If you spend even a few minutes a day surfing the Web, you cannot fail to notice repeated references to all things “mobile.” From mobile apps (applications) to mobile websites, mobile devices and mobile accessories, the world is increasingly moving in a mobile direction. As a participant in the global online marketplace, you may wonder why you need a mobile website when you already have a standard website. The truth is, there is a notable difference between how a website performs when viewed on different devices. A website may look one way on a desktop computer and then look entirely different on a phone’s Internet browser. This article will help you identify two things: a) what a mobile website is and b) why your company needs one.
The Mobile Website Defined
In essence, a mobile website is a version of your regular website designed to display on a smaller screen. So where you may have a certain configuration for your graphics, blog entries, header and footer, copyright information and content when displayed on a laptop or desktop computer, many of these elements need to be rearranged to display properly, or display at all, on a screen the size of your tablet’s or phone’s Internet browser. Luckily, today you can use mobile website builder software to take care of these tasks for you and ensure your website displays properly on different screen sizes.
Mobile Website vs. Mobile App
Much confusion remains about what differentiates a mobile website from a mobile app. The difference boils down to how each is accessed and what types of information they offer. A mobile website may cover a broad range of content from company information to blog feeds to feedback forms to event RSVPs. An app, on the other hand, typically handles a more narrow range of information. With an app, you may balance your checkbook, play a game or organize your grocery list, but typically you will not be able to do all three of those things with the same app. From a business perspective, the differences are broader still. A mobile app may allow your website visitors to interact more easily with certain portions of your site, or with your products or services. But since many customers today do most of their daily business with smartphones and tablets, you need to ensure your website displays properly on a smaller screen before a customer even becomes interested in downloading your company’s mobile apps.
Advantages of Having a Mobile Website
While setting up two versions of your website will undoubtedly require more work on the front end, on the back end there are many enticing advantages a mobile website can offer you, such as:
- Immediate access. Mobile websites load quickly and accurately onto smaller screen, eliminating customer frustration (and greatly reducing the tendency to leave your site altogether).
- Inter-device compatibility. Mobile websites are designed to display properly on various devices and operating systems.
- Instant updates and upgrades. Making changes to a mobile website instantly updates what the visitor sees on their end as well.
- Easy to find and share. Mobile websites are set up for auto detection — in other words, if your customer or site visitor is trying to see your website from a small screen, this will automatically be detected and their view will be adjusted. In the same way, mobile websites make it easy for visitors to share your site with other device users.
- Dual-purpose features. Your mobile website can also function as an app in certain ways. This allows your customers to receive the functionality of an app without having to download and install separate software onto their mobile device.
- Mobile is the future. Investing into a mobile website now positions your company for maintaining reach and market share in the future.
With such advantages to developing a mobile website, it is easy to understand why so many companies are developing mobile options for their standard online websites.
About the Author: Writer Phelan Chelg fell in love with all things mobile the first time he saw a smartphone in action. Today, he owns a development company.