According to the DMMA, 6.1 million unique users are accessing mobile websites in this country and 63% of these users are actively researching topics on their smart phones and tablets. That means that a staggering 3.8 million potential customers in South Africa could be turned away from your website if it hasn’t been optimised to work with mobile devices.

So what does it mean to have your website mobile ready?

Simply put, a mobile friendly website is one that provides the user with a good experience on a small screen. Traditional websites are designed to be viewed on a computer screen and require that the user zoom in and out in order to navigate on a mobile phone or tablet. At best this is time consuming and fiddly, at worst downright impossible and it is always a chore.

Over one half of all internet searches made from mobile devices are location based. People on the move tend to search for local services and generally need results quickly. A mobile ready website could mean the difference between business for you and business for your competitor down the road.

There are two ways to create a mobile ready website.

The first is to create a separate mobile version of your website. This can come in handy if you want to have fewer options available so as to reduce download time and present your mobile customers with a more concise version of your standard website. While this can be useful for large websites, it is most often better to go with a responsive web design.

A responsive webpage is built with a flexible framework that will allow your website to be viewed on any device. It is able to automatically adjust the relative positions of the content on your website to fit the user’s screen without compromising the look and functionality of your site. The main benefit of this approach is that you don’t have to maintain and update content on two different websites.

Creating a mobile friendly website is no longer an added feature to invest in if you have a little left over in the budget, it is a necessity. As mobile web browsing devices with increasingly better functionality continue to flood the market, you can be sure that it is only a matter of time before desktop browsing is eclipsed by their cheaper and more portable counterparts and it will happen sooner than you think.