Everywhere I look I see a new article about mobile internet usage and its impact on businesses. Just this past Monday, Techcrunch published an article about The Mobile Tipping Point chock full of impressive mobile revenue growth numbers for Facebook and Groupon.
In the words of Maury Ballstein, “Mobile is so hot right now.” Move over Hansel and Derek Zoolander…
But what exactly does this mean for small businesses? Will these mobile trends really change the rules of internet marketing?
According to Google, the answer is “Yes.”
How Mobile Impacts Internet Marketing
In June, Google published an article that said the following:
To improve the search experience for smartphone users and address their pain points, we plan to roll out several ranking changes in the near future that address sites that are misconfigured for smartphone users.
Uh oh… that means if you’ve been ignoring mobile, you’re probably going to lose search engine rankings. In other words, if you care at all about search engine optimization (SEO), then you need to invest in a mobile-friendly website.
Then on July 22, Google AdWords overhauled their entire system and forced every advertiser to start using “Enhanced Campaigns.” What does it mean to be enhanced? Well, basically that means all advertising campaigns were forced to target mobile devices, in addition to regular desktop computers.
Before this huge update, advertisers could create campaigns to target a specific device, but Google removed that option with Enhanced Campaigns. In other words, if you care at all about search or display advertising with Google AdWords, then you need to invest in a mobile-friendly website.
The days of only worrying about computers are over. We now must consider how to incorporate mobile devices (and tablets) into our marketing campaigns.
What Is a Mobile-Friendly Website?
If you own a smartphone, then open up your mobile internet browser and type in your website URL. If you’re among the 70% of businesses that do NOT have a mobile-friendly website, then you’ll see a miniature version of your full desktop website.
Try to navigate your website on your tiny mobile browser using your fingers to click on links. Whenever I try to use a non-mobile-friendly website on my smartphone, I quit within seconds. I either can’t click on the link to visit the page I want to read, or equally as frustrating, I hit the wrong link.
A mobile-friendly website solves this problem by using big buttons made for mobile browsers. If you use any mobile apps, then you’re familiar with the usability of a mobile-friendly website. That’s exactly how you want your website to function on mobile devices.
There are two solutions if you want to make your website mobile-friendly:
- Responsive web design. This is the latest technology that dynamically adjusts your website based on the device. So your website design and layout will automatically change whether you access the site from a desktop, a tablet, or a mobile device.
- Device specific HTML. This is a fancy way of saying that you’ll create different webpages for each device. If you’ve ever visited a website and noticed the URL changed from http://www.domain.com to http://m.domain.com, then that website was using device-specific HTML.
Both solutions have pros and cons, but generally I recommend option #2 so you can customize the message for the device. For example, you may want to show a map with directions to your store or office for mobile devices.