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Designing Mobile Web Sites to Engage Clients

Mobile ArtWith the pace of business moving faster each year, is your company doing everything to be accessible to your clients and prospects 24-7? Mobile-ready Websites are an increasingly common way to do this and are becoming a must in business. In fact, according to Morgan Stanley's Mobile Internet Report, more users may connect to the Internet via mobile devices than desktop PCs within five years.
From email to social media, your Website plays a critical role as a content destination. With that in mind, a mobilized Website has the potential to be the hub of your entire mobile strategy.

Your audience is accessing your content from wherever they are. Although many smartphones will view a full Website, there is a distinct difference between viewing a full site and a mobile-optimized site. Speed and usability are two of the more common issues. Depending on the mobile operating system the user may lose functionality of Flash, JavaScript and other features.

There are a few things to think about when developing your mobile site:

•Does your Web host have the capability to assist with this addition? If not, ask if it will be provided in the near future. You should be working with a company that you can rely on to have the latest technology tools available to you.
•Be sure your site delivers specific information. Mobile users aren’t surfing the Web hoping to stumble on useful information; they are looking to retrieve specific content from your site. Your links to content, contact information search and directions should be front and center.
•Can the mobile user quickly access the information needed? Two to three clicks might not seem like a lot on a regular Website, but the mobile user probably doesn’t have time to click more than twice for information.

There are three ways to make your Website more mobile-friendly:

1. Optimize the site to look good on a mobile device. Remove elements such as Flash and drop-down menus. This option may be enough for those who have simple Websites with a small number of pages.
2. Build a mobile template site separate from your current site, using m.YourCompany.com or YourCompany.com/mobile. The code can recognize and adjust to mobile browsers, but you will have to update your content in two different places and rely on keeping the software compatible with the current mobile operating systems. This option would work for companies with in-house Web designers dedicated to writing and running the code for your Website
3. Use hosted technology that can optimize the site as you update and edit from your content management system. The host will ensure the site is compatible with all smartphones. Tools like Mobify.me can provide a cost effective mobile content management system if you are easing into the mobile world.

Let’s face it, mobile is the future, and how quickly you can get there with your clients and prospects will elevate their appreciation for what you offer as a service provider.

Raissa Evans is the Senior Manager and Jen Lemanski is the Senior Specialist in the Practice Growth Department of Pannell Kerr Forster of Texas, P.C. You can reach them at (713) 860-1400 or find them on Twitter @raissaevans and @jenlemanski.

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