Why You Need a Mobile Website

Why You Need a Mobile Website

By: Shelly Kramer
March 10, 2011

Mobile Web Image

Is your website mobile friendly? If not, let’s not beat around the bush – what exactly are you waiting for? Think about your own behavior in the past year – how many times have you accessed a website from your Smart Phone? And how many times have you been frustrated when you couldn’t read the doggone thing because it wasn’t mobile friendly? If you’re like me, that answer is a ton. Or as my friend, Erika Napoletano likes to say, a metric ton.

According to Comscore, over 60 million people in the U.S. own Smart Phones. All the major Smart Phone platforms, especially Andriod, continue to gain subscribers at a rapid rate.  If current sales trends continue at their 2010 pace, it’s possible that 50% of mobile phone customers will own a Smart Phone by the end of 2011. Yes, you read that correctly, 50%.

Hell’s bells, even my 73 year old Mother-in-Law has a Smart Phone — and she loves it.

Still not convinced? Morgan Stanley research estimates that by 2015, mobile web will be bigger than desktop.

That’s a lot of people accessing the Internet via their mobile phone. In fact, daily Internet usage via handheld device jumped from 29% in 2009 to 43% by the end of 2010. As more and more Smart Phone users are added each day, it’s easy to see the value of having a mobile friendly website.

Why Do People Keep Calling Me On My Computer??

I’ll bet there are some of you who’ve had that thought, aren’t there? In fact, I don’t think of my iPhone as a phone, it’s more of a handheld computer that lets me do everything I need to do – and sometimes more – no matter where I am. It’s my alarm clock, email delivery system, flashlight, address book, calendar, video view, game player, social media connector, camera, handheld computer, video camera, mobile payment device, QR code scanner — heck, if it could dry my hair and make me a cup of coffee, it might just replace every device I own. And I’ll bet many of you feel the same way.

50% of Small Business Owners Haven’t Even Thought to Check

And then there are small business owners. And sometimes large ones, too. Very few small businesses have websites that are mobile enabled. According to a 1&1 Internet, Inc. study, 50% of small businesses have never checked the appearance or functionality of their site on a Smart Phone. Never. Have you checked your website? Do you have a plan to take advantage of rapid Smart Phone growth and the dramatically increased use of the internet via a mobile device?

Most business owners don’t have the time or the expertise to figure out their next step. It’s easier and not as expensive as you think. Help is available if you need it. A mobile site may offer you more options than your current site.

If you’re thinking about creating a mobile app, make sure you consider mobilizing your existing website first. Don’t risk annoying your customers, losing them to your competitors or harming your brand with a web experience that doesn’t translate to a Smart Phone. And while apps are great, in our opinion, they aren’t the solution for every business.

Mobile Websites Are More Important Than Apps

Make sure that before you run off and invest a lot of money in developing an app, that you have a plan for how that app fits into your overall marketing plan.  And, of course, how it is you’ll market that app. Having one and having people download and use it are two entirely different things. And having an app because it’s the latest bright, shiny toy is potentially a massive waste of money. I digressed.

You might have figured that in our book, a mobile website is, in most cases, infinitely more critical to your business operations than an app. And if you’re not sure, any marketing firm that you’re working with who’s worth their salt will have many conversations with you about that before leading you down the path of building an app. If they don’t, fire them.

V3’s Al Bonner not only handles a ton of new business development, he’s also what we like to call our Mobile King (behind his back, of course). If it has to do with mobile – whether it’s mobile web, app development, QR codes and the like, Al is our man. He’s also the owner of Presentation Transformations, a business that helps people take ordinary presentations and turn them into killer ones. Al created the following presentation for me for a recent event and it tells you everything you need to know about the mobile web. And I’m pretty sure that after you watch it, you’ll think differently about how much attention you’re currently paying to the mobile web.

Here is a summary of some of the key stats from the presentation.

  • 130,000,000 new Smart Phones purchased each year in the U.S.
  • In 2009, 51% of SmartPhone users owned an internet enabled device
  • In 2010, 63% owned an Internet enabled phone
  • Daily internet usage via handheld device jumped from 29% in 2009 to 43% by the end of 2010.
  • Most websites look fine on a desktop computer or on a laptop. The same site on a phone can be a frustrating experience
  • Most desktop websites were not designed to be viewed on the small screens of mobile devices. Fonts can be too small, navigation can be clunky, Flash simply won’t work, lengthy page loads, etc.
  • More than 10 Billion apps have been downloaded to date.
  • The Apple App Store has more that 350,000 apps available.
  • The average person has 60 apps on each iDevice (iPad, iPhone, etc.)
  • But, out of all those apps, 26% are used just once.
  • The iPhone represents only 25% of the Smart Phone market

Don’t have a mobile enabled website? Get going!!

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  • You are totally right, Shelly! A mobile site is vastly more important that a app (and we develop both). I think part of the small business problem is that a lot of them have this mindset “I have a website (albiet it was created 10 years ago) it is fine, I am on the web”. So, if they wont update their old site, its hard to convince them of the urgent need to go mobile. I bet a lot of them still sink money into yellow pages ads too!

  • i thought i knew a lot about mobile, but you shared so many great stats and insights, Shelly. Thanks a ton. Heading over to check out Al Bonner. It is slightly dated, but here’s a list of mobile marketing tools I did for Small Business Trends where i’m product review editor. http://smallbiztrends.com/2009/09/mobile-marketing-apps-more-customers.html

  • Excellent points! I just made a point this week to add mobile plugins to my self-hosted WordPress blogs at The Classy Geek and Gears and Widgets! I found myself checking my sites on my mobile device frequently and thought “if I’m doing this, other people must be too!”

    From there it was a quick decision to get them mobile-friendly so visitors could enjoy the content without having to pan and zoom around the desktop version of the site. One point of order though – mobile sites should always let the user switch back to the desktop version if they prefer – tablets are getting seriously huge, and I think visitors will appreciate the option!

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  • Mj

    Nice article presentation as a marketing means for v3im. Good job as it did not seem like reg marketing put me to sleep stuff. I am being sincere by the way.

  • Ha… I was just saying this on my blog. We have gone MOBILE.
    I have tried to get people to make the Mobile plunge as well. I am amazed at the level of hesitation.
    I have a link on my blog to a plug-in that will convert any WordPress based blog into a mobile platform. Works very well.
    Best of luck

  • This stuff drives me crazy Shelly! I just went 5 days mostly on my Droid2. I would much rather have great mobile sites that I can book mark than all these freaking APPs. Great post!

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  • Anonymous

    Thanks Howie. Any day that you stop by the blog is a good day. 5 days all mobile? That’s impressive.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Jack. Will definitely check your site out :))

  • Anonymous

    Thanks warm weather friend. Warm weather is so very nice. Especially nice to contemplate when it’s March, in the Midwest. I passed along your info to Al Bonner, my chief smartie when it comes to mobile and he’s definitely going to check it out. Please feel free to connect with him directly if you want some additional feedback – he’s @a_bonner on Twitter.

    Always a pleasure to see you, John. And I apologize for the delayed response.

  • Anonymous

    Loved the comment. You made me laugh. And not putting people to sleep is always a goal.

  • Anonymous

    Good call, Alan. And I agree!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks TJ! And you’ll like Al. I do!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the tip. Will definitely check it out.

  • Jdredmon

    Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for your post. I’m getting contradicting information and wonder if you’d be kind enough to share why a mobile site is better than an app. Especially since “The quality experienced by their smartphone users depends on the mobile browser they are using and it could be as good as browsing from the desktop.”

    Please don’t mistake my question as a disagreement, I’m just really interested in understanding the mobile industry and its options, expenses and services.

  • Jdredmon

    Hello Alan,

    I’m writing from limited experience and the mobile-friendly version of the websites I’ve viewed are limited compared to the desktop version. Why is that? Was that limited to sites that have cheaply invested in their mobile-friendly site? Or is that typical? Also, I like the zoom in and out feature because my site is failing from age, does that make the user experience typically less enjoyable? For me its better. Also, the mobile-friendly sites I’ve happened to view don’t have the capability of zoom or pan, is that typical?

    I value your opinion and appreciate any points you will share.

  • Jdredmon

    thank you, this answered most of my questions about why a site should be mobile friendly.

  • This does make a lot of sense right here. I know I check out a lot of various websites and blogs on my iphone and when they do not have a mobile site I don’t bother continuing to read. But, I know for myself I was wondering where could you go to get a customized mobile site made?

  • Anonymous

    I agree, Justice. And hopefully this post answers your question. Lots of people will build mobile sites, me and my team included.

  • Alright then I am going to have to look into that service that you offer because I am currently looking for that. Thanks

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  • It’s ridiculously easy to make a blog mobile-friendly – seriously, one little plug-in and POOF, there you go! Although, I must admit, it pains me a little to see all the design removed and find my blog reduced to the bare essentials. But that’s what it’s about these days with mobile – give them the goods and make them happy. I can live with that kind of compromise.

  • Anonymous

    That’s what people want, Stacey, when they are searching via mobile. No
    bells and whistles and fancy design, just the info that they need, served up
    quickly and easily. And yes, it is very easy to make a site mobile friendly
    – if, of course, you’ve built it on the right platform to begin with. You’d
    be amazed at how many overlook that little step.

    Thanks for coming by!

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  • Mark

    This is a great time to approach all the small busiensses and offer them an inexpensive mobile web site. I’m sure it wouldn’t be too difficult to line up some 100 clients in a short period of time.

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