Update: May 30, 2012. Since this post was originally written, I’ve completely redesigned this site to a Responsive Design. Responsive is a new design method that dynamically resizes the webpage to adapt to the device it’s being viewed on. This is something that must be created by a web professional, so for a quick and simple solution, I still recommend WP Touch.
A couple of weeks ago, I was listening to a webinar featuring Chris Brogan. Among other hot topics in business marketing, he spoke about the importance of making your website mobile. Not only did he talk about the importance of making it mobile, but he talked about the importance of making it mobile NOW. This has been something I’ve been putting off with my own sites for a while. Somehow he managed to light a fire underneath my feet and so I did. It was simple for me, because I use WordPress. If Chris Brogan says, Jump! Well, then I guess…
Mobile device usage is most definitely on the rise, especially with the increasing popularity of tablet devices like the iPad. Do you really want to miss out on potential customers because they can’t read your site on their device? Prior to now, there was something about my site that made it extremely difficult for visitors to see the text on one part of their screen. I was surprised at the number of emails I would get from people saying they couldn’t see it. I’m watching the mobile statistics on Google Analytics rise from month to month. It’s astounding!
Making your site mobile sounds very technical and scary, but really it isn’t. It’s like taking a billboard on the highway and shrinking it to fit on a sheet of printer paper – the billboard is your website on a desktop screen, the printer paper is your website on a mobile device. Are you going to be able to read the billboard very well? Nope.
Making your site mobile requires formatting an additional copy of everything to fit a different aspect ratio (usually something more vertical in layout) and increasing the text size. Then, when someone is visiting from a mobile device, your site detects that device and displays the mobile version instead. That’s all it really is. You can get fancy and add other features, but for most small businesses, that’s all that needs to be done to the site.
Have your web developer create a mobile-friendly version of your site and like Chris Brogan told me, do it NOW! There’s no time to waste when mobile usage isn’t diminishing any time soon. And if Chris Brogan isn’t enough push for you, maybe this will be. I recently read some crazy statistics from Cisco that stated:
- Global mobile data traffic will increase 26-fold by 2015. Imagine all of the mobile traffic that exists today and multiply it by 26. Yowzers!
- The presence of mobile devices will be 1 per capita by 2015. So, literally EVERYONE and their grandmas will have a mobile device.
- The number of people that use a mobile device as their ONLY means of accessing the internet will grow 56-fold. That’s huge!
And, for those of you who have a WordPress site, you’re smart and lucky! There are plugins that create instant mobile versions of your site. A great paid one is: WPTouch (affiliate link), and there’s a lot of free ones also.
I would be omitting information if I didn’t say that when I go to a WP site that is using one of these plugins, I immediately recognize it and I’m very bored of the design of these sites. However, with a mobile version, there’s not a whole lot of room for design genius. BUT, I do think that you should consider customizing the mobile theme to add some of your own branding and make the design your own.
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