But in addition to making information more accessible than a mobile friendly site, optimizing your site gives you the freedom to pick and choose what you want to display on a phone.
A mobile friendly site takes everything from your desktop-designed website and dumps it onto a mobile device. With an optimized site, however, an aerial park could remove certain pages or images to streamline the experience on a phone.
Consider this: if you know that mobile visitors want to find contact information and tour offerings, you could take out extraneous pages that don’t help these aims. In doing so, you’ll make it easier for the mobile user to navigate on her small screen and also help your site load faster.
The drawback is that a mobile optimized site is almost like having two separate websites. It will be your job to maintain your mobile and your desktop sites in tandem. The up-front costs of an optimized site can vary widely, from $13 per month to over $1,000 per month. Designers note that even with lower fees at the outset, your bill could add up over time as you make updates to your desktop and mobile sites separately.
3. Responsive Design
As the name implies, responsive sites dynamically adjust their appearance to suit the device and the size of the screen. This is the most elegant option in mobile design, and many find they’re killing several birds with one stone if they choose this path.
Unlike a mobile optimized site, which exists separately from your desktop website, you don’t have to duplicate your site for mobile to make it responsive. This is why many businesses opt to pursue this type of design. While the budget may be steeper up front, you only have to manage one website. Any updates you make automatically apply to visitors across mobile and desktop devices.
The best way to understand responsive design is to see it in action. Denver Adventures nails it on all fronts—from your phone to your desktop. Test what happens when you shrink your desktop window so that it’s long and skinny. The layout adjusts as the width narrows, but everything still remains easy to read.
Your 3 Next Steps Toward a Better Mobile Website
With all this in mind, here’s how to properly invest in a mobile site that will boost your business:
- Make sure it’s responsive. Do not make your customers pinch their mobile screens to book a tour. Implement designs that make it easy for visitors to navigate from their phones.
- Remember that technology changes. Even if you already have a responsive or optimized site, your work is not yet over. At the rate that technology and design are changing, it’s important to revisit the content and design of your website every 1½ – 2 years.
- Measure, measure, measure! Data should be at the core of every decision you make. How else will you know if your money is being spent wisely? Don’t do 90 percent of the work only to never make it to the finish line. By analyzing your website’s mobile usage metrics, you can fully calculate the return on your investment.