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Tech-Friendly: Tablet and smartphone sales dominate: make your website mobile friendly

October 23, 2013

By Paul Gorski

Are you a small business owner looking to build a new website? Or maybe a corporate executive looking for a website makeover? Make sure your new site is mobile friendly. Mobile devices are taking over.

Gartner, a leading technology analysis firm, reports that smartphone sales dominate computer tech sales, and tablet sales are growing at a tremendous rate. In 2013, smartphones sales comprised 78 percent of the combined phone/tablet/computer market, with tablet sales at almost 8 percent. See the report at http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/2610015.

You could develop mobile app versions of your content for iOS and Android devices, but with the wide variety of mobile device screen sizes, I would only do that after you’ve made your site mobile friendly. You risk turning away visitors if they have to struggle to navigate your site, and you might not get a second chance for them to download that fancy app.

Any website, but especially a mobile site, should include: a phone number (that is clickable), e-mail address, mailing address, and links to social media. If you have a downloadable app available, make sure you display those iTunes and Google Play store icons prominently.

Larger companies will have to budget for some custom programming and development for a nice, polished mobile online presence. Smaller companies, with simpler needs, have some low-cost options.

One drag-n-drop site building service, Weebly.com, offers mobile site integration at no extra charge. Weebly’s recent interface upgrade allows you to develop a website and easily customize the mobile version, with accurate mobile previews, without having a mobile device. Weebly isn’t perfect, but it easy to develop a fairly good-looking, mobile-friendly site.

WordPress is an extremely popular blog/website development platform, but going beyond basic WordPress features does take some skill. If you already have a WordPress site, visit this link for a variety of solutions for making your WordPress site mobile friendly: http://www.wpbeginner.com/wp-tutorials/11-ways-to-create-a-mobile-friendly-wordpress-site/.

I manage sites built with WordPress, Weebly and Blogger. I am beginning to migrate my Blogger sites to Weebly and WordPress, depending on the features I need, hence my bias in this article. I am also working with some colleagues on updating a Drupal-based site, but that project will take some time.

I’m not looking for any website development work, but if you have questions about making your site mobile friendly, I’ll try to steer you in the right direction. Post comments online here or write me at paul@paulgorski.com.

Paul Gorski (www.paulgorski.com) has been a technology manager nearly 20 years, specializing in workflow solutions for printing, publishing and advertising computer users. Originally destined to be a chemist, his interest in computers began in college when he wrote a program to analyze data from lab instruments he hard-wired to the back of an Apple IIe.

From the Oct. 23-29, 2013, issue

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