Business success is moving towards dependancy on mobile devices. With billions of screens in the mobile world, the entrepreneur must pay close attention.
There are two options for getting found on mobile devices: An App or a Mobile Website.
Thoughts about choosing an App or a Mobile Website:
An App ONLY works on the devices it is designed for. If your business is specifically sensitive to the device or your marketplace has a heavy saturation of users of a particular device, then the using an App might be the way to go.
The end user experience is more rewarding with Apps since they are more feature-rich and work with application such as a GPS.
The starting costs can be high if the goal is to have an App for every device. The approval process of an App store and continued updates requires a long term commitment and add to the costs.
Mobile websites work within any browser which gives any mobile device access to your website.
Mobile sites are better if your business relies on search based content. Advertising can be pointed specifically to a mobile site. If your business is focused on creating a synergy between multiple marketing vehicles and using a website at the hub, a mobile website might be a better option.
Some will tell you that a mobile website requires development and has a cost attached. There are now programs available to create a duplicate site of your current website which is designed for mobile devices. The simplicity of creating a mobile website for mass market appeal will be an appealing choice for most small businesses.
Resources to build your own mobile website:
To specifically build a mobile website focused on those on the run, you could use a service such as mofuse for as little as $7.95 per month.
If your goal is FREE and want only a few pages, then you will use mobiSiteGalore. With designs to choose from, you can set up your own mobile website.
Hubspot creates this website to automatically be accessible by mobile devices and the new COS lets you build responsive websites for mobile.
With the rapid change and newcomers in the PC Tablets, the marketing game will continue to evolve.
50% + ofall US mobile subscribers now own a 3G Handset (Nielsen)
50% or more of all internet traffic will originate from Mobile Devices by 2014 (Millennia Media)
18MM+ mobile subscribers currently access local business sites using mobile directories (Yellow Pages & comScore- March 2010)
100 MM smart phones were shipped in Q4 2010, while PC manufacturers shipped 92 MM units worldwide (IDC)
$1 Billion + expected to be spent on mobile display advertising in 2011 (Forrester)
A simple solution is to use website software which automatically duplicates a website by creating a mobile site at the same time. When the user logs into the website with a mobile device, the detects the source and switches the visitor to the mobile site. One of the best tools for this is xSitePro. xSitePro is for those business owners who are planning on creating many websites (or mobile sites).
There are many new companies which will take advantage of the entrepreneur who struggles to keep up with the latest technology. Not understanding the purpose of the website will have the small business owner checkbooks out paying unnecessary fees before analyzing the needs and making a marketing plan.
I shudder at the number of small business owners who will have no clue but respond to an energetic sales person with a very clear purpose: Sell the product.
Even if the mobile website is the first choice vs. an app, line up the many choices side by side before making a choice. Buy the domain name SEPERATE from the mobile website hosting solution. Another issue yet to be determined is the changes yet to be seen in the mobile world. In the next 12 to 18 months there will be changes to the hardware. PC Tablets and iPad will influence the marketplace and the mobile websites will need to flex and flux as the consumer changes.
Texting has proven successful for many retail operations and does not need a mobile website or APP. It is a good place to start for retail businesses.