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Mobile Websites and Aps

Discussion in 'Tech talk' started by websitedesigner, Oct 12, 2010.

  1. websitedesigner

    websitedesigner Well-Known Member

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    Hi all I know there are a lot of web people who watch this forum and I wondered what people are doing with mobile websites and aps. I run a web design business and we are as busy as ever but I am still yet to have any clients ask about mobile versions of sites or aps for iPhones iPads etc. I'm not desperate to get into this market but I wonder why no one has asked about this too much yet. Have other companies who deal with small businesses noticed the same thing? Are these things just for the bigger companies?

    All of the sites we build look find on mobile devices but we haven't yet built an interface specifically for a mobile.
  2. universal

    universal Member

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    Hi Dan,

    I am just starting out with regard to having a web site. The costs involved with having a web site built for a small buisiness is a significant cost so having a secondary mobile apps/web site can be futher burden to a small business.

    I personally still find using the web on my mobile phone very restrictive and often to slow to make it feasible.

    Regards
    Craig
  3. websitedesigner

    websitedesigner Well-Known Member

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  4. niknjay

    niknjay Member

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    I dont know what he charges or how he does it, but "mobisenz" deals in the mobile web development for small businesses.
  5. createdevelop

    createdevelop Member

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    You are talking about two completely different things here, with totally different applications and methodologies.

    You don't actually need to do anything to make your website viewable in a mobile device. All mobile browsers now will just zoom out. Granted, your website will not look pretty, but people will be able to access it, unless you are using flash (only supported by some browsers) or some strange dynamic content.

    If you want your website to look "pretty" ie be styled to suit the mobile browser, then you can use a few different methods to direct the browser to specific files depending on the "user agent", this could just be CSS or it could be a whole different site. It just depends on how far you want to go for the user.

    As far as Apps go, this is something else entirely. To make an application that uses the mobile phone's technologies, like GPS, Wifi, 3G, SMS, touch sensitivity etc, you need to use completely different technologies and expertise. Obviously the only real limits to a mobile app are imagination and size of the application.

    We execute both apps and websites for our clients, and all I can really say is that whilst the uptake of mobile tech has been slow itis gathering pace. At the moment mobile browsing makes up less than 2% of all browsing, but that 2% is by professionals, tech savvy, cashed up etc (pretty juicy market). Mobile app penetration is much higher, as seen by the number of people downloading opera mini or the new york times app.

    It all comes down to budget and goal, as always.
  6. IT Advocate

    IT Advocate Active Member

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    Adding a mobile site need not be an expensive task. Depending on how a site is created, adding a mobile/iphone version can be fairly easy.
  7. Samot

    Samot Member

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    I actually just made a post on the difference between mobile apps and mobile websites.

    http://thomasalwyndavis.com/2010/10/tell-me-why-i-should-build-a-mobile-app/

    For now I will definitely be just making browsed based mobile interfaces for different websites. It's not hard and easier then designing your real site. Just plug a logo in and put a straight forward menu with the most useful content that a customer would need if on the move and looking up your service. Try to make the text on your site mobile friendly so people can easily copy your number like this
    HTML:
    <a href="tel:1-801-555-1212">1-801-555-1212</a>
    I think thats how you do it for iphone and should work on others.

    Thomas
  8. sydneyfx

    sydneyfx Member

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    A good way to decide if a mobile web site is necessary is to use some analytics package like Google Analytics. Then you can see how many mobile devices and what types of devices are visiting your website.

    With that type of data, you can decide if it's worth the effort in adding marketing dollars into a mobile web site or application.

    It's definitely going to be interesting times going forward with many larger screen devices like the iPad being a more useable mobile experience than a smartphone.
  9. Steve_Minshall

    Steve_Minshall Well-Known Member

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    I think this is really, really, really important for small business.

    I believe mainstream phone (and pad) browsing is going to overtake desktop browsing much sooner than most businesses are thinking. This is not even on the radar for most of them as the original poster mentions. Therefore we have a great opportunity as flexible, innovative, little beavers to get in there and get ourselves entrenched in this medium before the big companies do. This was my biggest take-away from the FS Live event.

    I am a marketer not a tech (I chose my phone on its ability to be dropped over any other advanced feature) so I am yet to learn the ramifications of this technology. However, I will be basing my web activity over the next year on the following thinking.

    1) I will run parallel web activity to target this media as an entity in its own right rather than a poor cousin to desktop with some CSS tweaks. Within a couple of years it will be more important than desktop.

    2) I will be watching out for changes in the search engine landscape to see what those guys are doing to better funnel content to different media. I believe that google will (if they don't already) give bonus points to web sites especially tailored to mobile if the search is being done on a mobile. This may also provide an opportunity to fracture the search engine industry by having someone else become the SE of choice for mobile. Will we need to rethink PPC strategies to target different media? Will we need to re-think SEO strategy for mobile content?

    3) I will buy an iPhone and an ipad and try not to break them while experimenting and see what makes a good web experience and what doesn't work.

    4) I will learn and run as fast as I can because I think this is a real opportunity with only a very limited time to get in and get established in the media before everyone else does.

    5) It is my belief that this should be looked at a-new in terms of on-line strategy. Just migrating existing content or checking that existing contact is visible will work but it misses the point that this is the core of the future not just an add -on to desktop.

    6) I think many businesses will be advised by their web people that all is well because their desktop website can be viewed fine on mobile devices. This is limited thinking. If I was asked to create an advert for the cinema screen and a TV, I could do one that works for both. But wouldn't be more effective to make one that plays to the bigness and loudness of cinema and a different one that plays to the living-room intimacy of TV.

    As small businesses we are always looking for ways to differentiate ourselves. We are being given one right here. Grab it with both hands and run because in 2 years time you will have missed the opportunity to get first go with new marketing methods.
  10. JohnSheppard

    JohnSheppard Active Member

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    I don't disagree with the above, but...from the cynical/negative side of the fence;

    - Most, if not all small business don't have their desktop website nearly as well done as they could and would do well to get that right first.
    - Bleeding edge/newish technology is a good way to get burned (high risk/high payoff). Best use someone else's money.
    - You cannot dominate such a medium unless you are a big business. Investing now will make little difference to investing when it settles (unless your business is fundamentally mobile).
  11. Steve_Minshall

    Steve_Minshall Well-Known Member

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    I got into adwords early in my industry 7 years ago and have reaped the benefits and continue to do so. It is now mainstream, a normal part of business and far less exciting. With my experience and knowledge over this time I can still play the game better than my competitors and continue to benefit.

    I am getting the same excitement now about the transitioning of media to mobile technology. Like the possibilities I saw in adwords when no-one else was looking at it I see the same opportunity to get the early wins. No don't go and burn thousands $$ straight off. But start looking at it, start thinking about it, start see the possibilities right now!

    I firmly believe that it is your duty as a small business person to use your nimbleness and lack of corporate constraints to be a pioneer. This doesn't need to be high risk. All you need to be doing at the moment is paying attention and working out a strategy. I am just saying guys here is an opportunity and I think its a biggie. Everyone can decide whether they what to dive in or spectate. But at the very least start paying attention to it.

    Of course work on your desk top website, just bare in mind that at some point not to far away it will be playing second fiddle to mobile technology. I don't know if that is 1, 2, 5 or 10 years away. But it will come and now is the time to start looking at possibilities.
  12. JohnSheppard

    JohnSheppard Active Member

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    That's just cause you're smarter than most tho :) I don't think it would have anything to do with being in first. While you do get advantages, the inherent risk of trailblazing warrants a higher return. Weather it is there or not I guess is a matter of judgment, personal preference and your market.

    Yes, definitely good advice, as long as it doesn't take your focus off what currently works. What currently works is more important.

    My own opinion is that in small business one needs to focus on as few channels as possible and do it real damn well (one if possible). Weather that's a good opinion to hold is I guess another thread, but I've been wrong plenty before :)

    'In a gold rush, sell shovels'...if you want to sell shovels, now (yesterday) is the time to think about it, if you want to be in the gold rush, personally, I don't think it makes an iota of difference if you can't dominate the market early and stay dominant, which is incredibly difficult for a small business. What gains are you going to get in the 6 months it takes for the hordes to catch up and flood the market?
  13. XCA

    XCA Member

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    Re: Mobile Websites and Apps

    I don't own a business. I don't have a business website let alone a mobile friendly one. But I am someone who uses her mobile to surf the net CONSTANTLY.

    I have my favourites and staples (Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, Blogger and Banking) on my mobile phone. I think the biggest thing with introducing a mobile web site is to have a short and sharp address. If it's hard to remember, well, no one's going to go there on their desktop let alone a mobile.

    Mobile websites I think are great for sourcing contact details and light imagery. I use them for convenience, when I'm on the train, when I'm waiting at a cafe. I won't always reach for a newspaper or magazine at the doctors, I'll grab my phone and see what's news online on my phone instead.

    Funnily enough I hardly ever speak to people on my mobile. I sms, email and click through links more than dial to chat to someone. I choose my mobile phone plan based on the data allowance, not on the included calls. I think this is the way it's going to go from here on in (IMHO!)

    Mobile websites are for convenience and basic info, not for all encompassing websites with flash and videos and high res images. I like to think of them as teaser sites 'You like what you see here? wait til you get to a computer and load our full site!'

    Apps I don't have much direct experience with but I can imagine how having an app that showcases your products or services or assists someone in placing an order directly from their mobile to you would be appealing as the app is already loaded onto the phone, you know the person who has it WANTS it (they DID download it by choice) and they don't have to worry about data usage (they're not loading a mobile site every time they open it)

    Anyway, that's my 2 cents! :)
  14. websitedesigner

    websitedesigner Well-Known Member

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    The thing is though that I spend my life on my phone as well and its twitter and facebook and news and aps etc that I look up but I don't find myself looking up small businesses to engage for services - I do all of that type of still at work from my desk.

    The question is not so much about whether there is a place for mobile sites or aps (and I realise they aren't the same thing although I dispute that they are completely different, some iphone aps are pretty much just smaller versions of the website) because there clearly is but its more about whether there is a place for them for the average small business.

    I really can't see mobile sites being more important to the average small business than their main website in a few years - maybe not ever, in the end most people will still congregate together for work, most will prefer a desk, a big screen and Kevvie' high speed broadband and they are the people that will be looking up the average small business website.

    I guess it all comes down to the purpose of the site and if you can achieve its purpose (maybe its supplying content or selling a product) via a mobile then perhaps people will access it that way but if not I just can't see it completely taking over a main website.

    Anyway just out of interest I checked our small business website design blog Google Analytics data (thanks sydneyfx I didn't even know you could do that) and out of 2,300 visits in the last month 66 were from mobile devices which is less than 3% and the site loads well on an iphone.

    We manage analytics accounts for a lot of clients too and these stats are pretty similar across the board. Most clients are between 2-3% with some up to 3.5%. It will be interesting to keep an eye on them.

    I wonder what percentage other people get? Particularly those who have gone to the effort of either using CSS for a mobile version or having a completely separate mobile site?
  15. Steve_Minshall

    Steve_Minshall Well-Known Member

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    I must admit I have been basing my assumptions on gut feel rather than analytics so it was useful to have a look.

    In the last month I have recieved 3.4% of my traffic from mobile devices in line with your figures. What I also did though was compare last month with January this year (these are similar months for us in trading terms). What this showed was we went from 124 visits to 453 on mobile devices. Now this is significant showing a 365% increase in 6 months!
  16. SalenaKnight

    SalenaKnight Active Member

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    I'm just in the process of having my website redesigned, and have been quoted $350-400 to have it mobi-ised (my made up word).

    So, after reading PP - off I went to analytics to find over 8% of my traffic in the last month was mobile, around 250 visits and sales from those mobile shoppers totalled $252. In the last 5 months, I've had over $600 in sales from mobile visitors, and this is on my not so hot site!

    So, thank you for helping me make the decision to mobi-ise or not. Gauging past sales, it will take, at most about 4 months to pay for itself! Sold!
  17. [Former] FS Concierge

    [Former] FS Concierge Renowned Member

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    That's a very helpful piece of research flower-child. Thanks for sharing it with us.

    Would you also assume that at least some of those people were looking for your store and actually spent money in person?

    Cheers
    Jayne
  18. mrsamo

    mrsamo Member

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    There is definitely a trend towards online sites designed for mobiles and tablets, after so many years it is finally catching on thanks to Apple and market players (Google, facebook etc).

    There are so many ways to lead customers to your site, you don't have to make it extremely complicated by setting up so many different versions of your website - Just keep it simple, functional and accessible.

    Mobile centric websites are gaining in popularity because they are designed to be easy to use due to the constraint that developers must adhere to when developing sites with limited bandwidth and screen estate in mind. The focus in design is better.

    Compare this to full fledge site which although is usually full of content and options, can be very intimidating to browse. No wonder people don't like sitting at a desk or kiosk browsing on the internet because these sites have gotten so heavy and slow.
  19. Fazz Inc

    Fazz Inc Member

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    Admittedly there aren't many Australian businesses with mobile optimized sites at the moment but I think it would be a mistake not to offer mobile versions of websites. There is nothing worse than having to zoom in/out and pan around only to see a small section of the site at any one time. Check out some great Australian businesses with optimized sites like rosesonly.com.au, domain.com.au on your mobile. I think you will agree that the user experience is greatly enhanced if you have an optimized site like these.
  20. JohnW

    JohnW Renowned Member

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    Google Keyword Tool already gives you the option to select searches made on Desk Top/Lap Top, All Mobile Devices, Mobile WAP or Mobiles with full Internet browser.

    I've seen some search categories for All Mobile searches hit 17% of all searches.

    According to Telstra, 46% of us already own Smartphones and they predict this to reach 60% in a few months. Bear in mind that we are only talking around 3 years since smartphones started to take off. The research is already telling us that 20% of users spend more time on the web via their mobile than on a desk top.

    Certain business categories are likely to be more reliant on mobile comms than others. Retailers and local service suppliers should be high on the use it or lose it list.

    Internet marketing has jumped into a totally new realm and if you think marketing to mobiles is about creating resized, simple web pages, you will miss out on much of what is possible.

    The early adopters are going to have a field day because there is so little competition - if they implement their strategies effectively. But that is unlikely to happen because we will have yet another huge group of self-proclaimed experts wasting small businesses' money.

    By the way, if you want access to a content management system and/or shopping cart that can publish pages for desk top, mobile phone or Facebook, send me a PM.

    Regs,
    JohnW
    1 person likes this.

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