Newflash: It’s NOT necessary to have a separate mobile website. It’s not even preferred.
Some of my legal client’s have been getting bombarded with spam emails telling them their site is not mobile friendly and they need to have their very own mobile site. Truth is, if your site is coded well, launching a mobile site can hurt your rankings.
Instead of spending some money developing a stand-alone mobile site, you should be investing in making your existing site “Responsive“. Also, do not take a company up on that “free” mobile site they have been convincing you that you need. Nothing in this industry is truly free and when it’s cheap you get what you pay for.
Think I am full of it? Even Google has officially announced that they prefer a Responsive site to a Mobile Site This coming from a company that owns a mobile website development service.
Bonus: a Responsive website is much better for your budget. Why would you want to spend more money to build and maintaining a separate website if you don’t need to. Odds are, your mobile site won’t rank as well in mobile search as your current website. Most mobile sites strip out a lot of the rich content which search engines rely on to rank you. Honestly, in my option if you are going the mobile site route you need a different mobile site for tablets devices and smart phones. A mobile site built and optimized for a smart phone is just a tad too boring and lacking in features for my tastes when I come across one on my iPad. I almost always click the option to view the “full website’ if there is one.
The cutting edge of website technology is not creating a stand-alone mobile website. It’s making your existing website better.
Some ways to make your website mobile friendly:
This allows your layout to adapt to the resolution of the viewer’s screen. The layout of your website will change depending on which device it is being view on. A responsive site is essentially the same site sharing the same code base but appearing differently in Desktop Browsers, Tablets & Smart Phones. By default, most mobile devices will show the full webpage which in some cases can seem like you pressed the “zoom out” button 10 times. Nice to see the full layout, but difficult to navigate when the link you are looking for is very tiny and hidden in the upper right hand corner.
Mobile Friendly Forms
All of your form elements should be optimized to make it easier for smart phone users to fill out. This means short forms with only the essentials such as Name, Email, Phone (if necessary) and a brief message area. The email field should be coded as such so that a user is directed to the touch pad with the @ symbol on it. The same goes for the phone number field. If properly coded, a phone field should pull up the numbers only touch pad. Not every mobile device follows these rules but most do.
Optimized Phone Numbers
Your phone number should be coded so that a potential client can tap on it to call you without having to memorize or write down your number and dial separately.
Your address should be prominently located on your site and allow client to click on it to transport it to a map app which can assist them finding your office. Pro Tip: Don’t have onsite parking? Include addresses on the best places to park near your office.