By: Bayshore Solutions’ Project Management Team There’s quite a bit of chatter around the world of web about which route to take when it comes to making your website accessible on mobile devices. And by all means you should be making your site more mobile friendly. In Q1 of 2013, more than 20% of web traffic came from a mobile device, and is expected to take over desktop usage in just 3 years. When looking at analytics with mobile traffic included, Safari tends to be the number 2 browser. What does this data mean exactly? It means mobile traffic is happening in a number so large that it’s edging out browsers like Firefox and Chrome as the most used in site traffic. That’s huge! What should you ask yourself to decide how you should dive into the mobile space? Should you create an app, or create a site optimized for mobile? There are several questions to ask yourself that may shed some light on your mobile journey:

  • What are your goals for your mobile website? Is it a better mobile experience? Creating a mobile site can help increase ease of use for users coming to your site from a smart phone or tablet. Mobile sites are simple and remove complexities that are better suited for the desktop version. Condensing your navigation allows for easier tabbing between pages. Reducing the content on your site can help increase load speed. Those flashing banners you have and the ticker with your recent Tweets – nix them for the mobile product.

If your goal is to engage your visitors in the mobile space, an mobile app may be your method of choice. In a study done in April 2013, 80% of the time spent on a mobile device was through the use of an app. Gamification makes up most of that statistic, so if it’s part of your user experience strategy, an app is your best choice.

      • Are you an ecommerce site? If so, creating a plan for mobile optimization may be even more important for you than a typical brochure site. The rate of users shopping via mobile device was up 40% from 2011- 2012 with a 190% increase in mobile payment volume and a 166% increase in the number of people shopping on a mobile device. Have I got your attention yet? Apps by nature are meant to condense information and offerings, so creating a mobile optimized website may be best to market products to your consumers on the go. Potential customers may get frustrated if they can’t access all of your offerings through an app, and before you know it, you’ve lost a conversion. Creating a mobile site could allow for the same choices a customer would get if they were visiting on their desktop.

 

      • Does your website foster a community? Do users create accounts to access information or retain a history (orders, conversations, points, etc)? If so, an app may be a good choice. Apps offer convenience in accessing information and personalization for the user. Social networking is also made easy through an app, as it can be customized to the user experience and provide quick access to a user’s world.

 

      • What’s your marketing plan? If SEO is one of the key factors for your digital marketing plan, you may want to consider a mobile site. Mobile sites can be indexed, which means search engines such as Google can crawl them just as they do a desktop site. Being found in searches is never a bad thing, and a mobile site may help give you a little oomph in the rankings.

 

      • Who is your audience? Although you probably have a good idea of the people that frequent your site, knowing your audiences behavior on mobile devices is key. If you audience tends to be the baby-boomer set, having a native app that requires a download through an App Store may be discouraging. If your frequent visitors are in the 18-34 range, downloading an app may be second nature.

 

      • What’s your budget? The truth of the matter is that native apps aren’t cheap. The cost to design, develop, and then maintain the app is leaps and bounds more expensive than optimizing your website for mobile use. With development options like responsive design, a great user experience can be obtained through mobile design. However, after evaluating your goals, you might find that building the app may return the most ROI. Your best bet is to evaluate your goals, ask the right questions, and then put your user’s experience as the top priority. Without engaged users, either choice can be a poor one, so make sure you’re being honest about what you can do and what you should do.

Navigating this migrating landscape is a difficult and tricky task to take on but Bayshore Solutions can help! Knowing the importance of a solid mobile strategy is the first step. The popularity of mobile traffic isn’t going away anytime soon and it’s imperative to run with the pack now so you don’t get left behind.  Contact the experts at Bayshore Solutions to discover which mobile strategy is right for you.   Sources: http://www.getelastic.com/mobile-changing-ecommerce http://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_stats.asp http://www.hswsolutions.com/services/mobile-web-development/mobile-website-vs-apps

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