.
5. We’re only at the start of the mobile internet
At the moment, the mobile internet basically means people accessing websites on their phones. But we’ll start to see all kinds of new devices in the coming months and years, enabling people to use the internet when and where they want. Do you want to miss out on those visitors to your website?
We’re entering the age of mobile internet. Whatever you do, don’t get left behind.