The Importance of a Mobile Web Presence


As more and more people turn to mobile devices to browse the web we are forced to reconsider what a web presence really means.

With the release of the most recent incarnation of the iPhone, I can't help but think about the crazy amount of growth the mobile web has seen over the past few years.

Why should we care?

According to Admob's mobile metrics, mobile traffic has increased at least 4x in the last two years. On top of that smartphone traffic on the mobile web has more than doubled, rising from 22% of total traffic in May of 2008 to 46% of total traffic in May of 2010.

The dramatic advancement and acceptance of smartphone technology over the past two years has definitely helped contribute to this rise of the mobile web. Get this: two years ago the top mobile device was the Motorola RAZR. Compare that browsing experience to the iPhone, Droid and HTC phones that dominate the market today and you'll have a good idea why traffic has skyrocketed.

Mobile site design

When it comes to building a mobile website, it's a good idea to do a little planning and think about exactly what you're up against.

Know your limitations. Keep in mind most mobile devices have smaller resolutions than the average desktop/laptop computer, a slower (or, at least, more inconsistent) network and no mouse.

Clear, Simple Markup is an important part of a graceful mobile site because mobile devices are much more prone to display sites without styles, javascript or flash. Alt tags, form field labels and heading tags are a great way to be sure a website remains legible even when it doesn't display exactly as planned.

Know your audience. Mobile website visitors generally fall into one of three categories: the casual surfer, repeat visitor and urgent information-seeker. It's important to tailor the information on a mobile site to the audience that will generate the majority of the traffic.

Prioritize content. Take a minute to think about the most important information to your mobile site visitors, and make that easy to find. A great example of this is the Best Buy mobile site vs

Test and validate. Most importantly, be sure your mobile site looks good on the devices it's meant to be viewed with. It never hurts to run it through the W3C's mobileOK checker, or take a look at what's working for other businesses.

For more information, check out these great articles from Smashing Mag and Sitepoint.

Social on the go

Social media is an undeniably huge part of the mobile web, so it's always good to have a presence of some sort on the major social networks.

Foursquare is one of the newest social networks, but also offers an interesting way for businesses and consumers to connect. With a 1.8 million user base that is growing at a rate of 10,000 users per day, this is a great place to build loyalty and micro-communities around businesses and products.

Twitter and Facebook both seem to be no-brainers when building a presence on the mobile web, but that often means they overlooked or neglected. With tools like Hootsuite these networks have become a highly trackable way to communicate with an online user base that demands up to the minute information.

The Bottom Line

The mobile web is becoming a huge part of daily life for lots of people. With an ever-growing amount of tools to contribute to an individual or business' mobile identity, it can be extremely beneficial to experiment with what's available.