Is your website mobile friendly?

An astounding 38 percent of mobile phone owners now have access to the Internet on their devices, according to a study by the Pew Institute. This number is up 13 percent from 2009!

The next time you take a bus, a train, or sit in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, take a look around and count how many thumbs are busy, tapping away on smart phones. Chances are those people aren’t updating their phone’s calendars or even sending text messages to friends; they are probably surfing the Web.

With each successive year since Apple debuted its iPhone, smart phones have gotten smarter, and the Web has found quite the comfy home on these devices. Despite the growing use of the Web on mobile phones, these devices still need to fit in pockets.

What I mean is that many websites are difficult to navigate and read on small screens, which is why savvy webmasters offer mobile-optimized versions of the sites. And with an ever-growing market of smart phone users, now is the time to consider making your website accessible to mobile users, and here are some of the reasons.

Easy Access to Information
As Web access on mobile phones becomes quicker, users are finding it useful for more than just checking Facebook or Twitter. Let’s say you find yourself at the supermarket, shopping for ingredients for Crepes Suzette, but you forgot your shopping list at home. With mobile Internet access, this is no problem! A quick Google search for “Crepes Suzette Recipe” yields nearly 20,000 results.

We can see similar habits developing in other areas of the Web as well, including comparison shopping and quick explanations to questions or problems. Optimizing your website for mobile users will make your information that much easier for them to access and encourage them to hang around on your website longer.

More Traffic than Mobile Applications
Mobile applications can be a powerful way to give users the ability to interact with your brand in ways they can’t on a website, but before spending money to develop an application, make sure your website is mobile-optimized. Applications need to be developed for particular devices and platforms, whereas a mobile-optimized website can be accessed universally.

If you have a great idea for an application you want to develop, go for it—but remember—your application should complement your users mobile Web experience, so make sure your mobile site is ready first.

Part of Your Integrated Strategy
As I say often on this blog, one of the most important aspects your online marketing strategy is diversification. The more ways you can reach Web users, the better, and adding a mobile site is another, quickly growing, aspect of the modern online experience.

Mobile phones are no doubt going to be a huge player in the way we shape the Web in the coming years, and now is the time to hop on the bandwagon in order to maintain an edge online.
Do some research to see how people are reaching your website. If you notice a growing demand of mobile devices accessing your website, then it’s time to start thinking about investing in a mobile friendly website. It’s not for everyone, but it could be important for your organization.