Last year, Google and Forbes asked more than 300 executives for their thoughts on mobile business. The results of the survey found that 59% of respondents claimed that they would rather make a business related purchase over the mobile web than over the phone and 44% of executives admitted that they will be making a smartphone or tablet as their primary business device by 2013.

These findings suggest that B2B companies that want to flourish in the coming months need to invest in mobile web, and fast. But, what exactly is a mobile website and how can your business benefit?

A mobile website is a dedicated site developed especially for mobile devices. If built correctly your mobile site can be optimised for any internet-enabled device from the latest smartphones and tablets to low-end feature phones.

Accessing information on-the-go is becoming increasingly important and the difference between a customer or prospective customer browsing your mobile site for more information, or leaving for a potential competitor’s site can easily come down to mobile website optimisation.

Developing a mobile website is an opportunity to do far more than simply make a mirror of your existing online site – it’s an opportunity to create a compelling business experience which is also more effective for your business.

You must shape the user journey through your site ensuring that their patience is not exhausted and their attention is maintained. The text needs to be to the point and graphics should be used sparingly. Understanding the site’s prospective users and their needs will enable you to build the site around the content that they want and (most importantly) expect.

Sales of smartphones are predicted to reach 450 million by the end of this year and we expect to see business-people using a range of different devices (not just iPhones, for example). This will mean device, browser and operating system fragmentation, which will affect the way mobile websites look from phone to phone.

Nevertheless, well-designed sites which use technology that counteracts this issue are still the best way of reaching the widest possible mobile audience.

Whilst I have demonstrated that building a mobile website is a potentially complex process, I hope I have also shown that it is an extremely necessary one. In the very near future, making decisions over mobile will not be restrained to a select few forward thinking organisations – it will be standard practice and an essential part of an organisation’s overall business strategy.