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Inside Dental Technology

Jul/Aug 2012, Volume 3, Issue 7
Published by AEGIS Communications


Going Mobile

Top tips for mobilizing your website.

By Terry Fine

In this age of instant gratification, mobilizing your website is imperative to reach your audience and rise above your competition. Today’s consumers are more impatient than ever and you cannot afford to make them wait. With the rise in content consumption come more avenues available for marketing. According to a recent study by the ADA, 52% of dentists use a smartphone, and 61% of younger dentists said they feel lost without their mobile phone or access to the internet.1 With the cost-effective tools available to companies these days, web mobilization has even become possible for companies with very limited budgets.

Mobile is the fastest-growing source of traffic on the internet, and use of this can drastically increase the number of potential customers. When your website is mobile, it means you have a presence in the market at all times and you can easily connect your customer to your business. This is a big advantage when it comes to getting more visitors, sales, and for
developing customer loyalty. The three main ways to mobilize your website are discussed below.

Use a Mobile-Friendly Plugin on Your CMS Website

If your website was designed in a content management system (CMS) such as Joomla (www.joomla.org), Drupal (www.durpal.org), or WordPress (www.wordpress.org), there is a plugin that detects when customers are viewing your website on their mobile devices. Once installed, everyone accessing your site from a mobile phone will be presented with a mobile-friendly view of the site. Photographs are scaled to fit the horizontal dimensions of a phone screen and videos are converted to the 3GP format commonly used on
most phones.

Create a Full Mobile Version of Your Website

This is coded in a programming language such as HTML and can be used across all web-capable mobile operating systems, but it usually requires the internet to function. This is a version of your website that has been optimized to be accessed on mobile devices and contains content that can also be found on the normal version of the website.

Develop a Mobile Application

A mobile application is software written for mobile devices that performs a specific task, such as a game, calendar, music player, etc. These are designed to be installed on your phone and typically do not need the internet to function. Dental Rx (www.dental-rx.com) is an example of a mobile app that allows dentists to send both a prescription form and photographs to their laboratory of choice in just one step.

No matter which method you use to optimize your mobile website, you need to focus on the most important components. What do users want to see first? What is the most visited part of your website? If your users have a bad mobile experience, they will likely turn to your competitors.

More and more people are choosing smartphones over feature phones, and by the end of 2012, there could be more smartphones on the planet than people (according to Cisco).2 In fact, a recent study by Gartner states that by 2013, more people will use their smartphones to access the internet than their PCs.3 Obtaining a proper mobile website will help deliver a satisfying experience to your customers. The goal is to be able to tap into your information from any mobile device.

Your website needs to look great and load quickly. Need to send a patient for a shade-matching appointment? The directions should be just one click away. Identifying the needs of your customers and keeping the website as streamlined as possible is critical to your success. Going mobile also helps drive traffic to your current website. This gives you the opportunity to deliver content to a wider audience as well as a considerable competitive advantage. If you do not get rolling and get mobile, you will be left behind.

References

1. ADA Survey Center. 2010 Technology and Social Media Survey. Dental Issues. January 2012.

2. Cisco. Cisco Visual Networking Index: Global Mobile Date Traffic Forecast Update, 2011-2016. Cisco VNI Forecast. Available at: http://www.cisco.com/en/US/solutions/collateral/ns341/ns525/ns537/ns705/ns827/white_paper_c11-520862.html. Updated February 14, 2012. Accessed May 1, 2012.

3. Gartner. Gartner Highlights Key Predictions for IT Organizations and Users in 2012 and Beyond. Gartner Newsroom. Available at: http://www.gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=1278413 Updated January 13, 2010. Accessed May 1, 2012.

Things to Consider While Preparing Your Website to Go Mobile

• Do not use Flash. Most phones cannot read this type of programming.
• Minimize scrolling. Many users come to your mobile website just for contact information, directions, or a list of services.
• Keep content to minimum. People who are viewing your website on their mobile are usually on-the-go. Succinct and clear information is key.
• Do not overuse graphics because images can take longer to load. Only use when they are contextually relevant, and always resize/compress images.
• Use smaller font sizes.
• Limit the need for user input and multiple-click requirements.
• Test the websites on a variety of devices to determine how the content will look and behave, or you can also view the site on Google Mobilizer.
• Create a specific URL for your mobile website. You can go to GoDaddy.com to purchase URL’s with the extension .mobi.
• Treat your mobile website as if it is a personal assistant for each of your clients.

About the Author

Terry Fine is the president of AMG Creative in Fort Collins, Colorado.


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