Mobile Web Sites Are Going Places

by Thom Hiatt

I purchased my first “cell phone” in 1995. It was great for making quick calls. But it could do little more.

Fast forward to 2010, the wireless phone had turned into a do-it-all-mini-computer-in-your-pocket, and nearly everyone had one. However, in 2010, cell tower data was slow (3G), many phones did not have a wi-fi antenna, and even if they did, not too many free wi-fi hot spots existed at coffee shops and the like.

Because of these inherent limitations, few people used their phones to surf the web. For those who did surf the web with their phones, they often found sites to load slowly and be difficult to navigate. After all, web sites were designed for a monitor + keyboard + mouse experience. A webmaster might see a 2-5% mobile usage on his site, with few pageviews.

With 4G, mobile hot-spots, and wi-fi nearly everywhere we go, the times are changing…

Current statistics show us that 15-25% of web site visits are made with a mobile device. Yes, that probably includes your web site, and that does mean “about 1 out of 5 people.” Are you prepared for this party? If you have a shin-dig for 100 people and 20 of them want to eat cheese pizza, you’d better have some cheese pizza on the table.

How does it work?

When you use your phone to go to a website, either by clicking a link, performing a search, or typing in the address, the web site server has the opportunity to see what kind of operating system you are using, as well as your screen size. If you are using an iPhone, the server sees that you are using iOS with a resolution of 960 x 640. In a split second, the server can then decide to show a mobile-optimized site instead of the desktop version.

Do I have to maintain two different sites?

No. Changes that you make to your desktop site are automatically reflected in the mobile site.

When should I create a mobile site?

Now! 20% of your visitors are already frustrated.

If it’s been more than 36 months since the creation of your current desktop site, you might want to look into getting a brand new desktop site and mobile site at the same time. It’s just easier, faster, and less money.

If your desktop site is relatively new, then check to see which Content Management System was used: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, etc. Contact your web team and ask for a quote to match the existing desktop branding/content into a new mobile site.

The best time to create a mobile site is immediately following the development of your new desktop site. This way, branding is almost guaranteed to be fully consistent.

Twin Bees loves to create beautiful and easy-to-use mobile sites. Call us at (858) 877-3733 to learn more.