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November 8, 2012

Your Business: It’s Not a Pretty Site

Have you taken a look at how your business’ website looks on a mobile phone? It’s likely not a pretty site.

A Mobile Website Means More Sales for Small Local Businesses

I know you’re busy. All small businesspersons are busy. We don’t have assistants and we don’t have enough staff. And, we wear a lot of hats.

So, your website for your business is probably one of those things you just don’t pay as much attention to as you’d like. In fact, you probably just got your website to where it needs to be and now some guy is telling you that you need a second website – a mobile website.

Why Your Business Needs a Mobile Website

Seventeen percent of all web searches done today are conducted on the mobile phone and, for some categories such as restaurants, over 30 percent search by mobile. That’s not surprising given that twice as many Americans went online via their mobiles in 2012 versus just the year before.

Take a look at how your website looks on the small screen of your Smartphone or even your feature phone. It’s likely not a pretty site (get it)? It’s tough to navigate and it’s hard on the eyes. How can they even see that microscopic type on your informative, yet very busy, home page.

More than 40 percent of local searches today are conducted on mobile phone while on the go. Yet, only seven percent of small business websites are optimized for the smaller screen of the mobile phone. Imagine how your company could stand out with a mobile-optimized website.

Want to know how many people are looking at your website through a mobile phone? It’s easy if you have Google Analytics incorporated into your website. Take a look and remember that no matter what the number is, it’s likely to grow rapidly. By 2016, half of all websites will be accessed from the mobile phone.

Smaller Can Be Better

A mobile website, or “microsite” as we like to call them, takes the most important information from your desktop website and makes it available for mobile viewing. The content needs to be adapted to the smaller screen and the slower Internet connection.

Navigation needs to be easier too since fat fingering a busy site is going to be commonplace. I like to use the “thumb test.” Try navigating a website using the largest of your fingers; if you can’t do it easily, then that’s exactly how it’s going to be for a large person or an older person with declining eye sight.

Moreover, the potential customer visiting your site probably does not have the same conveniences that he has while sitting at his office or in his home. He’s likely to be walking down the street or riding in a car.

That means you need to create a website with fewer graphics, less text and easier navigation buttons. You also need to incorporate features native to mobile phones such as convenient click-to-call buttons or TextChat features.

As for the navigation on the home page, we like to keep it to six or less buttons. Keeping it to this amount should satisfy the thumb test.

Remember, too, however, there are now tablets in play and tablet owners are able to do more things given the larger screen of the iPad or similar tablet. That means your home page of the mobile website should enable to visitor to click back to the desktop website as well if he so chooses.

So, How Do I Get One?

You can contact your website designer and perhaps he can make a mobile website for you as well. If he hasn’t done one before, however, it may not be that easy.

Creating a desktop website and a mobile website is kind of like playing chess and checkers. While chess may be the harder game to understand, being a top player in checkers may be even more difficult.

A mobile website is really just one part of an overall strategy to satisfy your mobile customers and prospects. So, a fully integrated mobile marketing plan probably makes sense. Such a plan may incorporate all or some of these elements:

· Mobile website

· Text message marketing

· Custom QR Codes

· TextChat

· Apps

An agency that specializes in all of the elements of mobile marketing may be just what you need to increase your sales to your on-the-go customers.

Expect to invest at least $1,500 for a decent mobile website – a small price to pay for driving more customers to your local business.

Bob Bentz is president of Advanced Telecom Services that has been providing interactive telephone solutions since 1989. Due to his obsession with mobile websites, he has been forced to purchase an unlimited data plan.