Is Your Website “Mobile Responsive” or “Mobile Ready”

Photo: Amazon’s Kindle edition

The 80-year old Newsweek – The Daily Beast  announced that at the end of 2012 it will no longer offer a paper magazine; it’s moving to the digital space. No doubt other publications will do the same.  Considering that everywhere you look, people are using their tablets (iPad still rules, but the competition is gaining ground) and other mobile devices to read the news, surf the net, using Social Media, and shop online.

From the Wall Street Journal :
“As more people gravitate to smartphones and tablets, they’re increasingly forgoing the desktop to the access the Web. Between 2008 and 2011, the percentage of U.S. adults who accessed the Internet from PCs daily grew to 62% from 54%. In the same period, the percentage of daily mobile Internet users rocketed to 26% from 4%, according to Forrester Research.

Over the years I’ve seen 3 distinct generations in the history of the Web or Internet:

  1. Portals/Web 1.0,
  2. Social/Web 2.0, and
  3. Mobile.

We’re at a point where mobile devices are in the process of overtaking computer sales. And with many public Wi-Fi spots, it’s more practical to browse with a mobile device than a laptop.

But what if you don’t want to have your entire website redesigned from the ground up?  One solution is to create a mobile responsive site and set up an auto detection and redirection on your main site.  This, however, is not Google’s preferred method.

I believe Mobile Responsive will replace the mobile ready, or mobile friendly, sites for a vast majority of businesses.  My personal opinion is that having a responsive site results in a better user experience than having a website with detection and redirection to your mobile version — especially when your mobile version is “old school.”

According to studies, site visitors will move right off your site and onto your competitors in a heartbeat if they find your site too frustrating to use on their mobile device.  They way Google Research sums it up is: “No Mobile Site = Lost Customers.”   Then again, they would say that since a poor mobile experience reflects badly not only on the sites but on the Google searches that sent them there. This begs the question: Will Google favor mobile sites in their rankings?  I would imagine that if that’s what will keep their advertisers happy, then they’ll come up with an algorithm that favors mobile sites…but that’s just my wild guess.

So, the question becomes WHEN should you adjust and adapt your site to “All Things Mobile” and not IF you should make the conversion.  The answer is: Now would be a good time!  If the cost of redesigning your site to a mobile responsive site is an issue, there are a few things you can do that will help your web visitors at least have a better experience on your site.  My last newsletter contained information about the differences between Mobile Responsive, Mobile Ready and Mobile Friendly and what you can do on a budget to at least give your web visitors a better mobile experience. WordPress users can opt for a plugin, which is a good temporary solution.

The Take Away:

If your traditional website simply does not look as great as you want it to on an iPhone or iPad and you want to maintain your brand / corporate image, consider redirecting users to a separate site — one designed specifically for mobile devices.  Doing SOMETHING is better than doing nothing.

For WordPress Users

For a temporary fix, there is, of course, a plugin available for creating a mobile version of your site.  The one I suggest is WPTouch Pro.  (WARNING: As an affiliate of WPTouch Pro, purchasing this plugin via my links may result in my leaving my desk and heading over to the local coffee shop for a cup of coffee!)

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There is a free version of this plugin available, but it doesn’t come with all of the features that the paid version offers.