The latest stats are truly staggering. According to CBS news, there are more than 5 Billion cell phones in use worldwide, and about one billion of these are capable of connecting to the internet.
In fact, there are more internet-connected mobile devices than there are desktop and laptops combined.
Because the use of mobile devices is steadily rising, it’s important that every real estate professional consider building a mobile-friendly website. Those that don’t, risk losing business to those that do… it’s just that simple.
If your mobile website is easy to find, attractive, easy to navigate, and offers your essential business information, you stand a good chance to gain a new client.
If you have a mobile device handy, you can click here or scan the QR code above to see my mobile website.
What Makes A Mobile Website Different From The One I Have Now?
Designing a mobile website can be a real challenge because there are so many inconsistencies between the devices used to access your website.
Some, like smartphones, have very small screens and others, like iPads have larger screens that can view sites in “landscape” format.
Some can view Flash-video content, and some, like the devices from Apple, cannot.
Some have relatively fast processors, and full-featured browsers, and some have neither.
Most do not have a full-sized keyboard, if they have a keyboard at all. Because of this, it’s important your mobile site be optimized for “touch screens.” This segment represents the fastest-growing segment of mobile devices, and nearly all of the new devices in production use touch-screen technology.
In general terms, here are the main things to consider when designing your mobile site:
- Your site should have a “flexible” layout… one that expands or contracts depending on the size of the mobile screen viewing it.
- The layout should not require the user to scroll left-to-right, nor should it require them to “zoom-in” or “zoom-out” if possible.
- Your site should be easy to navigate through the user’s touch screen.
- Your contact information should be easily found, and all of your phone numbers should use the “Click-to-Call” feature.
- Each page of your mobile site should be optimized to yield a small file size. Many devices have slow processors and will “slow to a crawl” if your page sizes exceed 75kb.
- If your clients come to your business location, consider adding an interactive “Google map” or some other functionality that will make it easy for your mobile visitors to find you.
Do I Need To “SEO” My Mobile Site?
SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is a set of techniques used to improve the “search engine ranking” of a web page, relative to a set of “keywords” or phrases.
The top search engines deliver different results to mobile visitors, so it is important that you optimize your mobile website just like you would your regular website.
The good news, however, is that the search engines like to rank mobile-friendly websites higher in the results. As a result, creating a mobile website will give you a better chance of getting search engine exposure.
It’s not my intent to teach you Search Engine Optimization, it’s far too complex a topic for this short blog post. However, I would recommend that you create unique content for your mobile website instead of using your existing content as-is.
In addition to seeing that your content is unique, it should also be succinct. Mobile visitors are typically in a hurry, and don’t require the full content displayed on your regular website.
How Will People Find My Mobile Site?
After you’ve built your mobile site, you’ll want to ensure that it can be found by your target market. Fortunately, some exposure can be achieved automatically.
Some website owners choose to put a “clickable link” on their regular site that reads something like, “Click Here for our Mobile Site.” If the visitor clicks the link, the mobile-friendly website is displayed.
Personally, I don’t like this approach. It forces the visitor to see the “non-mobile-friendly” website, and only displays the mobile version if they are fortunate enough to find the aforementioned link.
Instead, you can employ a “user agent redirect script” on your regular website. This way, your website will determine which “user agent” (just a fancy way of determining which browser is being used to access the website) is being used by the visitor. If it detects that a “mobile browser” is being used, it automatically displays the mobile-friendly version of the website.
This is far better as the visitor will see a pleasing layout right away… one that is optimized for a mobile device and one that can be easily navigated.
Still, I would suggest you provide your visitors a way of seeing your regular website if they really want to. Many “user agent redirect scripts” have a specific function that allows the script to be bypassed. If yours does, you can add a link to view your regular website.
In addition to using a “user agent redirect script,” I do suggest you optimize your mobile site for the search engines (SEO), and do your best to ensure that your current customers know about your new mobile site.
Some ideas include…
- Sending out an email newsletter that “unveils” your new mobile site
- Alerting your “fans” (via Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.) about your new mobile site
- Making a blog post about your new mobile website and asking for comments/feedback.
- Including a QR Code on the back of your business card that takes the user straight to your mobile site.
Of course, there are many other ways to market your mobile site, but these ideas will certainly help you jumpstart your marketing efforts.
I hope you found this information helpful, and I hope it helps you when designing your mobile website.
If you’d like professional help, I’m here for you. I’ve been building quality mobile websites for several years now and would love the opportunity to build one for you!
If you’d like to see how I can help, give me a call at: (925) 272-0743 or visit (looks best on your mobile phone): http://www.mobilistpro.com and complete the online form to request more information. When you contact me I’ll be happy to show you some of the sites that I have built for others. And unlike websites built for the desktop, mobile websites can be surprisingly affordable.
I look forward to talking with you and will do my best to help you increase your web exposure, get new business and outperform your competitors!