You don’t have to go far to see how many people are using mobile to access the web: Visit the local coffee shop, ride a city bus, or walk downtown, and you’ll see people on their mobile phones or tablet devices. In fact, you might have noticed the shift to mobile in your own life: Which device do you pull out to use the web when you’re relaxing at home at night: Your mobile device or a computer?
The shift to increasing mobile use means your small business needs to be accessible to your customers and potential customers – no matter where they are. From apps to mobile-friendly websites to QR codes, there are several options for getting your website out to users no matter where they are.
Is there an app for that?
Does your business need an app? Our answer was yes – and no – when we addressed that question on our blog a few weeks ago.
The idea of an app for your business is attractive. It’s the trendy thing to do! And if you’ve got a clever idea for an app, you should definitely go for it. Make it a game, a source for exclusive coupons and discounts, or a resource for information about your area of business, and you could have a hit on your hands. But, if your app is going to simply be a rehash of the information on your website, your resources might be better spent elsewhere. Hiring someone to design an app can be expensive! (Plus, your website should be mobile friendly no matter what …)
But, apps allow you to push notifications to your users – think coupons, sales, etc. – and you can learn a lot from the data you glean from an app.
Is it right for you? Read more about apps for small businesses.
More and more users are accessing the web from their smartphones and tablets, and the website you designed several years ago for computer browsers might not translate well. The text could be too small, the images too large to download, and the coding too complicated for mobile browsing. You’ve got two options when you’re thinking about designing your website for mobile: Redesign your existing website to work across all devices or create a mobile website that is separate from your existing website.
The option you choose depends on your budget, time, and how recently you last redesigned your website. But as you work with a designer – or take on the project yourself – there are a few things to consider for mobile websites:
- Your website should be designed to work for the user no matter where he or she is reading it – on a computer or on a mobile device.
- Keep file sizes small and design simple to make load times fast.
- For mobile, simple designs, layouts, and navigation systems work best. Think about a single-column layout – it looks best on the narrow screen of a smartphone.
- Remember that users will be using their fingers to tap your website rather than a mouse to click. Buttons and other clickable items should be large and chunky to make tapping easy and error free.
- Your design should work on as many devices and platforms (such as iOS and Android) as possible. Analytics can tell you where your users are coming from, but you should be prepared for users from all types of devices.
- Minimize the amount of typing users need to do. Inputting text on a mobile device – especially a smartphone – requires patience and time. Don’t ask users to write long passages.
- Remember that not all users are reading your website on the go. People are increasingly turning to their mobile devices when they’re relaxing at home, too.
Give users easy access
People carry their mobile devices with them everywhere, and if they stumble upon your marketing materials, you want to make it easy for them to get to your website. We’ve already noted that typing can be a pain on mobile devices, so you might want to consider adding a QR code to your marketing materials.
QR codes are those funny patterned boxes that have started showing up on everything from newspaper and magazine ads, brochures, and even billboards. Using a special reader app, users point their smartphone camera at the QR code, and the app reads the code. Most codes point to a URL for a website or newsletter sign up, but if you’re creative, the possibilities are endless! Read more about QR codes – and whether it’s worth it for your business to get one – in our recent blog post.
Ready to take your business mobile? PNSolutions can help! Contact us today.