Mobile Websites: Where it’s at

24 Jan

Even if you’re not tech-savvy, you’ve probably heard the buzz about Flash versus “Standards” based websites. If you own an iPad or iPhone, you know that Flash-based websites (or flash enabled components, like slideshows) don’t load since Apple doesn’t support Flash, which can be a real pain, both for the website owner and the user.

So how does this impact photographers specifically?

Well, to start off, statistics from early last year showed that nearly one-third of American adults owned a smartphone of some kind and preferred using it as their primary Internet connection. As these numbers are growing.

This instant access to the web lets them be quick and spontaneous – and in most cases is immediately gratifying. So if a potential client visits your site from their iPhone and can’t load your beautiful portfolio of images, they’ll move on to a site that does work. It’s possible that they’ll return to visit from a desktop computer, but is it worth the gamble?

The big question is: How important is having a website that works on a mobile device?

The nice folks over at Internet Marketing Grind recently released an infographic which has some pretty interesting data:

"Why You Should Have A Mobile Website" courtesy of http://www.imgrind.com

Not only do the numbers make a convincing point, but having a mobile friendly site says something about your brand, that you’re a skilled professional who’s up-to-date with technology and the web.

What options are out there?

Baby Steps

If you’re looking to make your current site more mobile friendly and don’t want an overhaul, there are small things you can do, some with the help of a Web Developer. Here’s 5 steps to get you on the right path.

Refresh

If you’ve been considering making a small-scale change and updating your site but don’t have the know-how, connections or money to spend, there are a few companies out there who specialize in customizable templates.

One place that’s ahead of the curve is iFolios, whose affordable, WordPress-driven, customizable sites are clean, smart and stylish, and work without flash. They also look as stunning on your desktop computer as they do on an iPhone screen. Check out the samples on their site.

Want to know how do they do it? Check out their handy dandy video:

What Is iFolios? from Site Admin on Vimeo.

Another cool company is Cliqbooq – which offers lower pricing through monthly installments rather than larger up-front payments. With a slew of benefits including SEO, unlimited design changes and a 14-day trial – it’s a worthwhile option.

Redesign

If you’re looking for more customization and can spend a bit more, companies like Livebooks offer mobile-friendly sites as well, and have the benefit of a larger pool of designers and years of experience in the wedding and portrait photography industry to lend. They offer a free trial too.

If you’re a comfortable with customizing a site yourself, you might like Squarespace, who boasts “Templates That Aren’t Templated” and hand over structured creative control, customization and data access. Worried you can’t handle it? They assure visitors that there’s “No experience necessary… You don’t need to be a professional to create a powerful website with Squarespace. We handle all the technical details, so you can focus on what matters most to you. With our easy-to-use controls, your site will be up and running in minutes.”

So, there’s the rundown of why we think mobile-friendly sites are beneficial and some useful ways to make yours mobile-compatible. What do you think? Are you hip to the movement or still have passion for sexy flash slideshows and effects? Don’t think it really makes a difference? Let us know!

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