Mobile trends aren’t like other web trends – because while other trends come and go, mobile is apparently here to stay. So if your business has not yet gone mobile, it’s almost as if you have no online presence at all. That’s because consumers, clients and everyday users are switching from the big personal computer (PC) monitors to the small screens of convenient smartphones and the versatile tablets – and the numbers bear that out.
• By the end of 2012, reported Forbes, mobile devices were poised to outsell personal computers by a 2:1 margin
• International Data Corp researchers expect the number of consumers accessing the Internet through PCs to drop from 240 million in 2012 to 225 million by 2016.
• Even the more portable laptop computer is not immune: tablets will outsell laptop computers by a 6:1 margin by 2017, according to market researcher NPD.
• Over the past two years, notes Google, smartphone adoption in the United States grew from 36 percent to 61 percent.
Mobile technology is even overtaking radio and television for entertainment. And the reason for this evolution is not hard to determine: smartphones and tablets accommodate today’s on-the-go lifestyle. With Wi-Fi connections and data plans fueling usage, it’s now possible to access the Internet virtually anywhere.
The Mobile Trends Noted by Google Include These Arresting Statistics:
• 94 percent of smartphone users search for location information;
• 48 percent called a store; and
• 85 percent of mobile search-triggered calls to stores happened within 5 hours of the initial search
The biggest names in search engines have acknowledged mobile trends. Google and Bing, for example, “will index mobile content in a different manner than regular search,” says e2ideas. “Search engines will serve up mobile optimized websites first over non-mobile sites when a mobile user does a search on a smartphone.”
No Longer a Novelty – Mobile Optimized Websites Are a Necessity
This development is especially important when considering usage on Google, the undisputed leader in search engines. Today, websites that lack a mobile responsive design are going to be at a disadvantage in Google search results – and if your site doesn’t make the first page of Google search results, it might as well not exist at all.
The good news is that mobile searches are still relatively new – so “people who are first to market have a significant advantage,” as e2ideas notes.
Retailers are using mobile to their advantage – installing QR codes on shelves to encourage device-holders to scan and find information on the product; creating apps that link to special offers or deals accessed by phone or tablet; and creating virtual coupons good for on-the-spot discounts.
Making Mobile Work for Your Own Customers
The mobile web has altered the way your business gets discovered and accessed. While a robust, client-focused website is still a must-have, the way that site is designed and programmed for mobile use will make all the difference to your customers.
The conventional PC optimized website, optimized for up to a 19-inch viewing screen, are too complicated for mobile use. The image- and text-heavy pages of a PC website are often slow to load on a smartphone, and once all the data transfers to a 4-inch screen, objects look cluttered and hard to navigate.
Google reports these very interesting comments from a recent survey:
• 57 percent of users say they won’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site; and
• 40 percent have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience
Catching the Wave with Mobile Trends
Creating a mobile presence from your traditional website presents some challenges. You need to take a step back and view your business and its message the way your customers would. What do they want to know most at the moment they pull out their smartphone? Are they just getting acquainted with your business, or are they ready to consider a purchase?
Knowing your customers’ buying habits are key to designing a mobile presence that they’ll enjoy using.
When it comes to the nuts and bolts of mobile sites, you typically have several options, but many businesses find the most success with these three choices:
• A responsive design website changes the way it looks and navigates depending on the device. For instance, it will hide some content on a tiny smartphone, but show it on a larger tablet.
• A native mobile app developed specifically for a device and is downloaded from app stores like iTunes and Google Play.
• Using a DudaMobile automatically created mobile website done with the click of a mouse and a fast installation of a small snippet of code.
Getting the Word Out
Once you have taken your business mobile, let your customers in on the good news. Use your Facebook, Twitter or other social pages to announce the change; send email to your customers and prospects, and reach out to trade organizations and industry publications to get users interested in your site.