It’s no secret that going mobile is the way of the future. And while Internet-based technology for smartphones hasn’t quite exploded yet, many marketing experts think the mass proliferation isn’t far away.
According to eMarketer, more than 96 percent of the U.S. population is expected to own a mobile phone by 2013 and the gap between web-enabled mobile and wired Internet users is likely to narrow significantly in the coming years.
In order to provide this growing base of mobile web users with the optimum experience, many small business owners are developing mobile-friendly company websites that are optimized for smartphone display.
Making the Mobile Transition. There are a variety of options for mobile website development based on your company’s goals. In some cases, it may be more practical to generate a mobile-friendly website using the bones of your existing site. But, it is important to remember that just because you may be able to see your existing website on a smartphone, it doesn’t mean that it is also mobile-friendly.
One resource is GoMo (www.howtogomo.com), an initiative by Google that is designed to help businesses go mobile. The website includes a feature that lets you preview your current desktop site on a mobile device and then makes suggestions on how it could be mobile-optimized. GoMo also provides a list of vendors that can be filtered by service type, cost and targeted timeframe for building a mobile-friendly site.
Benefits of Going Mobile. As PMPs, it is essential to make your brand visible to your current and potential consumers wherever they are — and nowadays, they are on mobile devices. By creating a mobile-friendly website for your firm, you can connect with customers and ultimately increase revenue. Here are a few other reasons to go mobile with a company website:
Multiple Uses: Mobile devices have revolutionized the way consumers shop. Although most consumers are not yet making purchases with their smartphones, mobile devices are impacting purchase decisions. Many mobile users are using their phones to research products, compare prices, look for unbeatable deals, read reviews and find locations.
Better Search Results: Mobile searching has become one of the fastest-growing online resources. With computers essentially accessible from jean pockets, it has never been easier for consumers to search for what they want. It also has never been easier for your business to be found by potential customers via popular search engines such as Google, Bing and Yahoo! on a mobile device. In the future, these search engines may begin to rank websites by their vast platform options, so if your company does not have a mobile-friendly site, it will appear lower in search results.
Quick Speed: Mobile websites are designed for optimal speed, which means consumers don’t have to wait for pages to download and they can spend more time browsing. However, if your website is slow to load on a mobile device, users will move onto another site that is faster. According to GoMo, 60 percent of users expect a mobile site to load in three seconds or less.
Local Engagement: A mobile website allows you to engage users with features such as mapping functions and directories that provide general information on your company’s location, contact information and address. Furthermore, visitors can find your website through location-based technology that tracks their geographic proximity to your business.
Competitive Advantage: Mobile technology is everywhere, and before we know it, most businesses will have implemented a mobile marketing strategy. However, having a mobile website now allows you to stand out among other industry competitors and ensures that you have the best opportunity to capture consumer attention when they are browsing your page.
A Successful Mobile Website. If you decide to create a mobile-friendly website for your business, there are a few golden rules to keep in mind to improve user experience and satisfaction:
Keep it Simple. Mobile users rarely use a mobile phone to just casually surf the web. The typical user is looking for on-the-go access to something specific. As a result, it is important to keep your mobile site simple with the design, layout and navigation. Ask yourself, “For what reason are consumers going to visit our site?” In most cases, it will be to reach a live person, so you should make the phone number prominent.
Don’t Use Flash. It is important to stay away from Flash layouts. Although Flash-driven elements may look appealing on a desktop browser, users will receive an error message if accessing your website on a mobile device. You don’t want to lose potential customers because they can’t view your information.
Avoid Multiple Images. Nothing slows a page down more than large images. It is recommended to discard most of the images on your mobile homepage except for ones those that are essential. When you do add images to your mobile website, be sure to select smaller versions.
Cater To Tapping. When converting your website from a desktop to a mobile design, you need to make sure that the links, buttons, menus, etc., can be accessed by tapping. Keep in mind that although desktop websites lend themselves well to clickable areas, the mobile web requires larger elements that can be pressed with a thumb.
The Future is Now. In order to maximize the potential of your pest management business and stay ahead of competition, it is important to be aware of top technology trends. Implementing new technology is a great technique to attract new customers and keep your current clientele impressed with your business. In a world where the mobile spectrum is constantly changing and optimizing mobile websites is the up-and-coming trend, there is no better time to hop on the mobile bandwagon and make sure you are not left behind.
The author is the executive director of the Professional Pest Management Alliance. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.