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The Mobile Internet Revolution Has Arrived: Is Your Site Prepared?

Image: JD Hancock via Flickr

The times, they are a-changing: mobile phones have officially overtaken computers in five leading global markets. According to a Google-Ad Age study, more consumers have mobile Internet-capable devices than desktop or laptop computers.

Our smartphone usage is increasing at an exponential pace. Users now spend an average of 2.7 hours per day on their phone. It’s the first thing they see in the morning and the last thing they see when they go to bed. In fact, mobile internet usage is expected to surpass desktop Internet usage entirely by 2014.

If you haven’t jumped onto the mobile train by now, it’s high time you hop aboard — or risk getting left behind as the smartphone market explodes.

Who Should Be Most Concerned About Mobilizing Their Website?

Image: ChrisJL via Flickr

Ideally, everyone should be considering the mobile market. However, mobile marketing is especially dire for a few industries in particular.

Traditional Brick-and-Mortar Businesses

Traditional Internet usage was revolutionary because it disconnected us from our physical location by connecting us to the world at large. Our location was irrelevent, since the entire world was at our fingertips. Mobile Internet usage, on the other hand, grounds us by our physical location, letting us explore the world around us in precise detail. That’s why traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are the number-one market that needs a mobile-friendly site design.

Over 50% of local searches are done on mobile phones. Our phones are the primary way we research and explore while on the go. If a consumer is asking, “What’s near me?”, it’s essential to make sure your business is capable of answering, “We are!” If you own a restaurant, a shop, a hotel, a salon, a bakery — anything that a customer can walk into — you need to start catering to the mobile crowd.

Filling the Time: Informative and Entertaining Websites

Websites that can inform or entertain the mobile crowd can hugely benefit from a mobile-friendly site design. For example, if you own a site that focuses on local information or reviews, customers can utilize your resources to make decisions on the go.

Finally, sites designed to entertain are fantastic candidates for mobile sites (or apps). Cell phone owners use smartphones to occupy themselves during short windows of waiting time — waiting for a friend, sitting on the subway, or waiting for in line at the bank. Reading a blog or playing a quick game are ideal ways to pass the time. A humor blog, a games site, or a niche news blog are all great candidates for mobile sites.

Quick Tips for Designing a Mobile-Friendly Site

  1. The faster your load time, the better you’ll fare. Load time is hands-down the most important factor in designing a mobile site. Mobile users are far more quick to give up on a slow-to-load site than traditional desktop users.
  2. Don’t try to shrink your existing site. Either design a minimalist site with both desktop and mobile users in mind or build a new layout for mobile users. Shrinking your site will lead to heavy wait times, tiny link text, and a multitude of images and information a mobile user won’t need.
  3. Choose an easy-to-navigate design that solves a problem as quick as possible. Focus primarily on needs: what will a mobile visitor want to know? For most businesses, they’ll be looking for basic information: contact information, directions, pricing/menus, etc. Make that information as prominent as possible.
  4. Make your content direct, concise, and clear. If you thought Web readers were impatient, mobile users are far worse. They don’t read: they look for the quickest route to get an answer. They won’t bother to scroll through a huge block of text or browse around your website. Make your content as direct and brief as possible.
  5. Implement a Finger-Friendly Design. You’re not designing for a mouse and cursor; you’re designing for fingers and thumbs. Turn links into finger-friendly buttons, not text.
  6. Cut the excess. You’re dealing with a smaller screen size and lower browsing speeds. If it’s not essential to your site design, cut it.
  7. Do a test run. Recruit some friends or employees to try your new site out on their phone. What frustrates them? What’s slowing down the load times? What looks wordy or unnecessary? Implement their feedback into your design.

How Are You Handling the Rise of Mobile?

Image: JD Hancock via Flickr

What are you doing to prepare yourself for the rise of mobile? And for consumers — what annoys you the most about browsing the Web on the go? Share your thoughts in the comments!

Nicki Porter is a working writer, fledgling foodie, and admitted alliteration addict who is guilty of using her smartphone to avoid small talk. Mainly because she’s really bad at small talk. She’s pretty good at tweeting, though; you can follow her at @nickimporter. Or better yet, you can come hang out with CopyPress on TwitterFacebook, or Tumblr!

About the author

Nicki Porter