Getting your website mobile ready should be a huge priority for small business owners in 2014. Google has been making updates to its ranking algorithm to include factors for mobile websites, and website traffic from mobile devices is booming. There are many ways of doing this, whether it's designing a separate mobile page optimized for viewing on mobile devices, or making the website responsive in design, so it can adapt to different screen sizes. Watch today's Daily Brown Bag to learn why it's so important for small businesses to get their websites mobile ready this year.


Hello, and welcome to the Daily Brown Bag. Today, we’re going to be talking about making your website mobile ready in 2014. I’m Chad Hill, and I’m joined by Adam Stetzer.

Yeah, good morning, Chad. Welcome to the Brown Bag! So, everybody’s back! They’re ready to be productive! It’s a new year, and they’re trying to evaluate their priorities. A lot of people are looking at their websites and thinking, “What should I be doing?” It’s always a long list, and you can only get to some of it, so it’s a matter of prioritization. A lot of people are thinking that mobile is where they really need to focus in 2014--getting their sites really mobile-ready and starting to really recognize and let this data sink in that, Chad, I know we’ve been reporting on for months now. More and more people are accessing your website, at least in some session, through a mobile avenue.

So, for those who are not convinced, here are some stats to make the case. Trinity Digital Media estimates that over than 1.2 billion people are now accessing the web via a mobile device. Cisco has predicted that by the end of 2013, that’s a little old, there will be more mobile devices on the planet than there are people. It will be interesting to see, now, if that came true. The average age for getting your first cell phone is now at 13 years old, which is startlingly young for for those of us with families. Recent stats from the Pew Research Center show that 56% of U.S. adults are now smartphone users -- that’s half the population. Half the consumers in the U.S. are using smartphones. So, I think the discussion here, Chad, as we move into 2014 and try to think of priorities for your website is what small businesses should do to make sure that they’re ready for this mobile traffic, which is clearly on the rise.

We have a couple tips for them, so we’ll walk through those. But, I think one of the interesting things in some of these reports, Adam, is that it said that not having a mobile website is sort of the equivalent of closing your store one day a week. Now, that probably varies from industry to industry, because clearly there are some industries that are more heavily mobile oriented than others, but it really is getting to a point where, for a long time, mobile was always coming, but again, your stats show that it’s here, and people still haven’t really taken these basic actions we’re about to go through. So, here are four simple tips.

  1. Use responsive website design. What that means is that there are sort of two different paths to having a mobile website. In the last couple years, some people would go out and create a stand-alone website just for mobile devices while the sort of web design standards caught up with what is now called “responsive design,” which basically takes your same website you would see on a desktop and also makes it look nice on a smaller mobile device. We recommend that if you’re facing this decision in 2014, go with the responsive design path. It’s one less thing to mess around with. You’re going to have one website that works across all the different devices.
  2. Especially for people who are looking or in their car and on their way to your business, make sure you prominently place your phone number and your address on your website, usually in the header as well as in the footer, because a lot of times, phones will simply allow you to click on a number and call it without having to hunt around inside the navigation of your website.
  3. Give a link to a map. So Google Maps, if you provide a link, in most cases that will open up the mobile version of that mapping software (Google Maps, Bing, or whatever you use). Give that link to the maps so that people can find you easily.
  4. Think about what people are going to be looking for on their mobile device. Again, sometimes you can actually have a page that is your mobile landing page. In other cases, you just want to think about what’s on the home page anyway. But, don’t put too many words across your website. Make sure you get to the point on the homepage. Give simple links to things people might be looking for when they’re coming in from a mobile device.

So that’s it, Adam! Those four simple tips should help people as they get ready for 2014 and the growth in mobile.

Very interesting, and I think there’s lots of interesting points here. One is, “Well, maybe people don’t find me via mobile.” That’s how some retailers feel, but the stats show that users migrate between mobile devices and desktops more fluidly than you’d think. They might start their search in one place and end it in another. So, understanding that path, ultimately, to conversion on your website might involve more of a mobile interaction -- a tablet or a smartphone -- than you may realize, and so you don’t want to block that path.

And to your point, not having a mobile site, I like your analogy, is like closing your store one day a week. That would, in the old days, be crazy. Why do that by not having your website mobile-ready? I talked to a local traditional retailer today,and he was telling me, Chad, that he’s going to close his store entirely because he’s been in the transition, and he’s now doing more business online, and the overhead of his store is just too much. So, he’s obviously going to be thinking about mobile quite a bit, and I ‘m sure there a lot of retailers who are in that position, or somewhere along this evolution, from brick-and-mortar to online. So, there are a lot of good tips for mobile to kick off 2014. Make sure it’s high up on your list! We, of course, would love your feedback and would love to see you back here for our Brown Bag tomorrow. Subscribe to our YouTube channel.