A couple of things came up this week that have made me reevaluate my web site design and start reconsidering how I present my business. One was a cover article from The Economist “Planet of the phones” and the other was some news about how Google is tweaking its algorithm.
article set the stage for my reconsideration. Some of the statistics are hard to wrap your head around. While there are roughly 2 billion people around the world using smartphones
today, the projection is that by the end of the decade (five short years….) that will more than double to just over 4 billion
. Those numbers of devices in hands, plus the improved infrastructure for connectivity (the mobile industry pumped around $1.8 trillion USD into this between 2009 and 2013) means that download speeds have increased, data rates have dropped and the number of things that you can do with that pocket computer have sky-rocketed. The utility of this pocket PC is undeniable.
I remember the quote by Chase Jarvis
, “The best camera is the one that’s with you.”
The same now holds for personal computing. Not only does this change our relationships with others and the ways that we communicate, but it changes how we engage and interact with businesses and services. Fewer smartphone users get information via a web browser and a ‘standard’ web site…that is, one that isn’t optimized for mobile. Some companies opt for creating and launching an app for dedicated use and information, many companies invest in thorough optimization of their web site
for mobile (ensuring the customer experience is high on different phones and tablets…), and many others remain in the world where a tiny visual of their ‘standard’ site (with nearly impossible navigation…) is displayed. So which of these do you think has the greater customer experience?
While the market opportunity should be enough for any business to consider its mobile strategy, the news from Google makes this even more attractive. They announced that they will make it easier to find mobile-friendly sites by making them appear higher on search results. This significantly impacts search results. Fortunately, Google has provided some help
to assess how mobile-friendly your site is already, and then some suggestions based on your situation, whether your site is on, for example, WordPress,
was developed by someone else, or you did it yourself. The start page
for this assessment kicks off with a quick check of your site by Google. Just enter in the URL
of your site and they analyze it. If it passes, you’re good. If not, it lets you know what is wrong and some next steps to improve the mobile experience.
If you are like me, you may start off feeling that the additional expense of having a mobile-friendly site doesn’t work for your business. You’re convinced that your visitors and audience nearly always find you and engage with you from the relative comfort of their laptop or desktop PCs
. There is still a sizable audience there, but you cannot ignore the fact that more and more people search away from their desks. Our population is incredibly mobile. The easy accessibility of information is a boon to everyone, and provides a challenge to businesses beyond a simple mobile-friendly strategy of ensuring your site is attractive on any mobile device. How easy is it to find the kind of information on your new mobile site
that will entice visitors to call and recommend you? These are further things for you to consider.
I know I’m going to be setting up a call with my web designer this week, as well as conferring with some colleagues on their experiences. I want to be found where my audience is searching for me, and chances are it’s on their phone.