What is the difference between a mobile website and my regular website?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011
What is the difference between a mobile website and my regular website?

The mobile web browsing revolution has been a quiet one. If you aren’t one of those folks who has a smartphone or a tablet computer by your side at all times, you may have missed it completely. The reality is, a growing number of people are throwing off the shackles of desktops and laptops and opting to browse through tablets and smart phones. What does this mean for your business? It means that your business better be ready or you may find your business going down the drain.

If put side by side, a mobile website and a regular one look nothing like one another, which is a good thing for mobile web browsers. You may have the same color scheme and the same font, but that would be where the similarities end. To put it simply, a mobile website lacks the following elements:

  • A lack of pictures and graphics.
  • A lack of video and Flash animation.
  • Smaller amounts of text.
  • Much faster load times.

At first glance, mobile web browsing sounds like a giant technological step backwards. Who would want to go back to 1994, before Microsoft’s revolutionary Internet Explorer, when web-browsing was strictly a text-oriented affair? The reason for this simplified browsing is two-fold: unreliable wireless connections and limited mobile technology.

Hopefully, within the next 10 years, these hurdles will be overcome and the difference between a mobile website and a regular one will be nil, but until then, it is important that your business caters to this growing, and spending, demographic.

While there is talk in many major cities of installing free wireless Internet to all citizens, this idea remains a pipedream for millions. People are forced to rely on bad quality connections as they dash in and out of subway tunnels, race around city blocks and head in and out of concrete buildings. Because of this lack of reliable connections, mobile websites need to load fast so that people can get the information they need while still moving. All of the impressive bells and whistles that make your regular site such a hit are all detriments when it comes to mobile browsing.

In addition to connection speeds, our mobile devices simply can’t handle and display today’s high tech websites. To help keep costs down, Apple decided not to arm their popular iPad tablet computers with Flash. This essentially cut off much in the way of streaming video and interactivity we’ve come to expect from today’s top websites. If you try to access a Flash-laden site with a mobile device, you get large blocks of blank space taking up a very small screen. The problems this presents are obvious and the only solution is to create a mobile website for your business.

The only thing that can be said for the future of the Internet is that change is going to continue to come. You have to face these challenges head on, or you risk becoming irrelevant.