The internet has sparked exponential growth in technology since its origin. It now rules on different gadgets with different screen sizes. What was once predominantly on big desktop computers soon spread to medium-sized laptops. Next came notebooks and tablets and mobile. And this has ultimately led to a major debate about the nature of the mobile web.
A bulk of developers believe that mobile web demands separate websites. They approach it with persuasive arguments relating to the diverse audience, prospect of mobile web and amending your digital supplies to cater for current trends.
To begin with, let’s discuss the diverse audience. The debate here is that marketers can only satisfy a smaller or bigger number of customers - but not all of them. Here is an example.
The UK supermarket chain Tesco launched a website for blind users called Tesco Access. It was a very user-friendly website that permitted the customers to purchase 30 products in just 15 minutes from check-in to checkout. The website didn’t have any advertisements and was exclusively intended for aiding the disabled. The website ended up adding £13m to the annual business of Tesco because apart from their disabled customers, other consumers also switched from main Tesco website to Tesco Access.
A large number of customers were satisfied with the services; however, there were also customers complaining about the lack of advertisements and absence of various facilities which were accessible on the main Tesco website. Tesco had keep out those facilities in order to assist the disabled, not other people. The vital point here is that you don’t always know the type of content each type of audience desires.
So when it comes to building a website, what are the issues that are stacked in the cons column?
1. Web-to-mobile connectivity problems
As demonstrated in the case of Tesco, a lot of customers from Tesco's main site liked Tesco Access. Likewise, web-based customers also share their content with mobile-specific customers. This creates conflicts when it comes to content management and customer disputes may occur. On the other hand, if you are producing similar content for both media, yet again the clash of files may take place as the images, videos, infographics and the website size of one may not fit on the other screen.
2. Increased cost
Building a website specifically for a mobile audience requires all the hard work you need to develop any other website. The different types of costs involved in the process comprise fees for developers/web engineers, costs related to producing new content, purchasing a new domains and paying for the cloud services, maintenance costs, cost of SEO services and upgrading costs and charges of purchasing plugins and widgets. Along with the given costs, you also have to pay for the salaries of employees working on the mobile website. You also need to pay to the content planners and theme developers. Simply, there is not only a lot of capital but also a lot of time involved to start earning from mobile-specific websites.
3. Problems in managing and analysing content
Managing content on more than one website is a difficult task compared with managing your content on a single website. Content management consist of not only time and effort required for planning, developing and uploading, but also examining the feedback of customers and its success for your business. To ensure successful content management, the majority of businesses hire separate content managers and analysts, although separate staff will definitely add to the budget and investment costs.
4. Weakened SEO
Working on separate URLs for mobile specific and web-based websites not only means spending more time and money on SEO but it also dilutes existing SEO strategies. The only solution to improve SEO for specific media is to hire separate SEO specialists. If you want any technical support to improve the search ranking of your website you can hire SEO professionals. To make your search hassle-free I have listed some reputed SEO companies as follows:
5. Frustrating user experience due to web clutter
Web clutter is defined as impotency of a website to regulate with any screen size. Some websites are produced for mobile screens only but mobile screens also come in different sizes. In the same way, some websites are produced for web-based customers only but web-based customers use different sizes of laptop screens and different LCD sizes for desktop computers. The way to avoid a cluttered website is to make it responsive as explained in the end of this article.
6. Unable to connect content
Business giants and entrepreneurs of different markets make a name for themselves by successfully catering to all types of audiences. The finest way to save time and money is to support your business on different media. For example, the majority of the websites use auto-redirect options to interlink the pages of their different products to each other. It enhances sales by keeping the user engaged on the website and offering them value by providing more background information about your products and services.
Building separate websites for mobile and web-based customers may lack miss out on this connection. Apart from abridged sales, you also need to double up your time and money investment to get similar scale of benefits from both media.
7. Decreased accessibility
The most significant reason to avoid developing a separate mobile website for your business is reduced accessibility. Your customer base automatically reduces when you aim different audiences from different media.
It is better to make your website responsive rather than choosing to build a separate website for mobile audience. With simple coding techniques in website design, you can make any website responsive for every screen type. Responsiveness is a phenomenon in which a website automatically adjusts its content according to the size of screen. Regarding the content, we recommend you to focus more on variety of content rather than stick to similar type of content, making it to the liking of all audiences.
It's also important to embrace the most modern content management systems. Organising your content like 1999 and relying totally on static coding is a sure way to turn customers off. Make your static website responsive, interlink your business, and enlarge your customer base for the same cost.
James E. Hein is a web developer with 10 years of experience.