This is a guest post by Jim Dougherty, Writer and chief of miscellany at leaderswest.com
Mobile-optimized sites should be old hat for businesses these days, especially for businesses that do sales on the Internet. After all, this year the number of mobile devices will exceed the planet’s population. And one-third of Internet users own tablets. And mobile traffic worldwide accounts for 13% of all internet traffic, and in some places it has surpassed desktop. And the amount of money spent on eCommerce sites has increased three-fold year-over-year…… you get the point: mobile is a big deal.
But in a new study by eCommerce resource Briteskies, they reveal that only 35% of businesses have mobile-optimized sites. This indicates that a number of businesses are mobile laggards.
What constitutes a mobile-optimized site?
In a recent (great) piece, Johan Johansson discussed the three main ways to build a mobile-optimized site:
- Responsive Web Design – where the viewable website adjusts the layout of the page to reflect the layout of the user’s screen
- Dedicated Mobile Site – where a separate mobile site is developed independent of the desktop site
- Responsive web design + server-side components – a hybrid of sorts, where there are mobile-only and desktop-only aspects, aligned under one site.
What I love about Johansson’s piece is that he lays out the pros and cons of each, showing that the challenges of creating a mobile-optimized site are much more complex than many people make it out to be. Particularly for businesses that have spent a lot of money on web design, or put a lot of effort into social media, or are too engrossed in running a business to put effort into their web properties, spending money to further enhance their web properties may seem unnecessary. And 13% of web searches doesn’t seem huge… though it is.
How big is the mobile opportunity?
13% isn’t a percentage of people. It’s a percentage of searches. And when are people most likely to search on mobile? When they are local. Disregarding mobile is to disregard local, which for many businesses could be the lowest of low-hanging fruit. Nevermind the fact that smartphone users are 18-35 year old demographic, a sweet-spot for merchants.
But I want to close by posing the question – how important is mobile to businesses right now? Is it an overreaction to say that businesses are hurting themselves by not having a mobile-optimized site? Please leave a comment and state your case.