If you haven’t purchased movie tickets or made dinner reservations on the fly yet, it probably won’t be long. Mobile websites bring the convenience of a home or office computer with you wherever you go; all you need is a phone with an Internet connection and you’re on your way.
If you’re a business owner who wants to give customers the convenience of mobile access, you’ll need a bit of help. Helena Lozano, Chief Editor at Onbile, explains how mobile websites work and what business owners need to get started.
How do mobile websites differ from any other website?
Mobile websites are optimized to be viewed from mobile devices — that is, devices that have smaller screens, slower internet connections, and with which users interact with their fingers. So content of mobile websites needs to be adapted: single-column layouts are encouraged, keep your content to a minimum, and present it in a logical way (most important first), making sure you design for touchscreen and minimize text input. Also, many mobile devices don’t support Flash, so mobile websites that run on Flash won’t be displayed on them.
Why should merchants consider developing a mobile website?
According to a study carried out by Google, mobile searches have grown by 400% since 2010, and users expect their mobile experience to be as good as their desktop experience. This means that a bad mobile experience can result in users not returning to your website. Also, 95% of smartphone users have looked for local information on their phones, and they expect results to be optimized for mobile.
Can you give a few examples of the most important features to include?
- Single-column layouts, because it is difficult to scroll sideways on mobile devices;
- Less text than you would include on a desktop website;
- Finger-friendly buttons, making sure to include click-to-call buttons (remember that users accessing a mobile website do so from a phone, so it may be a good idea to let them call your business directly with just one click);
- And resized images to fit smaller screen resolutions.
What about design? Can a mobile website have the same look and feel as the primary website?
Of course it can! You can use the same images, colors and typography of your desktop website on your mobile website, so that both have the same look and feel.
Which hosting options do business owners have?
Hosting is included when you create a mobile website with Onbile, so you don’t need to worry about that.
Are there any measures that increase consumer comfort level with merchant account credit card processing on a mobile site?
Security measures when buying from a mobile site should be the same that one would take when buying online from a desktop site. Using an authorized, reliable payments gateway guarantees that consumers’ data is protected.
Website templates are everywhere, but mobile sites are different. How does a business create a mobile site that looks professional?
There are different options to create a mobile website. Assuming that you don’t have the technical knowledge required to build one yourself, you could hire a developer and a designer to do it for you, but that is usually time-consuming and expensive. Look for a mobile solution (like Onbile) that allows you to create professional-looking websites using templates. You only have to choose the template that best fits your business and personalize it with your own colors, typography and images, so that it has the same look and feel as your desktop website. You can also add forms to gather information from your customers, and an e-commerce page to set up your online store.
Can you offer any other tips to merchants who are just beginning to consider this technology?
According to Google, 90% of mobile users act within 24 hours of searching information on mobile devices, either calling or visiting the location. But 57% would not recommend a business with a bad mobile site; 40% have turned to a competitor’s site after a bad mobile experience. Businesses can’t afford to be without a mobile website solution.