Small Screens can have a big impact

Mobile phones have revolutionised the way we use the Internet in a relatively short space of time. Since the launch of the first iPhone in 2007 the use of mobile phones for accessing online content has grown rapidly, and in 2013 the number of mobile users overtook desktop users for the first time.

Some businesses have been quick to make the most of this growing market, but many businesses still do not effectively promote themselves for mobile users.

There are many ways to promote yourself on mobile devices. Here are some of the most common strategies.

Responsive Website Design

Whether you already have a website, or you are looking to build a new website you should be aware of how the website works on smaller screens. As you move from a large desktop monitor to a tablet and mobile phone, the screen size gets smaller, and therefore your website should adapt to fit the space available.

This website is a good example of how a responsive design works. If you are looking at the website using a desktop screen you will see the “full width” version of the design. As the screen size gets smaller, the elements on the page rearrange and resize accordingly to better fit the size of the screen. This means when you are viewing the website on a mobile device you don’t have to keep zooming in and out to read text, you don’t have to continually scroll left and right to read a full line of text, and links and buttons are easier to press.

Having a responsive design website also means there is only one website for you to check and maintain. In the early days of mobile Internet, website owners would typically create a separate copy of their website to be served to mobile users. This caused some problems with keeping the websites up to date, and also risked duplicate content penalties from search engines. The evolution of the responsive design solved this as it solved the problem of serving mobile users properly, while still only having a single website.

Another benefit of a responsive design is it can help you rank higher in search engines such as Google. In 2015 Google changed the way it ranks websites to favour mobile friendly websites. The media dubbed this change “mobilegeddon” as it marked a fairly major statement by Google that it prefers websites that can adapt to mobile sized screens.

Mobile Apps

If you have a smartphone or tablet you have probably used a mobile app. Most mobile devices come with some basic apps pre-installed such as email, calendar, a web browser and such like. You can download more apps for your phone too, for iOS you can access apps from the App Store, and on Android devices you use Google Play Marketplace.

Mobile apps are a good way to promote your business, especially if you have a specific task to solve or tool for customers to use. Your customers can download your app to their phone or tablet and have instant access to your content.

There are two popular ways to create a mobile app. You can create a web based app, or a native app built specifically for that device.

Web Based Mobile Apps v Native Mobile Apps

A web based app is built upon standardised technologies such as HTML and JavaScript to build a solution that will work across all platforms. This means you only have to build the app once for it to work on iOS (iPhone and iPad) and Android devices. This can save you a lot of time and money, and also means you only have one app to maintain and update in the future.

The main drawback with web based mobile apps is you are limited with the features you can use on each device. That’s where a native mobile app has the advantage. This means you build an app specifically for a device, e.g. the iPhone. You build the app around the features that device has. This can lead to a fairly advanced and impressive app. However you then have to rebuild the app for other devices such as Android devices. This obviously leads to an increase in cost both up front and also moving forward in the future.

Native apps are usually preferred by larger companies with a budget for the extra development involved.

If you want more information about how your business can make the most out of mobile technology please don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss what options area available to you.

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