Got a Website? What’s it like on an iPhone?

Last month, we proudly celebrated the first birthday of our ‘Getting Aussie Business Online’ joint initiative with Google.  With over 30,000 Australian businesses signing up for their free website with MYOB Atlas, we’re proud to help support the move online for many SME’s.

And this week, we’re excited to announce that all MYOB Atlas sites are now mobile ready!

Launching on Tuesday, MYOB Atlas sites are now optimised for mobile, displaying key information such as contact info, a map and opening hours in a mobile friendly format.  They also allow the user to switch to the full website to see all content and additional features.

Why is it so important to ensure your site is ‘mobile friendly’?  We asked MYOB’s Web Developer, Steven Wright to share his knowledge with you all, and some tips to help any business get mobile ready.

With more and more people getting online from a smartphone (Android for me, iPhone for the ‘think different’ conformists), there is increasing evidence to suggest you should, at least, think about that potential customer who hopefully finds your site on their mobile. While you might not be getting droves of traffic from mobiles, it’s going to become a bigger part of business. “Global mobile data traffic grew 2.3-fold in 2011, more than doubling for the fourth year in a row“, a Cisco report highlight.

Without looking at your site on your phone, you don’t know what you don’t know. Hopefully it’s okay, but if you haven’t thought about it, it mightn’t work. For example, if you have a simple Flash site, you’re customers will have a hard time just to tell you things aren’t right. Before even an introduction, they could be on to your competition.

Where do you start?

There are a couple schools of thought on building a mobile site – from the full experience with responsive design, to a simple page that gives a quick hello, then lets you use the desktop browser version it was designed for. But, as with most things, the bigger the job, the higher the cost. So, your plan of attack needs to be considered and justified.

But as a starting point, here’s what you should think about.

1) What does your site look like?

Try it now – pull out your phone and see what happens. If you don’t have a smart-phone, try free online tool, MobiReady.

2) What are your customers (actually) looking for?

SO, you sell ‘wizard dust’. How do customers find you, and then get what they want on your normal website. Now, try it on the mobile… If you can think of the top tasks your customers want from you online – and on their mobile – you might be able to help the majority of customers with not too much work. It’s about identifying what your customers want. Might be easier said than done if you’re not sure (there are some complex tools to make this information accessible – like the Google Analytics – warning, it’s techy), but put your critical thinking cap on.

3) What should be improved for smartphones?

Do you really need the whole kit and caboodle, or will a simple page or two (or 5, for example) cover off on the little adventures your customers are (mostly) going through. A single page might be all you need – and this could be a quick win… Just a simple ‘give us a call to allow us to help you best, or feel free to use our website’ may be good enough.

4) Get some professional advice

Once you have decided what you think would work best, you are in a better position to ask for what you want. In addition, being able to articulate what you want will help the web developer know what to build (and how much to quote). Start simple, and see how it goes for you.

At MYOB, we took the approach of using a little more data, to really form a strong opinion on what smartphone users wanted. We did this using Google Analytics, which allows for insights into user behaviour (don’t worry, we don’t know who you are!). Information like ‘on an iPhone, the top pages are xx/yy/zz’. Based on our learnings, we identified people were interested in getting in touch with MYOB and product research. So, essentially, that’s what the site gives mobile users. Pretty simple!

Everyone has their own needs. It’s also a balance between the effort/cost required, and the return. And at the end of it, you might not really need a mobile site – but at least you are asking the question. And on that note, you might notice the MYOB Pulse doesn’t have a mobile site. Compared to other areas of the site, it wasn’t as crucial piece of the puzzle. Sure, that will change soon, but like all businesses, it’s the balance. From our own insights, Sep to Nov ‘11, mobile users accounted for 6 percent of blog traffic. And Dec to Feb ’12, it was 12 percent. So, it’s growing, and things do change…

Google tells us 4 out of 5 businesses with websites don’t do a great job for their smartphone customers.

So, do you have a website? What’s it like on a smartphone?