There’s no fighting the fact that mobile internet usage is a trend that’s here to stay. As such, offering your website’s information in a format that’s easily digestible by mobile consumers is no longer a luxury – it’s a “must have” for any company that’s serious about courting the growing number of smartphone and tablet users who rely on their mobile devices for internet access.
With this in mind, the following are a few specific mobile web usage trends your business needs to be aware of, as well as the recommended actions you’ll want to take in order to maximize your own company’s mobile presence:
TREND: “Mobile to overtake fixed Internet access by 2014” (Smart Insights Marketing)
If you’ve ever set foot into a coffee shop or restaurant and seen more than half the establishment’s patrons bent over their smartphones, it isn’t difficult to imagine mobile internet usage overtaking desktop access in the near future.
However, as a website owner, this statistic shouldn’t just surprise you – it should spur you to action. If 50% or more of all internet activity is occurring on digital devices, then your website needs to be accessible to these users. Mobile marketing research suggests that website without mobile-optimized versions frustrate users, which it’s why important for all businesses to make mobile website versions a priority in their upcoming marketing plans.
Fortunately, you have several different options for creating a mobile website version that don’t involve hiring an expensive developer or custom-coding your own new site. If your website runs on WordPress, you can install free plugins like WPTouch or you can work with a responsive theme that automatically adjusts to fit your viewers’ mobile browsers.
Alternatively, you can take a look at GoMobi – a mobile site creation tool offered to HostGator customers. With GoMobi, developing a mobile-optimized website version is as simple as clicking a few mouse clicks and selecting the aesthetic elements that’ll best complement your existing brand. It’s an easy-to-use solution to the issue of mobile website development and even offers advanced features such as click-to-call and ecommerce integration.
TREND: “4 out of 5 consumers use their smartphones to shop” (comScore)
Since our mobile phones and tablets appear to be glued to our hips, it’s only natural to imagine that these tools would play a role in the buying process – whether in terms of product research or the actual completion of mobile-based sales.
In fact, the data is quite clear on this point. Consumers are using their smartphones to shop, and they’re doing so in greater numbers than ever before.
As a result, your business needs to be prepared. In an ideal world, every website that sells products would offer a fully-functional, mobile-optimized site version that allowed consumers to browse, research and purchase products – all from the comfort of their digital devices.
This type of setup is possible using tools like GoMobi, but the ability to buy via smartphone isn’t the only thing you should be concerned with as a business owner. As you develop your own mobile shopping environment, pay particular attention to your website’s usability. Even though you’re working with a much smaller amount of screen real estate, it’s still imperative that mobile visitors be able to easily access a product’s features, images and past reviews in order to facilitate these device-based purchases.
TREND: “60% of mobile users prefer to read news via mobile browser vs. app” (Pew Research Center)
One final question most website owners have when it comes to mobile development is whether to release their content via mobile-optimized website version or standalone app. Here again, the data is compelling.
The majority of readers prefer to read and digest content from their mobile browsers – rather than in company-released apps. Now, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t offer your readers an app, as there are certainly situations in which offering both of these tools will benefit your company’s bottom line.
What it does mean, though, is that mobile website version development should be your first priority when it comes to courting this generation of internet users. First, make your website easy to access via mobile device browsers – whether through the use of platforms like GoMobi or other types of responsive design. Only after this crucial first step is completed should you look into standalone app development.
The bottom line is this: you can’t hide your head in the sand when it comes to mobile website optimization. Research conducted on mobile internet usage trends make it clear that this type of internet access is here to stay and will only continue to grow in the future. By taking the time to implement these recommendations now, you’ll prevent your business from losing online traffic and sales, both from those consumers who are already using their smartphones to access the web and those who will be coming in the future.