mzl.fjlpubue.320x480-75There was a time, just a few short years ago, when having a website was unnecessary. People looked up businesses using the phone book, and asked friends and family for recommendations. Businesses promoted themselves by advertising through traditional channels (like mailers, flyers, billboards, television ads, and magazine ads), or earned new business through word of mouth referrals.

It was a simpler time.

But then came the Internet.

The website revolution

At first, having a website wasn’t that important. It wasn’t a well-developed channel, and the majority of a business’s customers still came from elsewhere. Over time, however, the Internet became more and more significant. Now, most businesses can’t survive without their website. There are, of course, certain exceptions, but if you want to succeed nowadays, even as a small, local business, a website is generally a must-have.

The same change is now taking place with mobile technology.

Why the mobile revolution is the same

Once, mobile phones were just like ordinary phones, without the cord. Now, each one is a miniature computer. And with the rise of smartphones and affordable data plans, consumers have eagerly made the switch from desktop browsing to mobile browsing. In fact, over half of Internet traffic comes from mobile devices in many industries and geographic locations. And even where the 50% mark hasn’t been exceeded, the trend lines generally indicate that it will be soon enough.

The world is going mobile.

So, why is this a big deal? Well, if your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you might as well not have one at all when it comes to mobile visitors. Sound extreme? Studies of user behavior show that if a site isn’t mobile-optimized, most users hit the back button and rarely return. Instead, they head to competing websites and bring their business with them.

If your website isn’t mobile-optimized, you simply “don’t exist” to what will soon the majority of users, if it hasn’t happened already. It’s a harsh reality, but there’s also a huge opportunity to get ahead, if you’re willing to meet the issue head on.

Think mobile-first

You wouldn’t depend entirely on the phone book for your business, right? Mobile is coming to be the same way. Depending solely on a website that isn’t mobile-optimized is a very costly mistake, and these losses will only grow in the coming year.

For that reason, when it comes to the Internet and digital marketing, you need to think mobile first in 2014. That’s where everyone will be.

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