Most B2B marketers are still catching up to the booming use of smartphones. One in four mobile users report making a purchase for their businesses by phone, yet over 50% of all B2B sites are still not using mobile optimization. If your site does not really work well on a phone, you need to fix it.
Technically, there are two paths to a mobile solution: responsive design or a standalone site. Both solutions implement user-agent detection to quickly switch from large to small screen. Responsive design adapts the layout and content of a desktop site to fit the constraints of a phone’s touchscreen. A standalone mobile site, dynamically linked to your desktop content, is purpose- built for mobile.
- Responsive: You build a website using a responsive template or custom design. Popular content management system WordPress offers free or inexpensive responsive templates, and there are lots of proprietary site building resources like Weebly or SquareSpace. A custom-designed responsive site may be the only decision if you have specific brand image needs or want bells and whistles. Responsive solutions are limited by practical, technical issues affecting page layout, content, resolution and ease of use. But you’ll have one site built on one code base, with SEO and marketing advantages. The upfront cost of professional design/build is substantial, but you’ll get a custom solution that meets your needs exactly.
- Standalone: You create a standalone mobile site that mirrors your desktop site with dynamically linked content. Advantages are optimized user experience with speed to market and low upfront cost. A mobile site service like Dudamobile or Mobdis uses proprietary DIY site-build engines to adapt content from your desktop site using templates and automated solutions. Vendors like WompMobile use a professional designer/developer to custom build your dynamically linked mobile version, at a low cost. All use a monthly subscription fee for hosting and support.
Which route to choose? You’ll hear pros and cons for both from online marketers, web developers and designers. Microsoft and FedEx use responsive sites. Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and USPS use standalone.
Clearly, the decision is not based on a lack of resources, and it’s not because these companies are behind the times. They all spent a great deal of effort coming up with their mobile strategies and they ultimately decided that responsive web design was not the best solution for them.
Voxus recently redesigned its website and has just completed the decision process outlined above. With its interactive elements, optimizing our new site for mobile devices won’t be easy. But with so many potential customers accessing information via smartphones, we are pushing forward and implementing a mobile solution.
Your strategy needs to meet the needs of your customers, too…and they all use their phones to conduct business. So whether you choose the responsive or standalone mobile optimization path for your website, it’s a choice that needs to be made.