Selling on the move
As you are probably already aware, mobile usage of the internet has rapidly increased over the years.
"approx 35 million people have a smartphone in the UK."
"In 2017, figures suggest that more than 90 percent of internet users will access online content through their phones."
Are you missing out?
This depends on the market you are looking to attract with your website. Business to Business (B2B) websites often have far fewer mobile visitors than Business to Consumer (B2C) websites and some B2C sites, depending on content, have far greater numbers of mobile visitors - think Estate Agents who, as you would expect, have a high number of mobile visitors.
At Hughes Media we usually recommend that a business looks at upgrading a website to be "mobile friendly" when visits by mobile users exceed 15 - 20% of total visits. We have seen that websites that cater well to mobile visitors retain visitors for longer, and show more pages of information per visit. In the case of e-commerce sites, conversion from browsers to buyers increases when a site works well on mobile devices.
What are the choices?
There are two different approaches to making a mobile version of a website; a dedicated mobile site OR a responsive website design.
In both cases the mobile version of the website draws information from the main website which means that you do not need to make updates to two different sites. A viewer's web browser is automatically detected by the website and the pages re-flow accordingly so that visitors get the best user experience.
Option One - Dedicated Mobile Site
This involves the development of a set of mobile specific templates to mirror the main website. In effect it is a "new" version of the main website. The advantages of this approach are:
- Closer control of the layout of the mobile pages of the website.
- Page load times are quicker e.g. images are resized to fit small screen devices and load more quickly.
- Mobile users can be guided more carefully. E.g. A key aim of mobile visitors to online shops is order tracking. A dedicated site can make an order tracking button a high priority within the design.
A link to the main, desktop version of the website is typically offered to mobile visitors so the choice is theirs to make.
Here are some examples of dedicated mobile sites so you can see for yourself how this could work:
Option Two - Responsive Website Design
This involves re-working all of the page layout templates in a website to resize, or re-flow gracefully when the screen width becomes smaller. This is usually specified at the beginning of a new build project but is also applied as a retrofit upgrade.
Here are some more examples of how this approach works and looks:
You often need to make the width of the web browser on a desktop computer narrower to see the effect of responsive design. Better still, view the sites on a mobile phone!
Which should I choose?
There is no hard and fast rule, but in our experience dedicated mobile sites are more successful when used in an e-commerce environment as page load times are quicker and information relevant to mobile users is made more prominent. Responsive websites tend to work well for smaller, information based sites that often require an element of human interaction e.g. Call us.