On January 9 2007 Steve Jobs announced the iPhone at the Macworld convention, and started a revolution in the way people consumed the web. As Apple and their competitors began shipping millions of smartphones to the masses, the need for websites compatible with the smaller screen became critical. The website world responded with a “mobile website”. The mobile website was designed as a separate site, that would be served up when it detected the user was on a mobile device. Then on January 27, 2010, Steve Jobs again changed the rules by announcing the iPad introduction at an Apple press conference, and website providers scrambled to update their strategy.
Many dealers still have these old mobile websites. Folks, your mobile website is a 2007 solution to a 2013 problem, and you should hate it for the following reasons:
Reason 1: You’re spending too much money. Logic tells us, if we build both a desktop site and a mobile site, it will cost more than building a single website. In addition, that same logic tells us if we have to maintain two websites, it will take more time versus one site. Maintaining two sites also introduces the chance for errors, omissions, and situations where the two sites have different data. Save your time and money by building one Responsive website.
Reason 2: Your SEO is not what it could be. Both Google and Bing are on record, they prefer a single Responsive website instead of multiple sites. For the search engines, a single website means indexing is easier, and increases the likelihood of delivering the desired content to the user. With multiple sites, your inbound linking strategy becomes confusing. Which links should you work to build, ones to your desktop or mobile site? The choice is clear, a single Responsive website results in superior SEO.
Reason 3: You’ve got 2 website addresses. Remember we said it was a band-aid approach, and having both a mobile and desktop website is a sloppy solution that delivers poor results. What happens if a desktop user Facebook-shares a page on your main website, but mobile shoppers click on the links? Redirects happen, and many times they happen poorly, delivering the wrong pages to the user and increasing abandon rate. have different addresses. Responsive gives you consistency, one site with same content and same experience.
Reason 4: Your Analytics are difficult to track. Our website analytics help us answer many questions for our marketing strategy, but two URLs results in misleading and confusing statistics. To get a true picture of your website results, you may need to combine multiple reports, and layer information. With a single website, you have a single analytics report, showing you where you’re having success, and where you need attention.
Reason 5: Your users hate your mobile website. Why do I feel this way? A separate mobile website is doomed from the beginning. We’re giving the shopper a different user-experience depending on the device they’re using, in many cases with conflicting content since we have to maintain them separately. In addition, nearly every mobile website is “limited function” which means not all of the content from the main website is included. For reasons listed above, a mobile shopper may be sent to pages that don’t exist, have conflicting information, throw the user onto a desktop site (pinch, zoom, scroll…leave) or simply give an error page. The old strategy of using redirects doesn’t always work, and is again…a band-aid strategy.
It’s time we stepped back a bit and re-evaluated our reactive strategy with multiple websites. Is it feasible to create a new website for every new mobile device that hits the market? Of course not. We need to replace our band-aid tactics with a strategic approach to build a single website that responds to whatever device is being used. Once we turn this page, and move forward with a single Responsive website, we no longer need to worry about new devices hitting the market, since we’re already compatible. We can focus on effective marketing, and stopping fighting technology.