Recently we have seen an increase in companies telling other businesses that their website needs to have a mobile version; whilst this is almost true, it is misleading and they are selling the wrong product.
There is a huge difference between a mobile version of a website and a mobile friendly website better known as a responsive website; make sure you know the difference.
Mobile version of a website
‘Mobile Version’ websites are usually in the form of m.asone.co.uk, asone.mobi or something of that nature. It is a completely different and separate website. This new website can end up competing with your main website and has to start from scratch in terms of ranking, getting domain authority, page rank and all of the other work you have done on your current website. Not only that but it will probably be the same content as your main site so can affect your rank because of duplicate content. These problems and many others can be overcome, but why overcome a problem when you can avoid it altogether with a responsive design?
The main cons of a mobile version website are:
- Poor ranking
- Only built for mobiles (What about tablets, glasses, watches, TV’s, Kindle’s and other devices?)
- Short-lived fad
- Two sites to maintain
- Duplicate content
- Off-the-shelf mobile site will probably be from a template so will look like everybody else’s
- Poor performance as it requires a redirect (penalty from search engines)
- Social sharing figures are diluted by users unknowingly sharing two different sites
Responsive web design
You may or may not have heard of this term, but you will probably have seen it in action. If you’re on a desktop right now, try resizing our website by dragging the corner to make it about the width of a phone and watch what happens. Now do the same thing to your website. Does your website change completely so that you can read the text easily and you don’t need to scroll left and right? If it does, it’s already mobile friendly, if not, it’s worth looking into your analytics data to see how many people visit through devices other than a desktop, and to check out their bounce rates.
Are the bounce rates on mobile devices higher than for desktop visitors? This could be down to having to zoom in to click on your links, not being able to view any Flash content, or it just being awkward to use.
Responsive websites are a lot more simple and give the user what they are looking for more quickly than a desktop website, as mobile users are normally looking for a phone number, or an email address or opening times, rather than a load of content.
All of these versions of the AsOne website are just done through CSS styling, meaning they are the same website, no duplicate content, it just depends on the size of your device as to what shows in which place.
Mobile versions of websites don’t have a place on the internet in our opinion. It is easier, more appropriate, more relevant and generally cheaper to add some additional styling code to your current website to give it the capabilities of changing layout, depending on the size of the screen on the device the visitor is using.
If a company has contacted you with the sales pitch of a mobile version of your website, don’t go for it, speak to a company like AsOne who can make your website responsive and easy to use on more than just mobiles and desktops.