In the rush to develop a mobile app, too many organizations are overlooking an even more basic need: a mobile-friendly website.
Your website – the one that visitors find in search engines, follow links to in social media and from other sites, and visit when clicking links in your emails – is likely to be the first interaction point your audience has with you from their mobile device.
Think about the last time you were checking Twitter on your iPhone. You saw a story from the New York Times that looked really interesting. You clicked the link and BAM! No mobile site. “What is this, text for ants … it needs to be at least 3 times this size!?” Twitter doesn’t open up your New York Times app, it just sends you to the website. This is the case with most social media sites and often search engines as well.
The websites below aren’t the only great sites out there, but they are a few of my personal favorites that we can all learn from.
I have the app but you know what? I hardly ever use it because I almost always visit ESPN as the result of a tweet or Facebook post. They have put together a great site and are accomplishing several goals here. They are catering to their social media users which has to be driving their bounce rate even lower. Lower bounce rate is better for SEO and likely resulting in better search rankings in mobile searches. Double win!
Once again, they have a mobile app. But honestly, I don’t order Dominos often enough to warrant another app on my already crowded iPhone. To me, apps are meant for regular use (i.e. social media, news) or advanced functionality (a flashlight, Angry Birds, maps) and Dominos just doesn’t fall into that category. Plus, the site has the same functionality. We probably aren’t that far away from HTML5 apps but until then, keep the awesome mobile sites coming.
Would you expect anything less from the smartest e-commerce site of all time? Amazon knows full-well that a simpler buying experience leads directly to more sales. So what did they do? They built several apps (including the awesome price scanning app), a great mobile site and they even created their own mobile device! They are covering all of their bases, and its working. They sold more than $1 billion of products on mobile devices…2 years ago. They haven’t released sales data since but my guess is that is grown quite a bit.
An SEO niche site that is extremely popular for web marketers, Search Engine Land recognized that they don’t need an app. An SEO site should make its name on the web, not an app. It’s also just not worth building apps for several platforms and keeping them updated when their real focus is covering search engine news and writing great content (which they do very well).
When your audience visits your website from their mobile device, will their experience prompt them to write a blog post like the one I just wrote? Or are they more likely to leave as quickly as they arrived?