You probably know this already, but people aren’t using the internet in the same way they once did. Only a few short years ago, the internet resided within a big box on your desk.
Not any more. Now it’s in your pocket. You take it wherever you go. It’s always with you and always on.
Mobile phones have revolutionized the way people communicate. No longer just for talking and texting, today’s smart phones like the iPhone, Blackberry, and Android have computing capabilities far more powerful than desktop computers had just a few years ago.
Not only are smart phones a highly efficient way to stay in touch and communicate while on the go, they are the quickest way for consumers to find local products or services; and an invaluable tool for businesses in communicating with these potential customers.
Smart phones allow consumers to search just as they would on a computer, but without the restriction of being tied to a computer desk.
When a potential customer searches and finds you on his smart phone, he has the option to simply click “call” or “email” and communicate with you immediately. In today’s instant gratification society, this is priceless!
People carry their mobile phones everywhere, so optimizing your business website to show up in mobile search results will help you reach customers, even in places where they don’t have access to a computer.
Suppose for example that Mary is out shopping when her son calls to tell her the kitchen sink pipe busted and water is leaking everywhere! Since Mary has her iPhone with her, she can simply “Google” ‘emergency plumber’ and clicks to call the first result that is listed. If you are the plumber listed at the top of the mobile search results, you get Mary’s business!
The number of people using smart phones for local searches is doubling annually, and according to many predictions, will soon be the most common way to search for local products and services.
Is Your Business “Mobile Friendly”?
So how does that relate to your business? Good question. When was the last time you took a look at your website from your phone? Has it been a while? If so, pull out your phone and check out your site. Do it now. It’s OK, I’ll wait.
Done? OK. What did it look like? Did you like what you saw? Is it easy to read the content and view the pictures? Or do you have to pinch and zoom in order to read anything? Does the site make you want to come in and have your car serviced? Or do you want to search for another company whose site is easier to use?
Guess what, that is the exact conversation your potential customers are having when they pull up your website on their phones. If your site isn’t mobile friendly, they’re most likely going somewhere else to have their car taken care of. If they can’t click on your phone to call you directly, you’re losing their business. If they can’t access your web form to email you, you’re losing their business. If there isn’t a map on your site to see your location and get directions, you’re their losing business.
According to the latest statistical research, by 2014 the internet will be accessed by more users on a mobile device than on a desktop computer! Crazy, huh? Don’t believe me? Check out this article.
So what should you do if your business website isn’t providing a good experience to mobile users? What options do you have to fix this serious issue?
How to Fix Mobile Website Issues
There are basically two options you can take. The first is to have a mobile website built that will automatically display when someone on a mobile device views your site. The drawback to this option is now there are two websites you have to manage, update, and pay for.
The second option is to have your entire site redesigned using a new technology called “mobile responsive design”. What this does is allow your main website to display the same content but in a different layout depending upon the device that someone uses to view your website.
There’s only one website, but it will “respond” to the device size used. Another term for this is “device agnostic.” This is the method that I recommend clients use, as it usually saves both money and time.
There is only one site to maintain and update, so it saves you time. Also, if you need a website upgrade anyway, it will be less expensive to have a mobile responsive site built than a standard fixed width site and a separate mobile site.
Here’s what Google has to say about having a mobile-friendly web presence:
Is your website optimized for mobile searches so that potential customers can find and contact you in a single click on their phone? If not, you have work to do!