Mobilize Your Website (or else…)

Customers are increasingly moving to mobile tablets, phablets, and smartphones to shop and buy online, so if your site is designed for desktop and laptop PCs, you’re probably losing business. And there’s one other VERY important reason to have a mobile version of your online presence. Here are some simple and inexpensive ways to ‘mobilize’ your website…

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly?

One version of your website is not enough these days. A site that looks great on a 24-inch monitor will be hard to navigate on an iPad or Android tablet with a 7 to 9 inch screen. And it’ll probably be close to unreadable on a smartphone’s 4 to 6 inch screen. You need web pages tailored for mobile devices, or those customers may just leave and find a competitor that caters to their mobile lifestyle.
Oh, and Google recently announced that sites which are not mobile-friendly will be penalized in their search engine results. So yeah, you need a mobile website, even if you don’t much care that visitors have to squint to see your stuff.
Creating mobile-optimized web pages is a tricky art. Keeping multiple versions of each page updated and synced is a juggling act. You’ll need to rejigger your pages so that the text and images flow in a sensible manner (whether in portrait or landscape mode) and without requiring endless scrolling, pinching and zooming.
Mobilize Your Website
You can use software, style sheets and other techniques to make these tasks easier, but if you’re not a pro with experience and access to lots of mobile devices, the easiest method is to let someone (or something) else handle it all.
In general, a “Web mobilizer” service reads all the pages of your site, converts them to formats optimized for mobile devices, then lets you tweak the results to your liking. You’ll probably have to live with a subset of the elements from your desktop version to fit on the smaller mobile screens. This can mean nixing some graphics or navigation links, or using fewer ad spots. Multi-column designs may need to flow into a single column. Navigation sidebars will shrink into the “hamburger” icon that you often see on mobile sites.
The mobilizer services that I’ve tried all do a pretty good job of automating most of that for you. If you have a website with a standard header, footer, navigation, and main content sections, you’ll be surprised at how little you need to tweak. You’re in even better shape if the majority of your pages are based on a small number of templates.
When you’re ready to go live, add some invisible HTML code to your website pages that detects mobile visitors and feeds them the mobile version of your site. The mobilized Web pages can be stored on your server or the mobilizer’s server. When you make changes to your main site pages, they are automatically mirrored in the mobilized pages.

Bells, Whistles, and Other Options

Mobilizer services offer other options such as shopping carts, payment processing, and so on. But their main advantage is making your site mobile-friendly without pain. Here are four mobilizer services that offer free starter packages and paid options for more sophisticated and high-volume applications.
Duda Mobile has created over 5 million mobilized sites for its patrons. Just enter the URL of an existing site to see it converted to a mobile version that you can customize or add pages to. You can also build a mobile site from scratch. The optional InSite feature customizes pages to a visitor’s location and past behavior on your site. Partnering with Duda makes you an affiliate who can earn income by selling mobilized sites to others.
The free plan hosts your mobile pages on Amazon Cloud and provides a mobile URL that is a subdomain of dudaone.com, e.g., mySite.DudaOne.com. Duda ads will appear in your free mobile pages. A 30-day InSite trial is included. Duda Business costs $9 month-to-month or $90/year ($7.50/month). It uses your domain name, e. g., m.mySite.com, and ads are limited. A 30-day InSite trial is included.
Duda Business Plus adds email support (you already have email, right?), eliminates Duda ads all together, and includes unlimited InSite. It costs $19/month, $171/year, or $299 “for life.” All of these plans include a store with up to 10 products in two categories; Paypal, Stripe, and Global Gateway payment processing, and order/customer service management tools. Then there’s Duda Business Plus eCommerce, for high-volume, large-inventory stores. Product categories are unlimited and you have 30 payment providers available. Up to 100 products will run $29/month or $270/year; up to 2500 products, $46/month or $438/year.
Yes, mobilized Web service options and prices get complicated.


Bmobilized is a slick and easy to use service, but a bit stingy on the “free” stuff. You get a 7-day free trial of its do-it-yourself service; just plug in your site’s URL and tweak the mobile version yourself. Then it costs $19/month or $150/year. There is also a “we do it for you” option in which a human programmer consults with you to design a site and provides the coding necessary. There’s a $399 up-front fee for that, plus $150/year for ongoing site hosting and maintenance.
But neither of these plans includes payment processing, except during the 7-day free trial period of the DIY plan. Bmobilized’s mCommerce solution is a $374/year option that lets you mobilize an existing Amazon store or set up a custom store of your own. Amazon Payments or Paypal serve as payment processors. (If you already have an ecommerce solution for your desktop site, you probably won’t need this.)
Yes, mobilized Web service options and prices get expensive pretty quickly.


MobilizeToday has four plans and prices. The free version includes unlimited pages and your own domain, but you are allowed only 100 MB of traffic per month; exceed that tiny amount and you’ll pay $9 per GB or portion thereof. Basically, “free” is for getting acquainted with this service and its tools, not for doing serious business.
For $49/year you get 500 MB/month before the traffic fees kick in, and there are no ads on your pages. $99/year eliminates ads and traffic fees. There are a la carte fees for other options, including $29 per call to tech support.
Yes, mobilized Web services can nickel-and-dime you to death.


InterTune.com is a bit different from the other three. “Free” means free, not “a little taste for free.” There are no ads and no limits on pages, products, or traffic. InterTune offers a variety of “premium add-ons” such as click-to-call phone number links, Google maps to provide directions to your physical store, and so on.
Yes, I know this website isn’t mobile friendly yet, but I’m working on it! That’s why I did the research into website mobilizers. See the “work in progress” mobile version of RankinFile made with bMobilized, and feel free to send me your comments on that.
All in all, mobilizer services are easy to get into but can be pricey as you realize what is free and what is “optional.” But it still beats learning to program mobile sites and maintain them yourself.


More Posts about Mobile:

  • Social Marketing With Live Video Streams

  • Yes, You Need an Ecommerce Platform

  • Is BYOD a Good Idea for Small Biz?

  • Mobilize Your Website (or else…)

  • 14 Smartphone Apps for Business

Comments

  1. Bob, the one that I checked out was … InterTune.com. This was the one, that intrigued me the most. I always like FREE. 🙂
    I know that I am not a small business owner, but, I do want to have the capability of being able to view any website, on my SmartPhone. When, I am out shopping, I frequently, like to check prices, with other stores, including online stores. There has been many a time, when I will opt to purchase from an Online Store, even though I may have to wait, a few days more.
    For example, my grandson needed some Ethernet Cable 100 feet long. He went to Wal-Mart and could only find 50 feet, for $29.97. I was able to get him, 100 feet for $17.99, no taxes and free shipping, with an online store, that I have used for well over 10 years now. The product arrived at my home, within 2 days of ordering. Saved him, some money and he was able to utilize the Ethernet cable, for his X-Box One. He also, got better speed downloads, by using the available Ethernet spot, on the Router.
    Please, my intent is not to tell business owners what to do … But, to let them know, what most customers want, when they go to a website, they like. 🙂

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