Web Pages For Mobile Devices

By: Mel Joelle

The Truth and the Rumors About Mobile Web Usage

You will see a lot of statistics and figures out there about mobile web usage. Mobile marketing companies are infamous for cherry-picking statistics about the popularity of mobile web usage; many claiming that half of all internet users are accessing it with a mobile handheld device.

According to both ComScore and Forrester Research, the latest estimate of US mobile subscribers who access the mobile web is more like 22%. Of that 22%, only 25% are mobile-only web users. Cherry-picking various figures in order to mislead consumers is not only unethical, its harmful to businesses and even advertisers who fall into the hype, and over-spend on mobile web campaigns, when the current usage and audience of the mobile web fails to be what they expect.

However – the mobile web is by far the most rapidly developing source of digital communication. Market research sources widely agree that in the next 3 years, mobile web usage will overtake traditional PC access. It goes far beyond that, however. Both ComScore and Forrester also showed that the majority of US mobile consumers (73%) conducted local info searches, including various retailers, restaurants, and consumer services. B2B mobile users focus on financial and news/information sources. There is unending research data that makes the importance of a mobile website undeniable.

Why Do I Need a Mobile Website?

The two biggest differences between a desktop website and a mobile website is size and bandwidth. The user experience on a web page that is not optimized for mobile access is unpleasant, cumbersome and sometimes just unusable. Because of the difference in screen size, a desktop website displayed on a mobile device screen – no matter how large the mobile screen – requires tedious amounts of scrolling. A lot of site functionality can also be lost.

Bandwidth is severely reduced on a mobile device, even on 4G networks. If a website is not optimized for mobile browsing, the site will take forever to download on a mobile device – longer than it would on even a lot of dial-up connections. Many less sophisticated mobile devices are altogether unable to download certain types of desktop sites with a lot of heavy graphics. Creating a mobile-optimized website is a little bit of a retrograded project. Mobile websites are simplified, streamlined, and greatly decreased in size and bandwidth.

There are many free tools available to help you design a mobile website. Google’s mobile website creator tool is simple, free and fast. It does not create incredibly unique or customizable mobile sites, but it does offer an extremely quick, convenient and easy way to publish a mobile website, with an m.example or example.com/mobile domain and URL.

While a fast, easy and free mobile website tool is obviously very appealing, especially for small businesses, registering a paid domain name for a .mobi URL should be seriously considered. As the next few years of web usage continue to gravitate to the mobile web, dotmobi websites will become more and more valuable. Content development is much easier with dotmobi sites, because they deliver content and layout exactly as expected, without transcoding interference or sizing problems. mDot and /mobile domain sites will likely rather quickly become outdated, as mobile web usage becomes mainstream, and mobile-only sites will be entirely preferred by mobile web users because they provide a much better user experience.

Most importantly, websites with a .mobi domain perform far better on mobile search engines, than other mobile website domain options. Dotmobi sites have their own zone, and because dotmobi sites are mobile-only, mobile browsers prioritize them in search results. A mobile search engine ranks dotmobi sites ahead of mDot or /mobile sites, even if regular PC search results rank them the other way around. For reassurance that your business website is mobile web and mobile search optimized, a registered .mobi domain is a good start, but should be followed by professional web marketing services to help your mobile web visibility, brand reputation, consumer reach, and ultimately, maximized conversion potential.

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