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Friday, 10 February 2012 09:38

Go mobile before your customers go elsewhere

Written by  Brett Sidaway
Go mobile before your customers go elsewhere

It’s a well know fact that this Christmas (2011) was a good time for tablets and apps. It was estimated that over 4,000,000 apps were downloaded at Christmas and over half a million smart phones and tablets sold.

 Less well reported but more significant for anyone with a business is the estimate from IBM: Mobiles accounted for 16% of all online buying on Boxing Day – an increase of 275% from the same day in 2010 Of course the two facts are connected. With smart phone and iPad sales far outstripping the sale of laptops and PCs, more and more searches and sales will be done via these gadgets. And the demographic is widening – it’s not just the younger market. A CMS web design will most often allow you to offer a mobile version of your website and take advantage of the following benefits:

  • Your customers will have a better experience when viewing your site if it is optimised for mobile devices. An unoptimised site can become unusable, unreadable and a real turn off. Typically with open source CMS based websites, plug-ins are available that will allow you to easily offer a fully optimised mobile site.
  • A mobile version allows you to offer a genuinely alternative site – focussing on goods and services that will appeal to the mobile and tablet user. Again, the latest open source CMS web designs will help you to refocus the site for better sales levels.
  • Mobile sites are generally faster and more accessible.
  • More sales - Research from the US suggests that on average, website visitors are 51% more likely to do business with an online retailer if it has a mobile site.

With all these advantages, it is good to know that a mobile version can be created quickly and easily. Open source CMS websites offer a range of free plug-ins created, tested, debugged and supported by a worldwide community of developers. Some providers even offer professional help to install to your plug-in, the change is immediate and cost-effective. For popular CMS platforms like Joomla there is a large number of plug-ins available. For example Mobilebot can detect visitors using mobile devices and change the Joomla template automatically. It can detect iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Opera Mini separately and load a particular template for each of them and it has two extra spaces so you can add your own custom mobile devices. The same is true for the most popular open source CMS web design apps, for example WordPress. The WordPress Mobile Pack is a complete toolkit to help mobilize your WordPress site and blog. It includes a mobile switcher to select themes based on the type of user that is visiting the site, a selection of mobile themes, extra widgets, device adaptation and a mobile administration panel to allow users to edit the site or write new posts when out and about. Even if you don’t use an open source based CMS web design to power your website, it is still possible to make mobile versions of your website but it might be time to consult a web design company that specialises in open source so that you can make the change to such a system. This will allow you to keep your website up-to-date with future technology and changes in the Web cost effectively.

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