Did you know by the year 2015, more than 50 percent of web sales will be generated from social and mobile web sites? And did you know, currently only 26 percent of small businesses have mobile sites?
It does not take a tech-savvy person to notice mobile phones are the future home of Internet users. They go everywhere with us – even to the bathroom. They are connected to families, friends, and engrained in our lives.
They make traveling a breeze, turn comparing prices into an easy task and offer the answer to just about any factual question asked.
So tell me again – Why doesn’t your small business have a mobile site?
What is a mobile site?
Let’s start from the beginning. Most people carry smart phones, and by 2013, it is predicted that more people will use their mobile phones to get online than with PC’s. (By the way, that year is next year.)
A mobile site is not an app on a smartphone, it is a mobile-ready version of your website. A mobile site is easier for users to interact with and learn about a business. Depending on the type of business, users can buy directly from their phones or get directions on how to show up at its front door.
In today’s economy, small businesses cannot afford to overlook the mobile market. According to Google, 40 percent of mobile consumers went to a competitor’s mobile site after an awful mobile site experience, and 57 percent would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site.
A few things to know
1. It must be fast.
Mobile users are as crunched for time as desktop users, even more so. They are usually out and about, and looking for a business on the go. If the mobile site is loaded down with information or pictures – they may move on. Over 71 percent of users expect a mobile site to load as quickly as a desktop site. Regardless of how silly that notion is – it is what the consumer thinks.
2. Users are wayyy into using it to find local businesses.
If your business spends money on print advertising – it’s time to redirect it to a mobile site, or it will lose out on valuable leads. About 95 percent of mobile users are searching for local businesses, 61 percent call a business after finding their information and 59 percent visit the store. And guess what – 90 percent of these people act within 24 hours of finding a business. Enough said.
3. There is no need for a mobile app, unless selling directly is part of the plan.
A mobile app is completely different than a mobile site, but having one designed is a good idea if the intention is to start selling from it. However, most small business that will not need an “e-commerce mobile app.” Think miniature website, not clicking on a dedicated app.
4. A mobile site WILL drive leads and purchases.
If the above information is not convincing enough, know that 50 percent of mobile searches lead to purchases. That is huge! And it is even bigger when calculating the money a business is losing by not making it mobile accessible.
Best mobile design practices
The next step is to look for a mobile designer. They become more popular by the day, but since you are not a mobile designer, these guidelines will direct the way.
1. Keep it simple.
You do not need a full-blown, interactive mobile site. What you need is a mobile site that is professionally designed and offers the user relevant information in a straightforward manner. Keep the content on one screen so users don’t have to zoom in and out to read it, become one with negative space (because there isn’t much negative space), keep content low – only incorporate what is necessary, make it user-friendly for all finger sizes and stay away from Flash sites. Repeat after me – Flash is dead.
2. Be consistent.
Make sure website colors match the mobile site, as well as themes and layout – if possible. Keep key features (such as the navigation) similar to the desktop version, display dependable product information and pricing and make it seamless between vertical and horizontal orientations. The customer needs to correlate the mobile site to the business desktop site, and vice versa. Don’t add polka-dots for fun on a mobile site unless they are on the desktop version, and even then – think twice.
3. Give them an option.
Design the site to be an easy switch from the mobile to the desktop version if users want to look at the site in its original form. Give them the control to maneuver however they please.
4. Test, test, test.
If possible, ask friends, family and employees to test out the site prior to publication. Take note of difficulties or mismatched pricing/products. And hook up analytic tools so you can begin tracking how users utilize the site.
The evidence is stacked in favor of small businesses having a mobile site in place. It is best to stay ahead of the trends and wise to consider where your customers spend their time – only 10 percent of mobile users don’t take action when using their mobile phones to look up businesses, leaving 90 percent who do. Will you be ahead of the trend or wait for the pack?
Does your business have a mobile site? What benefits or negatives have you experienced from it? And what advice do you have for other business owners who are interested in them?