4 Free Ways To Maximize The Mobile-Friendliness Of Your Business
With the exponential adoption of mobile devices such as smart phones and tablets, consumers now have the ability to conduct transactions anywhere, anytime. Not only does the mobile channel create new revenue opportunities for e-business, it is also critical to maintaining a competitive advantage...especially for local businesses.
Local Business Owners, Take Note
Mobile is very important for local businesses. When your customers are out and about, they could be looking for the closest business of your type, from gas stations and restaurants to legal or medical help. In fact, 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information on their phones. In vertical markets like consumer electronics, financial services and insurance, more than 15% of searches come from mobile devices. For restaurants that number is closer to 30%!
Rumor has it, Charlottesville has more restaurants per capita than even New York City. If you want to stand out among the crowd, make your ordering process more mobile-friendly. If you really want to be a favorite among UVA students, offer group deals or late night specials...just make sure your food is at their fingertips.
How These Tools Work
These tools work by detecting the ‘user agent’ of your site visitors. Simply put, these tools work by determining whether a visitor is using a regular web browser (on a computer) or a mobile web browser (on a cellphone/smartphone). If a tool detects the ‘user agent’ to be a mobile browser, users are redirected to your website’s mobile version automatically, giving all of your site visitors an optimal experience. Whether or not their first visit generates revenue, this positive experience will resonate with them and encourage them to return to your business in the future.
Mobify allows you to create a mobile version of your website through an intuitive and user-friendly graphical user interface (GUI). Setup is short and sweet, and you can have your very own mobile site in minutes. If you run an e-commerce store, Mobify has the Mobile Commerce platform that’s geared specifically toward e-stores for the mobile web.
Mobify is very generous in terms of free features and users even have the option to customize their mobile domain at zero-cost (such as m.yourwebsite.com). While most of Mobify’s services are offered at zero-cost, users can choose to upgrade to a premium account for $249 per month, in order to access features such as the removal of the Mobify logo on their mobile site as well as mobile analytics for reporting statistics on site traffic.
Companies such as Ford, Nokia and Reebok use Wirenode, a mobile website generator that has helped more than 50,000 websites create mobile-friendly versions of their sites.
Wirenode’s zero-cost plan has a user-friendly editor for designing your mobile site, free hosting for up to three mobile sites, website statistics reporting, and more.
Onbile promises that you can have a mobile version of your site in five minutes or less. It delivers this promise by giving you an intuitive user interface for constructing your mobile site and a custom-generated script to paste into your index page so that when mobile device users visit your site, they are redirected to the mobile version.
What is the unique value Onbile offers to small business owners? It provides 13 customizable templates as a starting point for your mobile site development, and yet again, you can get this all for free.
iWebKit is a simple framework for creating your own iPhone/iPod touch apps. It can be used to create an app like Mashable‘s iPhone app, for example.
Though iWebKit can be used by anyone, even without knowledge of HTML, it isn’t as user-friendly as the other tools mentioned above and requires that you download and install the app as well as read the user manual. But for a small time investment (no cash needed, the iWebKit framework is free), you can have your very own iPhone app just like the industry leaders.
Take It For A Test Spin
As with any project, you’ll need to test your mobile website on as many devices as possible. Without owning all these devices, it can be somewhat tricky to find ways to accurately test for each. This article provides a thorough breakdown of how to test a mobile website across the most popular platforms.
In order to be customer-friendly, your business needs to be mobile-friendly. Target audiences and key stakeholders are engaging more and more with businesses through their mobile devices instead of their computers. As the worldwide shift to mobile continues, handheld device support, compatibility, and optimization will become increasingly important in terms of business growth and customer loyalty.
How mobile-friendly is your local business?