Resolve to Enhance your Mobile Presence

Have you looked at your current website on a mobile device yet? Chances are that some of your prospects and customers have. Nielsen estimates that U.S. smart phone penetration will be more than 50 percent in 2011. Morgan Stanley predicts that mobile Internet usage will exceed desktop usage in less than five years. Given the massive adoption of mobile, now is the time to start thinking about your online mobile presence for 2011.

Where to start?

First, take look at your website from a mobile device. The most popular mobile operating systems that support HTML are the Apple iPhone®, Google Android and BlackBerry®. There are many device simulators online, but none of them accurately render pages the way a device will, so your best bet is to find an actual device to look at your site.

Now try to accomplish a specific task on your site. This is where things get pretty tough unless you already have a mobile site. Common issues include small button/thick fingers, unreadable text and too many choices, but not enough screen real estate.

Let’s take a look at a few other sites. Try www.wikipedia.org, www.wired.com and www.CNN.com. Notice a pattern? A standard for mobile websites is quickly being adopted by many sites: small chunks of content followed by main navigation. The navigation generally gets pushed to the bottom of a content page and users often use the device “back” button to navigate.

Keep it simple

Your mobile site doesn’t need to include every page from your website. Think about the content that would be appropriate for mobile consumption: product information, contact and support information, directions and breaking news, to name a few. It’s doubtful that people are looking for senior leadership photos or your company history on their phones. Mobile is all about the utility of information and anything else just gets in the way. Start small. You can always include a link to your full website if necessary.

Measure usage

You can measure your mobile site usage similar to the way you measure your website’s usage. If you don’t have a good analytics package that specifically supports mobile usage stats, consider using Google Analytics. It’s free, easy to install and provides support for mobile specific metrics.

Plan to have a mobile presence in 2011

Many companies will jump into the mobile web in 2011. It’s also the year many people will start browsing the web on mobile devices, so make sure you set aside some of your marketing budget to build a mobile site. Having a simple mobile presence lets your users know that your company is keeping up with its customers’ needs as they evolve.