What does it actually mean to make your website ‘mobile’ and will it benefit you or your business in any way when doing so?
When the phrase “mobile website” it is actually something of a misnomer as the website itself isn’t actually mobile; what the phrase refers to is that the website can be read, displayed and easily browsed on a mobile compatible device with a browser, such as a mobile phone, a smartphone or the growing number of tablets in use today.
Within this lies the problem faced by many website creators; do they build a site for the still popular desktop and laptop PC market, or do they spend a little extra time creating a site that is also optimised and usable on a mobile device?
To investigate whether this is time well spent, we need to appreciate fully the mobile market as it stands today.
The Situation Today – The Rapidly Growing Use of Websites via Mobile & Tablets
The first thing to note is that nowadays smartphone (and tablets) are no longer merely communication devices.
Research has shown that the average smartphone user spends over 90% of the time using the phone either listening to music online, searching the Internet, watching videos on YouTube, checking their social media profile or emails, downloading and playing games and other forms of apps.
Indeed only 10% of the activity on a typical smartphone is when a user sends a text or makes a mobile phone call.
Such is the growth in the number of uses a typical smartphone or tablet has, that many people are now ditching desktop PC’s and are using tablets and/or smartphones for all their online needs.
Such is the rate of growth in this market at present that research indicates that by 2015, there will be more smartphone users browsing the Internet than those who browse the Internet from their PC.
Yet here is the problem that faces many individuals and businesses. How we as a society access the Internet may be changing rapidly, but unfortunately many websites have not been designed, or recoded, to ensure that they are fully compatible with mobile devices.
This means that while you will still be able to access a website such as this from your smartphone or tablet, there is a good chance that it will look disorganised. In addition, it is likely that some of the key features of the site may not work and those that do work, may encounter errors and problems on a regular basis.
Fortunately, there is an answer to this and that is making sure your website compatible with mobile devices, or as it has come to be known, a mobile website.
How to Make a Mobile Website
The great news is that making your website fully compatible with the vast range of mobile devices available today is not particularly difficult; there are a number of sites that will automatically optimise your site for mobile when you design it using their software.
The alternative is not particularly appealing as research has shown that sites that don’t optimise their site for mobile users are currently losing between 10 to 20 per cent of their visitors each month to competitors who do have sites optimised for mobile.
Having ascertained that it is very important to ensure your site is mobile-friendly, what are the best ways to create a mobile site from scratch?
In short, you have basically a choice of two options in this respect. Make a site yourself, or ask a professional to build one for you.
- Building a Mobile Site Yourself
The days when making a website, even a mobile website, was a complicated task that involved learning a lot of programming language, are now thankfully long gone. It is now easier than ever to get a top quality, professional website built and running from scratch in double-quick time.
Of course, you can still decide to design your own site from the ground up using a programming language like HTML5, however unless you are already something of an expert in this, it is not the recommended option nowadays as there are much easier methods available.
One such way is to use a website creation tool that allows you to use intuitive tools to build the site, yet also optimises the site for both the web and mobile Internet and for the vast majority of users who do not have great experience of HTML5 or similar, this is a much easier and quicker option.
A great example of a site that is easy to create mobile websites on is WordPress. It is fast, free and very easy to use. It was originally developed as a site for blogging, but has quickly become the defacto choice for millions of people to build their website, including sites that are compatible with mobile devices.
Enabling your site to be mobile compatible with WordPress is as easy as selecting what they call a “Mobile Responsive” Theme. This essentially creates a duplicate of your existing site; one that displays on standard desktop PC’s and another which works on mobile devices.
There is no need to know anything about mobile Internet coding – simply select the theme, add your content, change a few settings to get the site looking as you want it and it is ready to go.
If you’d like more detailed advice on this simply click here to follow our easy to follow tutorial on how to set up a website (INSERT LINK). Then when you have finished choose a “Mobile Ready Theme” and you have now created a site that is optimised for mobile devices too. It is that easy!
There are lots of great Mobile Ready Themes available at sites like StudioPress.com, all you need to do is select the theme that suits your site.
- Hiring a Professional Website Designer To Build Your Site
Many people refuse to consider hiring a professional website developer to build a site because it is far more expensive than designing a site yourself for free. However, there are some benefits to asking a professional to develop your site for you and if you have a budget to create your site, this could be worthwhile considering.
The first positive aspect is time; designing and creating the information for your own site can be time consuming and if you are putting off paying work to do the site, it can prove costly. Having someone else to do it for you, while you continue to work can be an attractive option. Especially, when you can control how much you spend and how long the project should take.
The other bonus is that seeing as you are hiring a professional, they should complete the job to your satisfaction otherwise they won’t get paid for the job. In addition, they may be able to add a few little tweaks to your site that may not be otherwise available on a site like WordPress.
So if you are pressed for time or are concerned about the technical aspects of developing a site, then hiring a professional can work well. There are several sites where you can find the expertise you require such as www.freelancer.com, www.elance.com and www.odesk.com.
One small piece of advice, before you hire someone for the job, it is worth checking their portfolio and feedback from other jobs before you hire, to ensure you are getting a reputable professional who produces high quality work and delivers it on time.
It may not seem like it, but we are currently undergoing a sweeping change in how society uses the Internet and existing websites that are not mobile-optimised are slowly being usurped by those that are.
Smart businesses and individuals have realised that the burgeoning mobile Internet is not a market they can ignore and so this is an opportunity to develop your site to become involved in this important, growing and hugely popular market.
Remember, if someone is searching for a product or service you provide on their mobile and they come across a website that doesn’t work on a smartphone, they’ll look down their search results for a site that does. With the minimum of effort, that can be YOUR site.
With the number of people accessing the Internet via mobile’s growing rapidly, it makes sound business sense to invest a little time and effort in ensuring your website is ready for the mobile market as soon as possible.
Best of all, setting your site up for mobile is quick, inexpensive and easy to do; there is no down side to this decision, but by doing so, you will set up your business or individual website for the foreseeable future and keep one step ahead of many of your competitors.