Mobile-Friendly Site: Should You Bother?

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In case you didn’t know, getting a .mobi domain name is not enough to make your website mobile phone friendly. But should you bother optimizing your website for cell phone users?

Barry Welford, from StayGoLinks, points out that according to the International Telecommunication Union, there has been a staggering worldwide growth in cell phone usage. This should not come as a surprise to anyone; I bet even your seven-year-old daughter owns a cell phone by now. Take a look for yourself:

Now, although many cell phone users have browsers on their phones, let’s face it, you can’t do a lot of browsing on a flip phone. Personally, I have a nervous breakdown every time I try to type in the URL into a phone with no QWERTY keyboard. Thank goodness for my Treo 650!

So how many people actually own a smart-phone? According to M:Metrics’ July 2006 study, the US is way behind the Europeans in smart-phone usage, with only 2% in smart phone penetration. The good news is that over 54% of US smart-phone owners browse the Internet.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but after we subtract gadget freaks, computer geeks (unless they are your target audience, of course) and maybe a few teenagers who “text” all the time, we are not left with much.

For now, web browsing on the cell phone is an agony, even if you own a smart-phone. Businesses will not be encouraged to optimize their website for mobile phones until more people start browsing the Web on their phones. On the other hand, users won’t use mobile Internet until websites become more cell phone friendly. However, for most businesses, it is not yet the time to start worrying about the traffic from mobile devices.

About the Author

Andrey Milyan was the first editor-in-chief of Search Marketing Standard, the leading print publication covering the search marketing industry. He has been following and reporting on industry developments for over 10 years. Andrey now works in the paid search sector of a prominent search marketing agency.

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6 Comments

  1. Unfortunately it's a chicken and an egg situation, Andrey. However the demand will be strongly there when the supply arrives. So the race will go to the swift. Thanks for mentioning my post and congratulations on your blog. It's a great complement to your fine magazine

  2. Andrey Milyan

    Welcome to our blog, Barry. I am glad you enjoy it.

    I could not agree with you more. Although I did take a negative standpoint on the issue of mobile Internet in my post, I have to agree that this is a market to watch.

    And thanks to your blog, I am able to following the new developments in the mobile sphere ;)

    Thank you for stopping by.

  3. There are more than 2.5 billion mobile phone users in the world and mobiles outsell PC at a 4-to-1 ratio. The audience is there, waiting for the content to go to.

    Ross Dunn at WebProNews recently defined some of the issues in regards to mobile search / discovery (and how .mobi plays into that). His article is worth reading in relation to your comments (see http://www.webpronews.com/blogtalk/blogtalk/wpn-58-20061214StakeYourClaimontheMobileWeb.html).

    And if you want to read a little more about search and .mobi, we've discussed the mobile search issue on our own blog at http://dotmobi.typepad.com/dotmobi/search/index.html.

  4. Andrey Milyan

    Hi Vance,

    Thanks for the links.

  5. Harry

    I've posted some responsive comments at my blog about mobile travel information,
    http://blog.travelosa.com/2007/01/agonizing-web-experience.html

  6. I have purchased a few tactical .mobi domains but am a little unsure how the page siz will be reduced for a mobile phone or pda???? Cheers David