In this post I will show you how to build a mobile website.
Why Having A Mobile Website Is Important
Until fairly recently having a mobile website seemed like something that only large businesses or cutting edge technical companies had.
But that has all changed. Nowadays a mobile website is a necessity for any business regardless of size or location.
Why is that?
It’s simple really. The fact is that we’re actually past the tipping point where more browsing is done on mobile devices (phones, tablets, etc.) than on traditional desktop or laptop devices.
Put simply, your customers and potential customers are not bound to their desks looking for you. They are out and about at home or travelling to work or walking around town.
And this hasn’t gone unnoticed by Google.
They know that the direction of travel is clear – mobile is the future of the internet. That’s why they have made having a mobile friendly website one of their ranking factors.
Basically what this all means from Google’s perspective is that having a mobile friendly website is increasingly the basic price of entry these days.
In short – no mobile website means lower rankings in their listings. That in turn means less traffic and less new customers.
How Do You Build A Mobile Website?
The first thing you need to do is to check if your website is mobile friendly or not.
Fortunately this is pretty straightforward.
Just head over to Google’s website testing tool and enter your website address and you’ll be able to see whether or not your website is mobile friendly.
It’s always best to check first. You never know – maybe your web designer knew all of this stuff and built a mobile friendly site for you.
If your site isn’t mobile friendly then you have several options available to you depending on your budget. They are:
- Use a Mobile Site Builder (low cost, low complexity)
- Using a Website Builder that has mobile friendly templates (low cost, low to medium complexity)
- Get a WordPress Theme that is built using Responsive Web Design (medium cost, medium complexity)
- Get a custom design using Responsive Web Design
- Use the services of a professional web design company
Let’s look at each option in more detail.
Mobile Website Builder
A Mobile Website Builder is a tool that allows non-technical people to build a mobile version of their website which stands side by side with their normal website.
The only time people will see the mobile version is if they try to access the site using a mobile device. If the visitor is using a desktop or laptop then they will be presented with the desktop or laptop version.
The way it works is that it detects the type of device being used to browse and presents the correct screen resolution.
The beauty of this approach is that anyone can build a mobile website – it is so easy to use. It’s also very low cost and it is easy to update and make changes.
You can customize the mobile site to match your company’s website and upload your logo and colour scheme.
The downside is that there is a limit to how customized your site can be. Basically it won’t look exactly like your main site.
Also, by running two different websites (desktop/laptop version and mobile version) you have two sites to maintain and they might not have the same messages, text, images etc. so you always have to remember to update the mobile version when you update the main site.
This approach is not technical. The only thing required is to include a small piece of code in the html of your main website so that it diverts mobile browsers to the mobile version of your site.
But overall this is an easy and quick solution that should be considered as a stop gap whilst you look at longer term options.
Website Builder With Responsive Templates
Another option is to use a Website Builder tool that is template based and which has mobile friendly templates.
The types of template are created using a technique called Responsive Web Design (RWD).
This is a technique whereby the website ‘responds’ to the device browsing it. The advantage of this approach is that only one website is required for desktop and mobile devices.
With this option you would need to start from scratch to build your site but this type of website builder tool is very easy to use.
Once your new website is ready you can publish it and there is no need for a separate ‘mobile’ version of your website. If someone views your website using a mobile device it will appear perfectly for that screen.
Then if they switch to a desktop or laptop with a larger screen they will see the larger, desktop version.
Again, this is a low cost, easy to implement approach. The only thing to consider is that you need to set aside the time to build the new website.
On the downside you will not usually get such high quality as if you went for a Responsive WordPress template or a custom design which are our final two options.
Responsive WordPress Theme
It is popular for many reasons but mainly because it is fairly easy to use, it has thousands of extra programs (plugins) to add extra functionality, it is scalable, it is free (opensource), it is secure, it is well supported and it performs well from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective.
You can actually install WordPress with one click.
With WordPress you could buy a low cost Responsive Template and then just add your own text and images.
This way you get a fantastic looking website that is mobile friendly and which won’t cost the earth.
Even if you’re not a designer yourself you can find a WordPress Developer or Designer who can do this for you at a fraction of the cost of a custom design.
Finally, if you want to have a personalised, custom design then you could get a new website built to your exact specifications.
For this you would need to specify that you require a Responsive Website and throughout the design process check that the site is indeed mobile friendly.
If you do decide to go down this route we would still strongly recommend that you build your site on the WordPress platform because in the long term you won’t need to switch from WordPress.
It performs strongly from an SEO perspective and if you do need any assistance in the future then it is not an exotic software so you will find that there are plenty of skilled developers who can help you at a reasonable cost.
Overall this is the most expensive option but you can be sure that you will get the exact site that you want.
Having a Mobile Friendly Website is not an option these days – it’s the basic price of admission.
If budget is an issue then a Mobile Website Builder is the best option for you. If you want to build your own site then you should consider a Website Builder for your whole site that uses Responsive Templates.
If you want a more professional image then you could buy a Responsive WordPress Template and get your site built using WordPress.
Finally, if you are determined to have a custom website then you could get a designer to build a new site based on Responsive Web Design.
We hope you have found this guide useful on how to build a mobile website.
Thanks for reading and leave your questions below to keep the conversation going.