More than half the mobile phones sold today are "smart phones" that can access the Internet. The tablet market is expected to grow by nearly 80% over the next four years, while the smart phone market is expected to grow by 70%. And, the desktop PC market is expected to shrink by about 8%. (Source: International Data Corporation - IDC)
That means fewer and fewer people will accessing the Internet from a desktop computer and more of them will be using mobile devices.
Is your association or chamber website ready for the mobile revolution?
If not, you could be disappointing your members – and prospective members – who may have trouble interacting with your website.
A website that does not have a mobile site forces compromise on the user. Features that require a mouse click may not work correctly. Text and photos may be too small to see easily.
A mobile website is a different animal than a standard site. It has to deliver the same information using different technology. There are two basic approaches to creating a mobile site: create a responsive web site that uses the same code and design to render the site the same way on all devices. Or, you can create a modified site that is delivered only to mobile and tablet users.
Should you create a mobile website? Here are three things to think about.
It's Easier to Use
Imagine trying to read a newspaper through a keyhole. That's what reading a desktop-only site a smartphone is like. You have to pinch and scroll to zoom in on what you want to see. Users may have a fat finger problem trying to select too-small navigation buttons.
A mobile-optimized size delivers easy-to-read text and buttons that are the right size for the users. Keep in mind that certain technology doesn't work on certain types of mobile operating systems, such as Flash video on Apple iOS devices. So if your website uses those technologies, your site visitors can't access that information on their mobile devices.
Mobile sites are also faster to download, so there's less waiting time. Visitors to your site will be able to quickly find what they're looking for, giving them a great reason to use your site again in the future.
But a mobile-optimized site has benefits beyond being easy to use. Your association will look up-to-date and tech savvy. Members will know they can get the information they need, regardless of the device they use.
Makes Your Members Happier
Your members will be able to whip out their tablet and visit your site sitting on the couch at home or waiting to catch a flight. Your site can be a go-to favorite for catching up on the latest industry news and trends.
New members can easily learn about the benefits of being a member and they’ll see that the association is keeping up with current technology trends.
If your website includes an online member directory, your members will gain more exposure - and more potential customers - if their information is easily found using mobile devices. Driving more business to your members (creating more value for them) will help your association improve member retention and generate new member sales.
Makes You Look Smart
Want to look like an industry leader? A mobile-friendly site builds your association's brand as an organization that keeps up with the trends.
Search engines such as Google and Yahoo love mobile sites, and a mobile site can help the search engine rankings for your whole Internet presence. Sites that aren't mobile friendly could be penalized in search engine results.
A mobile optimized site also lets you engage users with mobile-focused functions such as click-to-call and maps, making it even easier for them to interact more with your association.
And, if you use text messaging or QR codes to communicate with your members, directing them to a desktop site would be a mistake. Ensure they take the action you want them to by providing them links to mobile-optimized website content. You'll gain synergy from your marketing without extra cost, and position your mobile site as a valuable resource.
Take your association website to the next step with a mobile-friendly version that allows members to have a satisfying interaction with you on their favorite devices. Create more value for your members and grow your association. Ready to get started? Learn more about WebLink's websites for associations here.