Business and consumer news in 2013 continues to be sharply focused on the introduction of the next great computer tablet or smartphone – or speculation about what the future holds for the generations of tablets and smartphones sure to follow. If they seem to be everywhere, it is because they are, and savvy spa owners have already learned that they need to make adjustments to remain visible in an increasingly mobile world.
If you are still relying on a desktop-optimized web site to market your business online – causing your prospective customers to “pinch and zoom” their way around your business information – you need to take a look at a few hard facts:
- 55 percent of mobile phone owners use their phones to go online.
- 50 percent of all local web searches are performed on mobile devices.
- 90 percent of mobile Internet access is for social media – including “liking” businesses.
- 57 percent of mobile phone users will not recommend your web site if they had trouble accessing it on their mobile devices.
- 34 percent of mobile device users will visit a competing web site if they have trouble accessing yours on their mobile devices.
- 75 percent of smartphone owners use them to find directions to a place of business.
- 50 percent of mobile users have made a mobile purchase in the past year.
In other words, if your prospective customers – or your current customers – can’t easily access your online presence on their mobile devices, they might just go elsewhere.
The good news is that you have many options as to how you can optimize your web site for mobile devices – and the process doesn’t have to be overly complicated. As you explore this essential business development process, there are a number of things to keep in mind:
Create a mobile-optimized design format. You essentially have two options for creating a mobile web site that is easy for your prospects to operate:
- Utilize a design template with built-in mobile optimization
- Work with a web site developer to create a separate mobilized version of your current site.
If your site has been “custom coded” rather than built upon a platform which allows for dynamic, responsive mobile optimization, you may need a more highly customized mobile site to support your individual site. However, it is important to note here that a mobile website typically needs only to provide the searcher with the basic information about your business. i.e. contact information, Google map, services
Be judicious about the mobile-optimized content you feature. Mobile web site design comes with inherent limitations, and your mobile site doesn’t have to include the comprehensive content of site designed for desktop access. Instead, follow these guidelines:
- Clean, simple designs rule. An overly ambitious mobile site can tend to be more cluttered and detract from the end goal for any business owner – to convert a browser to a buyer.
- Provide the most important information upfront. Testing has shown that mobile visitors are looking for an easy solution to an offline problem. Make sure your most valuable information like a phone number or address is found easily on the top of the homepage.
- Selling products directly through your mobile site? Your best bet here is to contact a firm to help study user interaction on your website. The goal here is always to provide an intuitive user experience and minimize “cart abandonment”.
Incorporate SEO strategies specific to mobile site design. Mobile Search Engine Optimization doesn’t differ greatly from that of desktop SEO; however, there are a few differences that you must consider as part of you Search Engine Optimization strategy:
- Keep it consistent. Google and other major search engines are aware of what your website is designed to do. The same strategies apply to your mobile site as well. Keep meta data and link building strategies similar across all platforms.
- Load Time matters! A mobile site that takes more than 3 seconds to load will instantly force 40 percent of your traffic to click away to another site. What’s more, Google is now taking page load time into consideration in your online rankings.
Test – then test again. The many mobile devices in the marketplace – from tablets to iPhones to Androids and Blackberries – use different operating systems and browsers, and they will all access your site just a bit differently. Try out your web site to see how it looks – and how it functions – on as many different devices & operating systems as possible. Then make additional design adjustments as needed.
Mobile Optimization is an ongoing process. The mobile world is changing rapidly, and every indication is that the changes will be ongoing. To stay on top of these changes and keep your business visible among your customers:
- In a local business? Keep an eye on your Google+ Places page! That page, much like your website, can rank higher if optimized through link building and creative content.
- Look to expand into a paid marketing campaign. Many websites & mobile apps now support the ability to advertise. This can be billed on a per click basis or in bulk impressions
In 2011, mobile traffic accounted for less than 10 percent of all website traffic. By 2012 that number jumped to over 20 percent. In 2013, estimations are as high as 35 - 40 percent...that's 1 out of every 3 visitors to your site! Successful businesses have embraced this trend and continue to stay ahead of the mobile curve through working closely with mobile site development and marketing firms.
Mobilize and succeed!