Is your business mobile?

A glance over the website analytics of New Mexico Tech for the past two years demonstrates a growing internet trend: more and more people are viewing websites with their mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.). In 2011 over 4% of our web traffic (representing over 30,000 visits) came from mobile devices. This is in comparison to 2010, when only 1.5% of visits were mobile.

We aren’t alone in this trend, either. According to a study by Cisco Systems the growth rate of mobile internet devices was 159% in 2010 and 149% in 2009. The stats aren’t in yet for 2011, but if NMT’s analytics are any indication the growth rate will prove to be much higher.

Forecasts of the future are even more striking. According to a study by Morgan Stanley, mobile devices will overtake the PC for internet viewing by 2015. In other words, 3 out of every 5 people will view a business’ website on their smart phone, tablet or other mobile device instead of their desktop computer.

What’s more, the study projects mobile e-commerce will overtake desktop-based e-commerce before 2015. In certain markets—like media downloads (e-books, video, music and games)—this may well happen in 2012 or 2013.

The upshot of this is that your web presence needs to serve mobile web traffic. Mobile sites must be faster to download, they must be simple with few graphics and easily read on the small screens of mobile devices (the screen of the iPad is only about 9 X 7” after all).

Remember that you only have a brief instance—within 1-2 seconds—to grab the attention of an internet user and draw them into your site. If in that instant they judge your site as taking too long to download, too complicated to use, or not what they were looking for, they will quickly vanish into the virtual netherworld, shopping at a competitor’s website instead.

So my question for the small business owners of Las Cruces is this: how mobile is your web presence? Are you prepared for this trend?

If not, you need to be. Your website will soon grow very, very outdated unless you can compensate for the coming swell of mobile-based internet traffic. Here are some aspects to consider when planning your mobile presence on the web:

Speed is the key! Design a mobile site to be quickly downloaded by making images and graphics linked options instead of part of the design.

Touch-screen interfaced require big links. Make sure that links on your site are easy to see and click. Even better, make menu items large buttons instead of simply linked words.

Make the mobile site fully functional. In other words, ensure that your mobile site has every function and piece of information—or at least the option to access it—that your standard site does.

Give people the option. While most mobile web surfers are viewing via their wireless carrier’s service, some are viewing via wireless internet networks with faster speeds, so give them the option to view your standard website as well.

Cut down on the clutter—even more. I’m a proponent of minimalism on the web—the less the better on most websites. But mobile sites must be bare-bones and provide only the most necessary and basic information (while still providing ways to get to the detailed stuff if the user wants it).

The growing trend of mobile web traffic is a good sign for businesses that have already positioned themselves online—users will be ready to virtually shop anytime and anywhere. Web traffic will most certainly increase, and with it the opportunity to grow and increase revenue.

Word One Consulting
575-496-6807
clint @ wordoneconsulting.com
2263 S. Main
Las Cruces, NM 88005