Mobile Version of Your Small Local Business Website? Yes or No?

by Joanne Steele on June 20, 2012

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With Apple bumping Google Maps off their smartphones and shipping with their own maps function in the near future, and Google integrating Google Places and Google+ Business Pages the tech world is buzzing.

How do changes at Apple and Google affect small local businesses like yours?

mobile version of RTMG

What does your website look like on a smartphone?

Here’s my take:

1.These giants are responding to the huge shift in the way people access information – away from their home computers and toward their smartphones so take note.

Yes, you need to pay attention to mobile technology just like the big players. Every small local business owner needs to be aware that your customers are looking for you on their smartphones.

But…

2. No, you don’t need to create a special mobile version of your website to respond to this and here’s why:

Mobile technology is definitely taking over the search world with more and more people accessing information and doing local searches on their smartphones

But the technology isn’t yet keeping up with the demand for mobile friendly options.

Google (you always need to pay attention to what Google wants and needs) says that they prefer mobile friendly versions that have the same URL but serve up info that suits the screen size. There are hundreds of blog posts written by experts trying to figure out what all this means!

This is clearly a technological transition period. It is a time when nobody is clearly in the know about what to do! A time when you can get talked into doing unnecessary, costly websites adjustments.

Those adjustments and rebuilds to supposedly make your website more mobile friendly can require incredibly expensive programming feats to accomplish, if you try to turn a fancy website with lots of moving parts and advanced programming into a mobile site. It isn’t easy.

But there is good advice for small local businesses like yours, and it’s cheap.

One of the major contributors to the DIY Themes forum suggests a solution you’re going to love. Go simple.

In the olden days – 5 or10 years ago – we all had to watch loading speeds of our website because so many people had 28.8 modems and slow browsers.

It was another time of great change. Technology offered us a huge menu of bells and whistles to integrate into our websites, and if we were smart, we ignored most of them because they slowed our website down too much.

We’re back to the future. If you stick with a simple, elegant, well-designed, spacious WordPress website with a high quality premium theme – I recommend Thesis from DIY Themes – you don’t need a special mobile version.

You don’t need all that flashy technology anyway. Your website has a clear and simple purpose:  To connect with your Perfect Customer building the relationship and providing the information that leads to sales.

A simple WordPress website is an interim solution to the mobile problem. There will be a mobile technology change sometime in the near future that will allow you to satisfy Google, use some of those fancy bells and whistles you’re enthralled by and NOT spend a bucket of money making it mobile friendly. (…or maybe you’ll still decide it’s best to stay simple)

For now, take the simple and doable step – a clean, simple, elegant WordPress site with a premium theme (Thesis) with no unnecessary bells and whistles.

And, you can do it yourself! Check out Take Control of Your Internet Marketing.

Use this simple tool to get an idea of what your website looks like on a smartphone. Note: This gives a general idea – different types of phones might show something different.

 

1 Will June 21, 2012 at 6:55 am

I think having a mobile site or one that has responsive web design built in, much like what major Wordpress theme providers like WooTheme or StudioPress offer are becoming the norm.

You can’t ignore mobile optimized websites because with everyone including their grandmother owning an iPhone nowadays, you want to provide an optimal user experience for them to stick around and perhaps check out what you have to offer.

2 Joanne Steele June 21, 2012 at 11:06 am

I agree, Will, that a website needs to look good on a mobile phone and most clunky old static websites as well as fancy new flash driven websites don’t. Major WordPress themes provide access to mobile optimized child themes, but as I said, the technology is lagging behind the demand right now – all StudioPress and WooTheme themes are NOT mobile optimized.

For the average small local business owner this whole issue is just one more thing to suck up precious time, and for the near future, a simple, clean, well optimized WordPress website with NO bells and whistles looks great on mobile phones and will get the job done. Checking a site out using the link in the post is a good place to start. If your site looks funky it will probably cost less to shift to a simple wordpress site than to pay someone to optimize a complex site for mobile.

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