Millions of people access websites on their mobile devices every single day. Does this mean you need a mobile site? The short answer is probably, but how to tell? If your site does have a lot of mobile traffic what should you do about it? Lets find out what your options are.
How To Tell if You Need a Mobile Site
The first thing you want to do is take a look at your analytics. You should be able to sort your site traffic by device. In Google Analytics for example if you go to Audience > Mobile > Overview you will get an overview of what mobile devices visit your site. If your site has very little or no mobile traffic, perhaps putting effort into a mobile site isn't the best use of your resources. If on the other hand you do have a considerable amount of mobile traffic, you want to make your site as easy to use for your mobile visitors as you can. This however can be tricky. There's a range of mobile devices from tablets to smartphones all have different capabilities and view sizes. How can you make it look good on all of these devices?
How To Test Your Site for Mobile
You have a site, but does it already support mobile? Maybe you aren't sure how it looks. You could get your friends/family/staff and everyone else you know to go test it for you on thier mobile devices, or simplify it with a trip to the website How To Go Mo. This site will test your site for you. Head over to the Mobile Meter page and see how your site stacks up.
Mobile Site Vs. Responsive Site
There's been a lot of talk lately in the web design/development community about responsive sites. The idea of having a responsive site is to ensure that no matter the device the site is viewed on the site will be usable, and look good. This is different from having a separate mobile site. Responsive sites are usually designed to be responsive from the moment they are developed. Creating a responsive site is best done when you are first designing or redesigning a site.
If you have an existing site it will be time consuming to convert it into a responsive site. It would be easier in this case to opt for a mobile site. Mobile sites are basically different version of the site especially for mobile devices. There are a number of ways to go about creating a mobile site, some as simple as installing a plugin! Wordpress for example has a number of plugins that will automatically create a mobile site for you. All you need to do is install and activate the plugin! Many of these plugins are free. So it's great if you are on a budget! There are also other options like Dudamobile, which will make a mobile site for you.
There's an App For That
Another option is to create an app for your site. There are two options when creating apps. One is to have the app coded in HTML 5, this app will work on both iOS and Android devices. This saves the time, money and effort of developing apps for individual operating systems natively. However, the design and functions may not be as smoothly integrated into the mobile device as you may wish. Native apps on the other hand are designed for a particular operating system. A iOS app will take full advantage of all the options iOS possesses, however if you also want an Android app it will have to be developed separately A native app may be a good option if your mobile traffic is all on one operating system.
Is your site responsive? Have you developed a mobile site? Tell us about your experience with mobile site visitors in the comments!