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There are 42.7 million smartphone users in the US and all but 2% of them visit their favorite websites using their phones. If you're website isn't optimized for mobile devices, you're, literally, turning away all but a tiny fraction of your potential customers. Here's some tips to get started making your website mobile friendly.
Sub-Domain Vs. .mobi
There's debate over which style is better when optimizing your site for mobile devices. Using a sub-domain is fairly easy to implement. Setting up your mobile site this way will allow you to manage the account through the same management system you use for your original website.
One company who has taken advantage of this sub-domain option is Target. By using their web analytics to see what their customers are browsing, Target can customize their sub-domain to have only key information accessed through their mobilized version of their site.
The other option is the .mobi platform. This domain is set up specifically for mobile browsers, and may have an edge for SEO purposes. According to dotmobi.mobi, “Because every .mobi domain registered gets its own entry in the Internet Zone File -- the files that search engines use to start their crawls -- your site will automatically perform better than any other naming convention.”
Another perk for smaller companies is that since .mobi is still fairly new, there are great names still available. This can allow smaller companies to get a domain name they wanted with a .com but it wasn’t available.
Less is More
Once you decide how you would like to set up your mobile site, the next step is content. When it comes to content, you should keep everything short, sweet, and to the point. People browsing on their mobile phones need information fast and easy. Cut out any “fluff” that maybe in your site and put the most important information at the top of the page.
If you need to use images, limit it to one or two at the most. Images will increase load time, making it frustrating for people on the go to reach your site. Maxim has an option on their mobile site that allows browsers to hide their photos to allow a better loading time.
Avoid Flash on mobile sites as well – the load time is a factor and the iPhone (which is the heavy hitter in the smartphone world) does not support it. Implementing Flash could cut you out of a large demographic.
If you don’t have the time or money to build your mobile site from scratch, there are many sites out there that can do it for you. This option can be beneficial for companies who may not have a web designer in-house. Many of these applications are free as well. Here are a few choices:
- Mobilize by Mippin: This is a great choice if you have a WordPress based site. And has a plugin to make your site mobile friendly.
- 2ergo: This company can do more than just build a mobile site for you, so you will need to contact them for a quote. You will be able to choose from a, “self-service mobile publishing and content management tool, Mobile Site Builder, or let 2ergo design a custom site especially for [you].”
- Zinadoo: This site is award winning for creating mobile websites in minutes for free, as well as can help with mobile search.
These are just a few of many service providers; a Google search will develop many others to help you in your quest to convert your site.
Another great tool to use, if you don’t use a sub domain for your mobile site is Mmeterics.com, a site that can calculate web analytics such as tracking mobile visitors, page views, ads clicked, and many other things.
No matter how you decide to optimize your mobile site, the point is you need to start thinking about it. With more and more people accessing information on the go, you need to stay up to date on the latest trends.
Shannon Suetos is a writer based in San Diego, CA. She writes extensively for Resource Nation, an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs.