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Understanding what “mobile” web strategy is best for you!

There is a bandwagon rolling into town, but before you jump make sure you really need to be onboard!

There are different degrees of mobile friendly and it’s really important to be absolutely clear about this… Our standard websites are created to work on ALL mobile devices, they can be easily viewed and by pinching and squeezing you can zoom in and out. You can complete shopping, online booking and any other process and they look and work perfectly.

So given that you have probably received all sorts of dire warnings from Google and that numerous sales savvy web developers have been in contact and  are very keen to help you (?) get your website to pass the Google “mobile friendly” test let’s have a think about what options are out there, what is best for YOUR business and what (if anything) you should do!

Responsive Web Design

These websites adjust themselves dynamically to fit within the display area of the device. If you rotate the device around and tilt the display then the website will relay itself. Many sites transfer well to a responsive environment, some do not. The more complex your website design the more difficult (and expensive) this becomes.

Advantages:

  • Streamlined:The site is hosted on the same domain and uses the same URL so there are no SEO issues or redirecting issues.
  • Consistent with Desktop Content:The same content is just presented in a different layout.
  • Low Maintenance Cost: Although initial build costs are usually significantly higher, the cost of maintenance and updating should be lower (as you are only maintaining one site).

Disadvantages:

  • Slower Loading Times –If you are adapting an old site to a responsive site you may find that it is not fully optimised for mobile and is slow to load. However, if you are building a new site and taking a ‘Mobile First’ approach, this shouldn’t be a problem. But 3G and 4G coverage remains sporadic and unstable – so some content may take time to download.
  • General Usability– Mobile users will generally have a goal in mind when accessing a website. Whether it’s buying, reading or checking-in, they may not want to go through the same process as a desktop user. They may expect a stripped down version of the site similar to an App.
  • Lack ofMobile FeaturesYou won’t be able to get the same level of integration from a responsive site – features such as camera, photos or calendars.
  • Lack of Zoom -if you are used to pinching and zooming into websites on mobile in order to be able to read the tiny text then you will not be able to on a responsive website.
  • Dumbed down design - a highly designed main site has less option to appear exactly how you many want to in this situation.

Dedicated Mobile Site

Dedicated mobile sites are purpose built versions of the original website which are hosted at a new domain address (usually by adding ‘m’ before or after the original address:m.tesco.comorwww.argos.co.uk/m/.

The web server normally recognises which device is being used and serves (delivers) the appropriate site to display.

Advantages:

  • Different Content –A site purpose-built for mobile will usually have features which can load more quickly on mobile platforms, and you can dispense with some of the superfluous elements found on the desktop version.
  • Speedy Development– Compared with alternatives, a mobile site can be built relatively easily. This is less labour-intensive and subsequently less costly than other mobile options.
  • Mobile-Focussed– Development for the mobile platform means that navigation and usability are friendlier for mobile users.

Disadvantages:

  • Slower Service –Redirection from main sites to mobile sites takes time. It may only be seconds, but it still damages the overall user experience.
  • Double Maintenance– Essentially two sites need to be managed; adding new functionality would need to be done twice.
  • SEO Issues –Since the content (and therefore the traffic) is split across two URLs, there’s the chance that your overall SEO will suffer.

Mobile Apps

Apps are programs that are saved to the device. They’re relatively small (compared with full websites) and they tend to serve one function (reading articles, shopping, checking-in). They can be a useful way to allow mobile users to access one of your site’s main utilities, or to promote your brand (with a game or similar App).

Advantages:

  • Completely Mobile Friendly-Apps have the distinction of being native to the device, so they can access and utilize any of the phone’s capabilities (Camera, Calendar, Maps etc).
  • Offline Options –While some Apps require the internet to function fully (social platforms), many others can operate offline, or cache data when an internet connection is available ready for when one isn’t.
  • Quicker Loading Times –Since the App is self-contained, loading times should be quicker. Of course this depends on (and is limited by) the device’s memory and processor power.
  • Push Notifications- Apps have the ability to update you with the things you need to know. Such as when you receive a new friend request on Facebook, or when you’re near a public toilet.

Disadvantages:

  • No Cross-Functionality –Apps are made for specific platforms. iOS Apps will work on iphone or ipad, but will not be usable by Windows devices – or any non-Apple devices for that matter. This means Apps must be developed for each platform, which is expensive.
  • Updates –Apps need to be constantly updated and tweaked. This is in terms of both user-feedback and changes to the device. This can be time-consuming and costly.
  • Downloading –Apps have to be downloaded for use. Success in the App world may require considerable marketing and promotion.

If you would like a FREE consultation regarding what mobile strategy would be best for your business or have any questions at all regarding your website then please do call us on 01789 330160 or email us at hello@pinkjellymarketing.co.uk

 
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