It’s more important than ever to make sure your business is mobile friendly, not just in terms of your website, but also how well you use your smartphone to streamline your business activities, from accounting to advertising. There are big risks involved in not having a mobile friendly business, and here are some of the main ones.
The mobile tipping point
In early 2014, mobile app use reached a tipping point when it came to consuming online content. For the first time, more people were using mobile apps to access the internet than their computers. This means that if you don’t have a mobile friendly site, you are missing out on all those consumers who have migrated to mobile. More businesses are advertising on mobile, with 49% of ad spend on mobile in 2015. The percentage of digital ad spending on mobile devices is estimated to reach 72% by 2019.
Google rewards mobile-friendly website
In April 2015, Google altered the search engine algorithm it uses to rank websites to give more importance to those sites that are mobile friendly. Businesses immediately scrambled to make sure their sites had these new mobile attributes so they could retain a high Google ranking – because the higher your ranking, the more people Google’s search engine sends to your website.
Basics of a mobile friendly site
Simply put, a mobile friendly site is one that displays well on smartphones and tablets. Some sites can be switched to a mobile friendly format, with larger font for improved legibility and larger, centralised images. You may have to sacrifice menus since they take up a lot of space on the smaller phone screen, and lose some of the bulkier items such as videos that take a long time to load.
Often when browsing on a smartphone, a message appears that says a video is not playable on a mobile device. It may be because a licence constrains that media from playing or that it uses Flash, which is not available on some smartphones. You can side-step this by using HTML5 standard tags to include videos or animations.
If the touch elements are too close, the font too small and you use Flash, this all counts against the mobile usability of your site and you risk falling in Google’s rankings.
From the mobile site to the mobile office
As we’ve seen, mobile apps have taken over from PCs in the competition for consumer attention. So it makes sense to follow the trend, from the web to your business practices.
For example, there’s an app that allows online faxing from your phone. The eFax app uses your existing email browser. Documents are attached to an email and addressed to a fax number (attachments can be up to 1GB).
They are then sent online. Online fax technology is based on a virtual fax number, which doesn’t require additional line rental.
Online storage in the cloud
Another way to use your smartphone is to access your business data in the cloud, thus overcoming the phone’s limited storage capacity and enabling you to work from anywhere. Online storage in the cloud gives you unlimited capacity and data encryption, which means your accounts and sensitive documents are safer in the cloud than they might be on your own computer networks. Online fax systems like eFax also archive sent faxes in the cloud for later access.
Rather than download them to a particular computer, it’s even possible to use office programs such as MYOB in the cloud. You can access these anywhere you have an internet connection, and your data is safely backed up in the cloud. Online bookkeeping can even synch up with banks to streamline your banking.
If your business doesn’t move with the times and get mobile friendly, you run the risk of losing consumer attention in a world where everyone is going mobile, and you’re likely to be slowing your business operations down.