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If You Don’t Have a Mobile Web Strategy by Now, Your Business is Falling Behind

Mobile web has been around for quite some time now, but with the continued growth of Smartphone and tablet ownership, it saw a real explosion of popularity in 2011. We are now at a point where more Smartphones than PCs are purchased in the U.S. and mobile data traffic in 2011 was eight times greater than in 2010; not to mention that 63 million units of the mobile newcomer, the tablet, were shipped in 2011. The numbers tell a very compelling story- Americans are using their mobile devices to access the web now more than ever and are starting to view these devices as equal to their desktops for web browsing. 2012 Imperative: A Mobile Web Strategy So what does this mean to your business? Easy. You need a mobile web strategy. Regardless of size, industry or location, there are very few businesses that will be able to grow in the coming years without one. A mobile web strategy encompasses a number of pieces to your business’s digital puzzle. Website, email, blog, advertising, apps- whatever: If it is part of your online strategy, it needs to be part of your mobile web strategy. You need to make sure your business can be found by the mobile public, and once they find you, they can find the information you are providing in a simple and easily-navigable way. For now, I am going to focus on mobile websites and how they should differ from your standard desktop website. In future posts, you will hear from some of our other team members about email, blogging, advertising and apps. You will note that going forward, we will almost always include a mobile component to any of our more educational pieces on digital, reinforcing just how important wedu believes mobile is to your digital marketing efforts in 2012 and beyond. Mobile Web versus Desktop Web There are three key differences between a desktop website and a mobile website- design/layout, content and construction. I will focus here on the first two and spare you the technical babble about how the site should be coded. 4 Keys for Mobile design layout: Key 1- Page Size: The most obvious design difference in the mobile versus desktop comparison is page resolution size. It goes without saying that mobile devices have smaller screens than a desktop or laptop computer. This must be taken into consideration when thinking about how a mobile site will be viewed. Many tablets and Smartphones these days have zoom-in/zoom-out features, but it is always better to design your mobile page to a size that minimizes the amount of work on the user’s end. I have often heard the act of zooming-in on a mobile page equated to making the user squint, which is a fairly accurate comparison. Key 2- Columns and Scrolling: Mobile pages are generally laid out in a single vertical column which require very little scrolling. If scrolling is necessary because of article size or whatnot, it should be a vertical scroll and never horizontal. Key 3- Navigation: Navigation is always a challenge with mobile web. Links must be obvious and have some sort of instant feedback action when clicked so that the user knows that the link has been selected and they are waiting for the next page. Usage of buttons or colorful icons for the most important sections of the site is popular among mobile websites. Key 4- Flash: Last, but not least, NO FLASH. iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod) don’t support flash, so it is very important that your mobile site does not contain flash elements. Mobile Content: Given the short attention span of your typical mobile user, simplicity in mobile web is important. You should minimize your content to include only the topics that are most important to the mobile user. Mobile web pages also have fewer images and the images that are used are smaller than their desktop counterparts. This is done partially for page real estate purposes and partially for file-size purposes. Larger files mean longer page load times on slower networks and also drive up data usage, which we all know is a precious resource in these post-unlimited–data-carrier-plan days. In short, don’t make the user wait for your page and don’t cost them money if they choose to look at your site. Conclusion With over 600 million Smartphone users worldwide and a tablet market that is showing no signs of slowing down, it is critical that your business start to integrate a mobile strategy into your digital marketing plans. wedü’s digital marketing team comprises some of the best mobile strategists in the business. Contact us if you’d like an assessment of how you can add mobile to your digital marketing mix.
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