As I talk to small business owners about their websites, I routinely remind them they must create web pages for two types of visitors; live human beings and search engines spiders. Live human beings like pages which load quickly, pretty pictures, the occasional flash image and simple navigation to find what they want. In contrast, the spiders don’t care about the pictures, the flash, or even the navigation. The spiders focus on the content; key words, phases, page titles and tags.
Serving these two masters is challenging enough, but now we have a third, important audience to consider – the mobile community. Why should you care about what your website looks like on someone’s mobile phone? Because every expert agrees mobile already represents a significant portion of your visitor traffic and that number is expected to continue to grow.
Depending on the expert the time line varies, but Mary Meeker of Morgan Stanly shook the industry to it’s core with her prediction that Mobile will overtake Desktop users within five years. This chart from her presentation shows the tremendous acceleration of mobile users over the next few years.
What does this mean to you as you develop your website? It means real changes in your design. Now you need to consider how the page will size and scale for a 2 – 3 inch screen. This is one of the reasons we really like to work with WordPress. The pages look as good on an iPhone as they do on a desk top.
Flash images and most video is simply invisible on smart phones. While the feud between Apple and Adobe over the next generation of flash rages, my advice to small business owners with limited budgets for web design, is to hold off investing in this type of image, and stick to platforms which work now. You can always update later.
Does this mean you have to have boring static websites to be compatible with mobile? No! There are many products which will create interesting effects on your phone. My advice, be sure to ask for a demo before you buy!
If you have any questions at all, please give Roundpeg, an Indianapolis web design company, a call!