Small Businesses and Mobile Website Design: It’s Inevitable

If you have a small business with an Internet presence, you should commit yourself early on to having a mobile presence as well. Not sure what that means? It’s simple: there are two categories of devices using the Internet today. One is broadly called “desktops”, but includes anything with a mostly-normal keyboard and monitor, including laptops. The other is broadly called “mobile”, and it includes everything from an iPad down to the smallest smartphones.

Internet access works differently for these categories. Desktops connect to the internet via wires or, more and more often these days, via a Wi-Fi connection. Mobile devices connect to the internet via Wi-Fi at times, but more often they use a cellular connection over a 3-, 4-, or 5-G network — much slower than all but the weakest Wi-Fi connections. Furthermore, mobile devices are often on bandwidth-limited plans. Because of the slower speed and bandwidth limitations, mobile website design is performed differently — sometimes even written in an altogether different language than desktop-oriented sites.

As time goes by, however, more and more of the Internet-using population are logging on at least part of the time from a mobile device — and the ratio is rapidly approaching 50%. In short, if you don’t have a mobile-ready site, you’re potentially losing access to a large chunk of your market.

Fortunately, it’s relatively straightforward for a skilled web designer to convert your existing desktop site into a mobile-ready site. If they do it correctly, you won’t even lose any of your website’s SEO juice in the process — your mobile site will rank just as well as your desktop site, because they’re essentially the same entity, just showing up differently to different devices.

You may be surprised if you get a mobile website conversion — just because the mobile and desktop sites are the same digital entity doesn’t mean that they’ll look anything alike from the two sources. A web design scheme called Responsive Design allows for websites that ask the surfer’s device questions like ‘how big is your screen’ and ‘are you connected via a cell tower or wifi’ and produce very different “looks” depending on their answers. So while the same data is all there, it may come out arranged very differently depending on who is looking at it.

Mobile sites for small businesses: they’re going to become the norm. The only question is, how quickly will YOU catch on?