Mobile isn’t going to be A medium. It’s going to be THE medium.

The online environment has changed. Mobile web activity has grown exponentially and that will only continue. The context in which information is consumed has been turned on its head – business now moves at mobile speed. It’s up to website owners to adapt to this new reality – and at the same time exploit the exciting new markets that mobile-optimisation opens up.

What’s in it for you?
Over the last few years, business and website owners have started to realise the necessity of mobile-optimised websites – and especially in the UK. Soon, smart businesses will be designing their sites – and indeed basing their broader content strategies – with tactile devices as priority. Sales of mobiles and tablets already outstrip the combined figures for laptops, desktops and notebooks. There is an inevitability about the ongoing march of mobile, and the companies that get to grips with it will be the winners.  But if the stats alone aren’t enough to convince, then consider the practical benefits that optimising for mobile delivers to business:

Business Benefits

Optimising websites helps align the goals of a website with the desired actions of its users. Or put simply; helping customers find what they want. Delivering the right content up front is of the essence, whether users are on the move or browsing from the sofa. Non-optimised sites can make it difficult for users to engage – and often impossible for them to convert. Does your website do you justice on a mobile?

Mobile-optimisation offer businesses new avenues to market. Desktop-only users are dwindling, therefore limiting communications to this group means shrinking the potential market. Adopting a mobile strategy enables exposure to every potential audience: those who are on the move, who are local and ready to act, who need something quickly, or who are just plain bored. Whatever the users’ circumstance, optimisation delivers better brand visibility, clearer messaging, longer stays on site and effective call-to-action content. All of which improves conversion rates and ultimately, the bottom line.

Opinions of brands are formed at each and every touchpoint – it can take hundreds of actions to build a brand relationship, and only a few to break it. The effort an organisation makes to communicate clearly signifies to customers the extent to which they matter/are valued. Mobile sites make content accessible before a word is read. On a practical level they enable effective communication and represent the brand faithfully. They offer the joyful experience of an app, with content as comprehensive as the parent website.

Optimising a site for mobile ensures the site works brilliantly on any device – so that means every smartphone, every tablet, every laptop and every desktop.  All in one go.  Usually this is a more cost-effective alternative to building an App, which requires development on multiple platforms (and therefore multiple costs). And as for managing the inevitable content updates….

A mobile website is flexible when it comes to changing content. The Content Management System means amends go live immediately – simultaneously to desktop and mobile versions – without any third party fees or customer effort required. So updates can be easily managed in-house and hassle-free, with no need for ongoing developer charges, repetitive downloads, native device testing or other modifications. (For more about Mobile Sites vs Apps, check out our Blog piece)

Mobile advertising is growing at a rapid pace, presenting new opportunities to hit target audiences with absolute precision. When a company advertises on Google AdWords or undertakes other PPC then those ads also appear on mobile listings. But with mobile advertising the challenge is to ensure those ads lead to mobile-optimised landing pages. Sending customers to a desktop-only site from a mobilised ad tells the wrong story, and is unlikely to help with ROI.

Customer Benefits

Tactile devices have in-built functions that mobile websites can exploit, such as location-based features, click to call, Google maps etc. Mobile-optimisation is especially relevant for regional businesses: 95% of users search for local products and services via smartphone, and, tellingly, 90% act on their findings within 24 hours (Source: Google Internal Data 2012)

First impressions count. Mobile websites are specifically designed for tactile devices – the days of pinching, zooming and scrolling are over. No-one wants to read a desktop site on a smartphone, and the stats back that up.  Customer requirements – and expectations – have soared; users want information immediately and they want it relevant, compelling, and above all, easy to use.

Technical Benefits

Users are impatient. They don’t give businesses long to get their attention; 71% of customers expect mobile sites to load faster than the desktop version (Compuware 2011). But if that doesn’t happen, they’ll switch off and go elsewhere. Mobile protocols mean optimised sites load far quicker than the desktop. All of which means less waiting for information, and more time reading, sharing or acting on it.

When a user searches from a mobile device, then a site that is mobile-friendly website will achieve superior rankings on search engines such as Google and Yahoo. On top of that, an optimised presence within the growing number of mobile and local directories is particularly effective – and great for business when users are searching for something close to hand.