The following post was written by WeddingWire Education Expert Andy Ebon. Andy is the Founder of Wedding University and The Wedding Marketing Blog, and is an International Public Speaker, Writer and Consultant based in Las Vegas. Andy travels across North America and beyond, presenting to Associations, Wedding Industry Conferences, Regional Gatherings, and Local Meetings.
No matter what industry your business operates in, you must be aware of the new platforms and tools used by your audience. I live by the simple rule that when more than 5% of your audience is using a certain channel or medium to find your business, you should invest in that channel or medium. In the case of the wedding industry, you can no longer ignore the mobile trend; you must have a mobile presence to reach potential clients where they’re already spending their time.
The main age demographic for the wedding industry is 18-35 (your local area may vary). Just four years ago, 5-10% of that age group was using mobile devices to search. Today, the same age group uses mobile devices 65-75% of the time. No matter how they find your business, whether through an online wedding directory, online search engine, or countless other choices, a mobile website is mandatory.
When a visitor attempts to access your website from a mobile device, the mobile browser reads the code on your website and determines whether it should show the prospect a full desktop version or a mobile-friendly version of your site.
If you take a look at Google Analytics for your website, you can view what percentage of your audience is visiting your website on desktop or mobile. Drilling deeper, you will be amazed at how many different formats access your website. It is not uncommon to see 25-40 different computer screen sizes and 50-100 mobile resolutions.
There are a number of ways to make your website more mobile friendly, so below I’ll explain the two main strategies for mobilizing your website.
A website built using a responsive design or format automatically changes the layout and/or content of your website based on the size of the user’s screen. For example, your website on a desktop will display your full site navigation in a horizontal bar, but your website on a mobile device will stack those navigation elements or change to offer drop down menus to accommodate the slimmer screen size. Rather than designing two separate versions of your website, your business can create one website with one experience, no matter the screen size.
It’s easy to see when a website is responsive. You can simply shrink the size of your computer browser window by dragging the lower right corner of it, to the left, creating a smaller resolution, spontaneously. You’ll see that the elements of the website adapt to the smaller size rather than being hidden underneath a scroll bar.
As you shrink the screen, watch the transformation of all the site elements: in size, style, and vertical placement. A responsive site also shows the smaller or larger sizes of an image, as needed so that the site loading time will be optimized for mobile hardware.
I often use and recommend the site ThemeForest.net to purchase HTML and WordPress templates (among many other tools). The descriptions of the templates will note if the design is responsive.
If you just redesigned your website and it’s not responsive, do not panic! There are a couple of alternatives to bridge the gap until you are for the next redesign. WeddingWire offers a quick and easy alternative to mobilize your site. It enables you to assemble a mobile site, in short order, from your existing web content.
If you have a webmaster who manages your website, speak with them about your mobile options. The better webmasters make recommendations to you about what is new, relevant, and important to the success of your website.
Revisiting the mobile-readiness of your website is a priority this year. Below is your homework after this post to start your mobile website strategy:
- Double-check to see if your website is mobile ready
- If not, take an hour or so to create a mobile version of your site
- When you’re ready to redevelop your site, make certain it is built on a responsive platform to serve the maximum audience
Since two-thirds or more of website activity is coming from mobile devices, you should be thinking about mobile as the primary medium and desktop as secondary! Use my to-do list to get started, and decide on a plan for the mobile future of your website.