I’d like to start by sharing a quick story about an experience I had a week ago with my smart phone. Here is how to make your business attractive to mobile users.
Friday night, my wife and I were looking for some dinner, sick of the normal chain restaurants that plague our area we were hoping to find something new and reasonably priced. There are many smart phone options to find local restaurants, bars, theaters, and activities but my go-to app currently is Yelp. If you haven’t tried it before, Yelp is a review and rating app that lets users share experiences they have at a business, generally used for restaurants. The app also lists a businesses website, picture, and other relevant information when available.
For any new restaurant my standard approach is to check out the star ratings, read 3-4 quick reviews and then click on the website link to find the menu.
I decided on a new restaurant that had recently opened and had good reviews. Next step was to check their menu to make sure the prices were reasonable and we liked the dinner options. Yelp did have the restaurants website link but clicking it brought me to a page completely unusable by my iPhone because it was completely created with Flash.
I don’t necessarily have anything against Flash, the website likely looks beautiful on a computer but that doesn’t help me while out shopping and hunger strikes. We then found the next intriguing restaurant on the list, checked reviews, read the menu and had a great dinner. Unfortunately the first restaurant lost one customer that night and potentially a lot more in the future. Thanks for sticking with me to the point I’m trying to make – Be Mobile Friendly!
Although Yelp was the example I used there are many other ways a mobile user will find a business. TripAdvisor, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more can all connect possible customers to your business from a mobile device on the go. In most cases, the user will be directed to your website and it is extremely important to anticipate what they will be looking for. In my example, the restaurant needed to have a menu accessible on the home page, even with flash they could have used an html link to a PDF file which would be mobile friendly.
My advice to any business from restaurant to roller skate rink is do your own ‘smart phone web audit’. Take your iPhone, Blackberry, Android or other and go to your businesses website right now, what do you see? Most smart phone browsers can now render full websites and just require zooming in to navigate, your main focus should be whether or not the important content is easy to find and read. If you think content is hard to find or access yourself, chances are so will your customers – change it. Another option is to create a complete mobile friendly version of your website; this can be done from scratch or by using services such as Mobify or for WordPress sites WPTouch and WPTap.
I hope you take the two minutes to test your site out and then make any necessary changes, every small competitive advantage helps.