Why You Need a Mobile Website Today
1. Half of U.S. have SmartPhones
More than half of the cell phone market in U.S. are SmartPhones* with internet connectivity. More is on the way. We are not going back to phones without internet connectivity - it's the new standard. Your mobile website is the first point of "digital contact" so make the first impression count.
2. Mobile Users Expect a Simple Browsing Experience
Even though modern phones can now render many websites, the zooming and loading is time consuming and confusing. Adding "rollover / mouse over" effects to the navigation, as well as flash-animations and video-standards that might not be shows on some phones, and it becomes a frustrating experience. Your mobile website should take this into consideration.
3. Mobile Traffic Is Exploding
By 2014, it is estimated, that half the web-traffic goes through our phones and mobile devices. People are curious, and wants instant gratification. The use has become a habit.
Hand them a business card, and they will learn about your business right away, on the spot, using their phone. They will not wait, and go home to their computer and visit your website, or look you up in the Yellow Pages. But if they check out your services on their phone first, they are very likely to do it again and again (on a computer and/or phone).
4. Visitors and Travelers Use SmartPhones at Their Destination
Customers, visitors, tourists, business travelers - they all take their phones with them but they don't always carry their computers. At conferences, in cafes, through the museum and shops; the phone is in their pocket, and the first thing they want to do is check out your mobile website right away. During trips, or when just going to town, we rely on our phone to find things. Mobile websites makes a lot of sense.
5. No Need for Multiple Phone Apps
The phone operative system market is fractured (see chart). Symbian and Palm are essentially dead, but RIM (Blackberry) is still hanging in there, and Microsoft resently released Win7/8 for phones and is back in the game. Android and iOS (Apple iPhone) are the big contenders.
In short, the chart says two things:
- There are 4 major contenders. Keeping and updating "apps" for each operative system using different software-languages is costly. A solid but simplified mobile website that works on all smartphones is a better idea.
- Things always change. Don't invest in one specific contender. If they make one update or a new version comes out, your "apps" might be worthless over night. A mobile website is a better idea.
Conclusion About Mobile Websites and Phones
- SmartPhones and other mobile devices are here to stay.
- Mobile devices have created new habits.
- Mobile websites is your first impression.
- A mobile website is cost effective, easy to use, and makes sense.
- As a small business owner or working professional, this is the single best digital investment you can make.
As a web developer, I would be surprised if people still pick up their landline phone to order pizza for home delivery in 2 years, and not simply select their toppings on their cell phone.
* The words smartphones and cell phones are used interchangeably. A so-called smartphone is a cell phone with higher capacity to do more computer-like things. It became popular to prefix words with "smart" in marketing to tell potential customers that their product is better. At some point, we will stop making the distinction between smartphones and cell phones, and just say "phones." The word telephone specifically means a phone with a physical landline connection - at one point we simply called it a phone, but not anymore.