Do You Really Need a Mobile Site?

News Do You Really Need a Mobile Site?

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As internet trends continue to indicate, a growing number of users are increasingly accessing the internet through tablet and smart phone devices rather than traditional PCs. Naturally, this has lead to a shift in the projects and priorities of web developers, as more and more clients now want mobile friendly websites to cater to a growing number of users on the move. The mobile movement is obviously more than a temporary trend, and the chance to hook in potential new demographics is surely enticing, but it’s important to carefully measure the cost of investing in a mobile site against the potential benefits it could bring your business.

It’s good to get out
For those of you that don’t know, mobile-friendly sites are simply websites that have been optimised for facilitated access through smart phone and tablet devices. These sites are usually built with the rectangular parameters of these devices in mind, and as such are easy for mobile users to access and read. They’re also specifically developed to guarantee compatibility with a range of mobile browsers, ensuring that graphics, text and visual elements all load in the correct manner. Mobile sites also remove any ‘mouse-over’ features, such as drop down boxes, which obviously aren’t compatible with touch screen technology. Web designers build mobile sites in much the same way as they do conventional ones; using CSS. They have to take extra care however to anticipate the requirements and compatibility issues of mobile devices, which is why these conversions carry such heavy costs.

The advantages of going mobile
In 2015 there are a considerable variety of reasons why you should opt to build a collaborating mobile site, not least of which is the user experience of your visitors. Attempting to navigate a traditional website on a smartphone is tricky, to say the least; it involves a lot of pinching here, some expanding over there, and an inordinate amount of scrolling. This can have a very negative impact on your users’ experience and thus discourage them from returning to your page. Remember that mobile audiences want the information they need as immediately as possible, so the design of your mobile site should reflect this. Google recently made waves with their impending ‘Mobilegeddon’ update, which looked to actively offer sites that have been adapted for mobile devices with higher prevalence on their natural search listings. Thus, the importance of developing a purpose-built mobile website has increased substantially if your’s is a service people look for ‘on the go’; meaning you probably don’t need to worry about it if you create bespoke pet furniture for example.

Websites that are optimised for mobile inherently are associated with larger brands, and as such carry their own form of status. On the contrary, being directed to a standard website on your iPhone or Android device gives the impression of a half-hearted digital design, even if the original build is outstanding visually. It’s important to remember the power and prevalence of mobile on social media audiences as well; studies indicate that users are much more likely to stay on a page they’ve been driven to via their Facebook or Twitter profiles if said website is laid out simply and easy to navigate.

Is it really worth it?
Unfortunately there’s no cut and dry answer here; as with all difficult business decisions, the debate of whether or not to invest in a mobile-friendly website ultimately boils down your individual requirements. It’s important to properly consider the purpose of your website; what exactly do you have it for? Is it purely a source of information for your customers, or can they actually make purchases or book services through it? The chances are that if it’s the latter, it’s advisable to consider mobile at least. This in itself is problematic, however, as it depends on the very services and products you offer. You’ve got to consider, for example, that if you sell high-end goods like furniture or technology, then it’s quite unlikely a mobile user is going to impulsively convert on the spot. If you don’t think it’s likely that you’ll see a noticeable increase in conversions through your mobile site, then, logically, don’t invest time and money building one.

With the advent of the mobile era, it’s easy to be intimidated by web developers who come armed with their statistics and trends, and convince you to build a mobile site or risk being left behind by your competition. Google’s mobile update correlates heavily with these trends however, and thus should be heavily factored into your decision of whether or not to invest. At the end of the day, the ultimate choice comes down to requirement and audience; if the people you market your services at are likely to use their mobiles to find you, then developing a specific mobile website is probably a savvy investment. If not, there’s a chance you can probably get by for now without one.

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