3 big reasons you should focus on mobile in 2014

As smartphones and other devices become more commonplace, they’re becoming more essential in the conducting of business. Lagging behind? Better climb aboard.

As we near the end of the year, business leaders are focusing on the future, on their strategies and goals, and on ensuring that next year is better than 2013. When setting budgets and priorities, be sure that a high-quality website with decent mobile access is on your must-have list for a successful 2014.

According to Pew Research Center, 63 percent of adult cell phone owners (as of May) use their phones to access the Internet. Whether your organization is B2B, B2C, or somewhere in between, your current and potential clients are trying to find you with their mobile devices.

Why go mobile?

1. No one carries the print phone book in their pocket. Audiences are trying to quickly find your physical location, phone number, and other contact information. Most of us are constantly on the go, so the ease of tapping on an address and being routed to a location or tapping on a phone number to make a fast call is crucial.

Again, recent research by Pew documents that 74 percent of adult smartphone owners say they use their phone to get directions or other information based on their current location. As someone who is usually short on time, I can attest to the frustration of being unable to find my destination quickly and easily-or at all.

2. Failing to embrace mobile holds you back. If a website wows on the desktop and disappoints on the smartphone, the brand appears to lack consistency and a forward-thinking attitude.

What if your news source displayed content online in the same size and format as it did for print? Zoom, scroll, zoom out, left, right, zoom, scroll? No. Websites must translate flawlessly onto mobile devices and function just as well.

If the information housed on your website is not easily and immediately accessible, your visitor is likely to go somewhere else for the content, product or service he/she is seeking. Pinching to zoom in on a website that isn’t responsive gets old fast. (Responsive design is aimed at providing an optimal viewing experience, easy reading, and navigation with a minimum amount of resizing, panning, and scrolling across a wide range of devices-from mobile phones to desktop. Here’s an example.)

3. Just because you have a “mobile site” doesn’t mean it’s working. Did you consider your user before adopting a mobile strategy? Many open source platforms (such as WordPress or Drupal) have options for a generic “mobile friendly” themes or versions, but often you’re getting the most basic, boring, and unbranded mobile presence possible.

The mobile site should not be an afterthought to the mobile desktop site or the exact same website attempted to be compacted into a 4.87-inch screen. Businesses and brands should begin with a thoughtful understanding of targeted users’ needs and create mobile experiences that impress users. Can your visitors share information about your organization or business from their mobile devices?

Can everyone easily find the methods to contact you, mail a donation, walk through your doors? If your user is lost, can your mobile presence lead them where they need to be? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” strongly consider making mobile a priority in 2014.

Kiersten Bagley is the Digital Marketing & PR Specialist at Speak Creative, a digital agency based in Memphis, TN. Follow her on Twitter @kabagley and read what’s spoken by the agency at @speakcreative.

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