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June 28, 2013 — A weekly look at Wyoming business questions from the Wyoming Small Business Development Center (WSBDC), part of WyomingEntrepreneur.Biz, a collection of business assistance programs at the University of Wyoming.
Mike Lambert, Wyoming Market Research Center manager
“I heard that more people are accessing websites using smartphones and tablets than computers. Can this be true? What does that mean for my business?” Matty, Laramie
We are not there yet. According to the Monetate Ecommerce Quarterly report on large eCommerce brands, traffic during the first quarter of 2013 on websites was about 79 percent from desktops or laptops, 10 percent from tablets and 10 percent from smartphones.
What is impressive is that this has more than doubled since last year. It appears the traditional PC has some life still in it. However, at this rate of change, we only are a couple of years from the majority of web traffic to the big sites coming from mobile devices.
What is even more interesting is that the same report indicated that the conversion rate (i.e. people who bought something) from tablets was actually higher than from desktops for the first time ever.
This means that people are becoming more comfortable doing business on mobile devices. Those people probably include your customers. So, what does that mean for small businesses?
If you sell a service or product and want sales from your website, you need to consider how your site works on something other than a regular desktop. If customers can’t easily view your site on their iPad or smartphone, they may just drop down to the next “hit” on Google and give your competition a try. If your website won’t display properly on their portable device, you may miss an opportunity.
Luckily, there are ways to address this problem. The best is probably using what is called “responsive design.” By doing this, you re-create your website making it able to automatically detect what device is looking at it, and reformat itself to fit the space available, whether it is a desktop, tablet or smartphone. Another alternative is to create an inexpensive app. This is cheaper than responsive design, but most companies are moving away from this solution.
At Wyoming Entrepreneur, we are recreating our website using responsive design and attempting to do this inexpensively without “recreating the wheel.” We are a few weeks away from completion, but the process hasn’t been all that painful. We are incorporating a content management system, combining our blog into our website and creating a new look. When we’re done, I’ll report on the results.
A blog version of this article and an opportunity to post comments is available at http://www.wyomingentrepreneur.typepad.com/blog/.
The WSBDC is a partnership of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming. To ask a question, call 1-800-348-5194, email firstname.lastname@example.org or write to 1000 E. University Ave., Dept. 3922, Laramie, WY 82071-3922.