Why mobile websites waste time and money
By Mark MacDonald

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The signs are everywhere. We need to stop ignoring the trend. According to recent surveys from Pew Research Center, the information is gripping:

INDUSTRY PULSE

Is your mobile website a separate, standalone page from your desktop site?
  • 1. Yes
  • 2. No
  • 91 percent of Americans have cellphones
  • 56 percent have a smartphone
  • 34 percent have a tablet computer
  • 67 percent of cellphone users "check" phones regularly even if they don't get a notification
  • 29 percent say they couldn't imagine living without their phone
Mobile is everywhere, and it's here to stay. We love the convenience of having information in our "back pocket." I admit it, I have the smartphone disease: constantly checking email and social media, researching the internet and texting. I rarely use my phone for calling. It's hard to believe we got here — this quickly.

In three years, Pew saw nearly a doubling of cellphone internet usage (55 percent). We're coming to the tipping point where more people will access your website on a mobile device than on a desktop device. Therefore, you need a mobile website.

But you really don't need a mobile website. You need a responsive site.

"Huh?", you ask. Let's define some words and concepts. A mobile site usually is a separate standalone website from your desktop website. When someone accesses your URL via a mobile device, it automatically redirects to an edited-for-mobile website. This allows less scrolling, easy menu/link selection with your thumb and limited content for when you're "on the go."

It's served well, until now. Usually with this method you had to pay for two distinct website builds, design and content management system setups; and you had to keep both sites up to date. It wastes time and money. There's a better way.

Enter responsive websites. These websites draw on one content management system (database). You keep the information up-to-date in one place, and three versions of your website (optimized for desktop, tablet and phone) "interpret" the data into the proper screen size. All automatically, based on browser window size.

Want to see it in action? Go to our website: beknownforsomething.com and resize your browser window (on your desktop, from large to small mobile size) and you'll witness the auto-organization function of a responsive site.

It really is — at this time — the best and simplest way to create a mobile environment that people feel comfortable with. Just make sure you're editing your menu items for the small-screen version to the content that people on-the-go would be looking for. And keep all your pages to minimal content (fewer than 50 words) with lots of eye-interrupters like bullet points.

Mark MacDonald is a blogger, speaker and strategist for PinPointCreative.com. He empowers churches to become known for something relevant through their services, ministries, websites and social media.