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Mobile Website Design: Waste Or Win?

There’s a debate, even among top SEO gurus, about where to ‘draw the line’ for certain types of SEO exercise. For example, at what point is a business too large to engage in “local” internet marketing? When is a business too small or niche to benefit from social marketing on a meaningful level? One of the more debated questions involves a subsection of web craft called mobile website design.

Mobile website design is one of those things that’s simple in reality, but hard to explain in words. Essentially, when you have a mobile device that has what the industry called “limited web capability” or “restricted Internet”, it means that the device isn’t compatible with standard HTML webpages, at least not fully. Many cannot process graphical formats that are standard on the Web, for example.

Because of the limited capability of those mobile devices, an entirely new breed of website sprang up, programmed not in HTML but in one of a few different languages created specifically for mobile-device websites. Mobile websites are small, virtually empty compared to the largely cluttered HTML world, and designed to load fast and be easily navigable on as screen that can be as small as 1.5 inches on the diagonal.

Mobile website design is belittled as wasteful by some SEO folks who claim that not enough people use their mobile devices to surf the Internet — and that most of the ones who can have devices that can interpret HTML, which the latest generation of 3G tablets and smartphones almost all can.

But what these gurus are missing out on doesn’t show up in their math: intent. Sure, a mobile website might only reach some 10%-15% of the population — but people that are searching from mobile devices are Coming. You don’t search from a smartphone if you’re at home wondering where to go for a product or service — your desktop is a much better choice for that.

You search from a smartphone when you need something — and when you’re a business, picking up those people who want what you have right now is a much more effective business strategy than just sticking your website out there and hoping people remember it when they’re on the road looking for what you’ve got. That’s why mobile website design isn’t a waste — it’s a winning strategy for small businesses in every industry.

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