Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Gene Marks: Mobile Website and Search

A guest post by Gene Marks

Here's an interesting fact:  there are more than 400 million mobile users in the United States today.   Actually, what makes this fact so interesting is that there are only 330 million people in the entire country.  But I know I saw this somewhere on the internet.  So just work with me on this for a while, OK?  This point is that there are a lot of mobile users.  No one can deny that.

And do you know what these mobile users are doing on their mobile devices?  Yes, texting and emailing and wasting time.  No one can deny that either.  But most of all, we are searching.  Searching for a great sushi place in San Antonio (yeah, keep searching), a movie time, a news article, another photo of Miley Cyrus twerking.  Or maybe…just maybe…we're doing something more productive.  Like searching for products and services and other stuff we want to buy.  Maybe we're searching for…you.  And your company.  So will we find you?

Not if you don't have a mobile optimized website.  Do you have a mobile optimized website?

That's because the search application (which is most likely Google) on your iPad or Samsung or Nexus is using a different search algorithm than if the user was doing the same on a desktop computer.  It's actually looking for mobile optimized websites.  So let me ask you again – do you have a mobile optimized website? You better.  Soon.  Now.  What happens if you don't?

Then your customer, or prospective customer looking for you doesn't find you.  Or instead, they find your competitor first because they're ranking higher on the search results from Google and that's because they've got a mobile optimized website.  Or maybe your customer has stumbled on your site, or clicked on a link from an email marketing message he's reading on his iPhone, and what does he find?  A site that renders terribly, forcing him to scroll and enlarge and hunt and peck and squint and ultimately get annoyed enough to go to someone else's site because it's easier to navigate.  This is why you need a mobile optimized website.  Soon.  Now.

Having a good mobile website is also essential if you plan on doing online marketing campaigns.  You might decide to use Adwords or banner ads somewhere.  You may decide to list your company on sites like Yahoo, Google Places or even Mapquest.  Perhaps you want to get involved with daily sites like Groupon or Living Social.  Or you want customers to check in through Foursquare or leave reviews on Yelp.  People are doing this stuff from their smartphones and tablets, all the time.  And if you want these visitors to ultimate get bounced back to your website you'll need that site to be ready.

Making your website mobile optimized isn't that tough actually.  You could go to your Internet Service Provider, the people that host your website, and ask them.  Many of these providers have services that will convert your site into a mobile site.  You could go to online companies that provide this service independently like DudaMobile – they're relatively inexpensive.  Just make sure to have them host your site using your domain so you're getting the web traffic and not them.  Or you can learn more at Google's HowToGoMo site.  You don't need to mobilize your entire website.  Instead, just choose some of the key pages you want to make mobile, like your homepage or “About Us” or “Contact Us” page.  It won't take long.

It's a mobile world.  And whether it's 400 million, 330 million or even 10 million people doing searches on their mobile device there's no argument that it's a lot.  And it will continue to grow.  Put this on your task list.  Make your website mobile optimized.  Soon.  Now.