With an ever changing landscape of services and technologies, it’s hard for local businesses to keep up.   Foursquare is only 3 years old.  Google Places is about a year old.   It’s easy to forget that local businesses aren’t reading TechCrunch, Mashable and the blogs of Andrew Shotland or David Mihm – great resources by the way.

So it’s easy not to see the next big thing or what might be relevant to your business.

But the mobile Internet is undeniable and the statistics are staggering:

      – 100 million mobile searches per day

      – 95% of smartphone users conduct local online searches & 89% follow up that search by contacting the local business

– 1 billion people worldwide will use the mobile phone as their primary Internet device

      – Average smartphone usage tripled last year

Yet, according to BIA/Kelsey and VSplash, 93.3% of small and medium business websites are not mobile compatible.  It’s one thing not to have a mobile optimized website, i.e. a different interface specifically tailored for mobile web users.  It’s another thing to have your website not work at all.  Here are some tips on getting your website going for mobile:

  1. Flash is dead.  If you are on a Flash based website, switch.  Switch right now.  It’s not crawlable by Google so you won’t rank on search and it can’t be shown on an iPhone.   Either one of those is a killer.
  2. Keep Your Website Simple.   The easiest way to have a mobile optimized site is not to make your web site too complex.  The navigation should be simple.  The information I need (phone, address, hours, etc.) should be readily available. If you have lots of content, don’t put too much on the home page.   Make sure your navigation is clear.
  3. Use a Flexible Content Management System – We like WordPress (our site is based on it) because it’s easy to update and change, there are lots of experts to help you and there are mobile plug-ins that help.   Also take a look at Joomla and I am sure there are lots of others that are good.
  4. Put Your Business Name, Address and Phone on the Front Page – and Every Page – This is important for your Google Place page.  Google wants to verify that their Google Place page info is accurate.  So make it clear for them to see.  Make sure it’s crawlable.  Plus, your customers want to know.  Google Places is what powers all the mobile map searches right now.
  5. Go Big! Create a Separate Mobile Optimized Experience if You See a Lot of Mobile Traffic – You can create a separate organized view of your website that’s easier to navigate than a standard website.   That can be good if you see a lot of mobile visitors (check your Google Analytics).   Also, note that Google prioritizes mobile optimized website on mobile searches.   So creating a mobile-optimized website can actually boost traffic.

 

That should give you some quick tips to get going.  If you are on Flash, please read #1 again.   Need a new website?  We have people we work with that can help (a pro bono referral service we provide).  We are here to help point you in the right direction.  Let us know if you need help with local, mobile optimization.