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The Mobile Web Revolution: How the Past Can Shape the Future

April 6, 2011

You already know that mobile web access has taken the world by storm. But can you believe that according to Portio Research there will be 5.8 billion mobile subscribers worldwide by 2013?* As tens of millions of customers flock to upgrade their equipment and access the web from anywhere, companies are scrambling to get mobile versions of their sites online. That makes good sense, but many of them would be better served by taking a moment to remember the lessons they learned from the last decade.

Mobile Websites Are New, But Optimization Rules Aren’t

What we’re really talking about here is search engine optimization. Just because there’s a new mobile version of your site out there doesn’t mean that you can forget about all of those critical keywords and phrases that were so important for getting you traffic in the past. Sure, you might have smaller versions of your pages, but it’s important that you make sure they are just as packed with the important stuff as ever. That means the right content, inbound links, alternate text for images, and all the other great stuff we all know and love.

It’s All About How You Serve Up the Message

It’s also important to remember that mobile users are looking for a totally different experience from the average desktop user. Think of it this way: if you needed a quick lunch to eat while traveling to a meeting, you probably wouldn’t order a steak dinner. The same is true with your mobile website content. Since phones aren’t used like your PC, you need to make sure usability of your site and the findability of your information is straightforward and clear. Your mobile users aren’t looking for a leisurely browsing experience – they want to get in, get the information they need, and get on with it.

There’s No Such Thing as a Standard Smartphone

Also, don’t forget that depending on the user’s smartphone, your screen rendering will really vary. Like the differences that various browser screens can offer on a desktop model, a user viewing your site on an iPhone will have a very different experience than one viewing your site on an older stripped down Samsung. So prepare to spend more time debugging your smartphone user experience than you would with a typical browser.

Keep Forging Ahead

Just like the Internet was 15 year ago, mobile Internet access is continually evolving the way we engage with customers going forward. Once again, marketers are faced with a medium that they want to embrace; they’re just not sure where to get started. Our advice:  go back to the basics and keep in mind that none of these changes mean we can turn our back on Internet history – or even a few simple keywords.

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