(By Susan Gunelius)
“Rather than creating two separate websites (a traditional site and a mobile site), you could create a single site that will render correctly on both computers and mobile devices. Responsive web design is an increasingly popular option for companies with tight budgets and limited resources. All development and ongoing maintenance efforts and money can be invested into a single site rather than spread between two sites. It’s the best of both worlds approach to going mobile.“
Right now, consumers are using their mobile devices to find the types of products and services your business offers. Can those consumers easily access the information they need about your products and services using their smartphones and tablets? Is your company website mobile-friendly?
Depending on your business, your customers, and their needs, you might choose to pursue one or more mobile solutions, but making your website mobile-friendly doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Here are four different approaches to offering your content to mobile audiences:
1. Mobile Website
A simple solution to turn your website into a mobile site is to recreate a version optimized for mobile devices. This approach ensures that all of your content and site features will load correctly on mobile devices while offering the exact user experience consumers get from your traditional website. There are many affordable tools that can help you turn your website into a mobile-friendly site. Some popular options include Mobify, Mofuse, MobiSiteGalore and Wirenode.
Mobile expert Jody Resnick, CEO of Trighton Interactive, explains, “A mobile site is probably the cheapest alternative, ranging anywhere from $13.00 per month for a single website with only 10 pages and 2 GB hosting space from MobiSiteGalore to over $1,000 per month for unlimited views, unlimited domains, and unlimited users from Mobify. It all depends on what the client wants.”
However, he’s quick to point out that your decision shouldn’t be based on price alone. “Like most things in life, you get what you pay for,” warns Resnick. “A cheap mobile site with limited accessibility, limited content, and limited opportunities for optimization won’t engage consumers or generate the leads businesses expect from their mobile websites. The small monthly fee could be money wasted just to say you have a mobile site.”
2. Responsive Website
Rather than creating two separate websites (a traditional site and a mobile site), you could create a single site that will render correctly on both computers and mobile devices. Responsive web design is an increasingly popular option for companies with tight budgets and limited resources. All development and ongoing maintenance efforts and money can be invested into a single site rather than spread between two sites. It’s the best of both worlds approach to going mobile.
Resnick suggests that a responsive web design can be an affordable and effective solution to making your website mobile-friendly. He says, “My preference is a fully responsive website, costing anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000 or more, again depending on the design and functionality. The advantages of a responsive site—elegant display and full functionality on any device, enhanced search engine optimization and single site management—make a responsive site the best investment for a business that really wants to be a player in the mobile era. ”
3. Mobile App
Depending on the reasons why consumers want to access your website from their mobile devices, you might want to create a task-oriented mobile app rather than a separate mobile website. For example, a large segment of airline customers typically want to accomplish a few specific tasks when they’re on the go. They want to check flight times and status updates, and they might want to make reservations. A mobile app that is strictly used for scheduling, ticketing and alerts would be extremely useful to these consumers. There are some companies that offer affordable mobile app development, such as Mippin’s Appsme, or you can hire a mobile app developer to create a fully-customized app at a higher cost.
However, just because mobile apps are hot right now doesn’t mean that a mobile app is right for your business. Resnick warns, “Mobile apps or a hybrid solution combining a mobile site with a mobile app are typically much more expensive than a mobile site alone. A cheap app would cost approximately $49.00 per month, but users know a cheap app when they see one and generally will not use it. In contrast, a custom developed app can cost a minimum of $15,000 to $25,000, depending on the design and functionality. ”
4. Hybrid Solution
A hybrid mobile solution includes both a mobile website component as well as a mobile app component. A company that chooses a hybrid solution wants consumers to be able to quickly and easily perform very specific tasks using a mobile app, but anything outside of those specific tasks requires that consumers visit the company’s mobile website.
It is possible to go mobile on a budget, but you need to make sure your approach aligns with your strategic goals.
Resnick explains, “A business can make their website mobile on the cheap, but their ROI is probably going to be directly related to their investment. A business can develop a mobile site with basic lead generation for as little as $2,500, or they can contract with a company like MobiSiteGalore and have a small site hosted for $156 per year. On the other hand, they can spend $15,000 to $25,000 minimum for custom mobile app development, or they can spend around $5,000 for a fully responsive website with basic lead generation or more than $25,000 for a custom designed responsive website with e-commerce capabilities.”
The ultimate decision should factor in your business goals, your consumers’ needs, and your budget. Always prioritize the user experience and delivering something your target audience wants and needs. Match the mobile audience’s needs with the right content and the right ways to get that content, and you’ll create a mobile solution that adds to your ROI rather than just draining your marketing budget.
“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”