Ten years ago, the mobile web was more sidebar than platform. You didn’t have to worry about tailoring your website for anything outside of desktops because the PDAs of the era were inadequately featured affairs. They were little more than electronic rolodexes.
But now, fast track to the year 2015. Every time someone picks up an iPhone or an Android device, they’re picking up a computer that is much more powerful than the ones which launched the Apollo moon landings. Today’s modern phones have become veritable platforms in their own right, and it is critical that small business owners learn to exploit the booming mobile market.
People Access the Web Differently
Much like how the last generation was defined by big hair, grease, and disco music, today’s generation can’t imagine a world without iPhones and ultra-fast internet speeds.
The average digital native now spends so much time on his or her phone that mobile devices have become the dominant way to access the web. A 2009 study between comSCORE and Morgan Stanley predicted that mobile would come to overtake desktop browsing in 2015. But a 2014 update by comSCORE proved that not only did this hold true, a staggering 60% of all web traffic in the US came via mobile devices in that year. This number is expected to jump even higher as more and more people turn away from the rigidity of desktop computers.
This should not come as a surprise. Whether it’s to check Facebook, read the news, or catch up on work emails, millennials and other digital natives have come to expect the quick connectivity that a sleek modern smartphone provides. And more and more big firms are willing to smoothen the process.
Mobile is the Future
So what does this mean for the average small-to-medium online business owner? A lot, as it turns out. The days of designing websites the old way are over, and mobile is the future. Unfortunately, many businesses are overlooking this critical fact and leaving their websites unoptimized. You may have seen this with videos that work perfectly on a desktop but fail to load on your phone, or texts that refuse to scale properly, forcing viewers to tap repeatedly at their screen.
To a customer, browsing a non-optimized site is the equivalent of browsing a grocery store before the aisles have been stocked. The goods may be in inventory, but they might as well not be there.
Even Google is getting in the game. Their new search algorithm “devalues” websites that fail to properly implement “best practices” for mobile-optimized browsing. And if there is one thing any modern business owner knows, you simply can’t remain competitive if you can’t reach your clientele. And the way to reach them in a crowded internet marketplace is to build for them.
Whether it’s a custom layout or a battle-tested theme, business owners expect clean, versatile websites that adapt swiftly to a viewer’s device, regardless of what they’re browsing on. It’s vital to keep your website tested against new resolutions as mobile devices evolve with time.