Surprisingly few website owners have come to terms with the emerging move to mobile browsing, yet at the beginning of 2012 there were almost an equal number of mobile phones accessing the Internet as laptops and PCs, and, within a year, mobile phone browsers are predicted to outnumber traditional browsers.
We have been responsible for developing a number of feature rich mobile websites for our clients and, over the past year for two clients in particular, we pushed the functionality of these mobile sites to the same levels as their primary website.
For Rotana Hotels, we produced mobile versions of their online booking orientated website rotana.com and also their more socially orientated news and promotions website RotanaTimes.com. In both cases all of the functionality of the "mother" sites was built in to their mobile equivalents, including full real-time online reservations across all their properties, live competitions and video galleries.
Similarly, for the popular florist Exotica, we took the online shopping site we had developed for them and created a complete mobile version, offering the same products with a user friendly online shopping capability all the way through to online payment and fulfilment.
Since launching these sites, both clients have begun to see new interest coming from demographics that previously would not have been able to view their product offerings had the mobile site not been available.
While it is not always essential that your mobile website offers full functionality, with Google reporting a 500% growth in mobile search from 2008 to 2011, and the most popular information sought over the Internet being contact telephone numbers, at the very least, your website should have a mobile friendly contact page with automatic "telephone" links enabled.
Confusion over mobile website or "app"
As the bandwidth (speed) of mobile Internet connectivity constantly increases, a mobile website can offer much of the functionality found in a typical "app" yet has the added advantage of being cross-platform capable and can contain dynamic content, which you yourself manage through your website's CMS.
While mobile "apps" are certainly popular among the 15-35 demographic, unless your business has a really solid reason to embark on the development of a mobile app, your mobile website should ideally be your main focus of attention to capture this new style of visitor.
It is also important to remember that if you do move towards offering a mobile "app" then you have to ensure it is built for the 3 different operating platforms currently in use. Having your app only available on a single platform will quickly erode any value you hoped to achieve by its release.
And if there's any doubt in your mind
At the end of 2011 an estimated one billion people were connected to the Internet using mobile devices, and faced with these facts, if your website is not displaying properly on smaller devices, or not operating at all, an increasing number of your visitors are likely to simply pass you by.
With the arrival of the new 4G bandwidth technology for mobile internet connections, offering up to 100Mbps, it is an absolute certainty that more and more Internet activity is going to originate from mobile devices.
Contact us today for more information