There is a shift coming to the Internet that will impact the way web business is done. This is a quiet revolution and has been in the making for some time. This involves important shifts in market demographics combined with advances in mobile and wireless technologies.
Some of the current research is counter-intuitive, because as consumers we have been trained to believe that bigger is better, just like faster should always equate to something of greater value. In the case of the mobile web, we are talking about much smaller devices, smaller screens, and for the time being smaller bandwidth that equates to slower download speeds. On the other hand, there is plenty of research to indicate that consumers are buying more cell phones than computers, and accessing the Internet more often with wireless devices. The Global Mobile Data Forecast reports that the use of mobile data rose faster than anticipated in 2010 (159%), and that by 2015 there will most likely be on average one mobile device per person worldwide.
Some business analysts say that smart phones and smart mobile devices should be the target for new marketing efforts. Others consider that targeting a broader audience of all wireless devices is the road to success for marketing in the future. This can be confusing, but we can at least conclude that mobile website viewing is growing at an astounding rate. The best way to get around the scaled down screen sizes and scaled down network speeds in the near term is to scale down the design and functionality of mobile websites. This generally is going to mean less information and fewer graphics.
Building Simple Mobile Sites
When you first consider building a mobile website, there are things you will soon discover that seem to be road blocks. These are obstacles for the mobile web that still beg for clear-cut answers. These are system-wide issues that have not yet been hammered out in a definitive way. Will a mobile version of your traditional website be considered duplicate content? Should a mobile website be accessible from the legacy hard-wired Internet? Can your current website be easily converted to serve as a mobile website? Do search engines index mobile websites? Does this mean that there are now two different and distinct Internets? How do you do SEO for a mobile website?
These are just a few questions you may have, and to be honest most of these questions do not yet have very good answers. This is because the mobile web is still evolving. Still, this is no reason to procrastinate and put off doing what will be a good business decision in the long run. Learn what you can, get started, and you can make alterations and corrections as the mobile web continues to mature. You could say that for now it makes perfect since that your mobile website should be a much simpler and scaled down version of your current website.
Your mobile site should eliminate slow loading graphics and have much less content, even to the point of being minimalistic. Find ways to simplify your overall design, the amount of content, and then pare things down to just a few essential pages. Focus your content on targeting mobile web visitors.
This is not a technical article, but suffice to say that you need to be aware that the mobile web uses a different type of computer code to be efficient, and you will need to make sure that your site is using a “valid markup” language for mobile sites. In fact, if you have a dot mobi domain name, this is supposed to be one of the original requirements to use that TLD. Mobile browsers for now are not very accommodating for bad computer coding. Make sure your mobile website is mobile-friendly. This means your site will be viewable on a wide range of cell phones and mobile devices and not just smart phones. You can validate your code by using a free online service like W3C Mobile OK Checker.
Screen size and resolution is another challenge. Typical screen resolution for top of the line mobile phones range from 400×240 to 960×640, and load speeds are dependent on the available bandwidth. This means that there are many added variables for displays and viewing. Add to this the fact that mobile devices have to connect using a wireless network and while on the move, and you begin to see other reasons why a mobile website needs to play by a completely different set of rules than a traditional website.
In conclusion, your mobile website needs to be more light-weight, because the mobile web is a much lighter version of the traditional web. The mobile web does not provide for the same stable high-speed connection that a hard-wired Internet pipeline provides. A separate mobile site is better suited, because the mobile web is designed for smaller screens, fewer graphics, fewer pages, and much simpler information. Your mobile message should be focused for a mobile audience. There are going to be challenges to creating your first mobile website, and there are many unresolved technical issues when it comes to the mobile web. However, there is no reason that you should not jump into the next generation of mobile and wireless computing.