Optimizing Your Business Website for Mobile at No Cost
If you have not yet optimized your business website for mobile devices, you ought to.
At least one company will do it free of charge – it’s counting on customers to upgrade to its premium version at $9 per month.
New York City-based bMobilized made a service available last month that converts existing business websites into mobile-optimized websites for free. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Oslo-based bMenu. The process takes its algorithm about 30 seconds each, says Bjorn Holte, founder of the company. It has already processed more than 2 million, says Holte. If you want to mobile-optimize your own company website with the free bMobilized service, go to http://mobilizingusa.com/.
Many small-business owners believe that because they are able to search for their company on their smartphone and pull up their website on their device, they have a mobile website, says Holte. But without a website that is specifically optimized for a mobile device, you might be losing customers. A website that has been optimized for mobile devices will have a company name and identifying information easily readable and the graphics of the website will be streamlined so that a customer does not have to squint or zoom in to see critical information.
“The small and medium-sized businesses don’t really understand what a mobile website is,” says Holte. “We thought, ok, if we give them a free mobile website, which is fully functioning, and once they start using that, we have the option to upgrade them to our like a premium version.”
There are a few other options business owners can use to optimize their existing websites for mobile, including Google’s GoMo initiative, says Hadas Sheinfeld, vice president of product management at Tel Aviv-based ClickTale, a customer user-experience analytics company. Regardless of which service you use, entrepreneurs “have to optimize for the mobile experience because it is very, very different than the desktop experience,” she says. “People will access the website through a mobile device with different needs than they would from a desktop device, they are looking for different things.” Also, customers are very impatient on websites that are not intuitively designed for mobile devices, says Sheinfeld.
The premium version of the mobile website with bMobilize costs $9 a month. You will be able to add plug-ins, explains Holte. For example, one popular option is the ability for customers to tap a phone number to dial it. Another popular plug-in is a geolocation service where customers can determine how far away they are from the store. A third is providing the ability for your customers to share their experience at your store on social media sites including Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest, he says.
The free mobile-optimized website is better than nothing at all, says Sheinfeld. An algorithm-driven mobile optimization is not necessarily going to be perfect on the first try, she says. You will have to monitor what your site’s visitors are most interested in. “Human beings are very complex creatures and there is no way of identifying in advance everything that will work or not work,” says Sheinfeld.
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.