Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Challenges of Mobile for Domainers - Are You Ready?

We've all seen the statistics on how mobile access to the internet is growing faster than PC access.  Right now, some of my webpages are already getting 10-30% of their traffic from mobile devices.  Do you know how much of your traffic is from mobile?  What will the percentage be one, two or five years from now?

Some of the general trends I've been reading about mobile include:

- Smartphone and tablet sales are growing much faster than PC sales, in most or all countries
- People are accessing the internet more with smartphones and tablets
- People spend more time on the internet with their mobile device, compared to a laptop or PC
- Mobile ecommerce is growing at a fast pace (people are using their mobile devices more often for purchases)
- Mobile advertising is growing at a fast pace, even though traditional website advertising is larger right now
- Traditional cellphones are still in use, but in a short time all mobile phones will be smartphones or superphones

Regular size tablets (e.g.: iPads) aren't so much an issue for standard websites, because a standard website resolves pretty much the same on a tablet screen as on a PC.  The mini-tablets and especially smartphone screens don't do as good a job with traditional websites.  You can pinch and pull the screen to enlarge the text and graphics, but I think that gives many people a headache (like myself) if you do it too much.  It just isn't efficient to do a lot of website browsing on a small screen, even if it's possible to do it.

If you have advertisers on your website or blog, how do their ads look to visitors using mobile device?  When you visit a webpage using an iPhone you can elect to view the webpage with a PDF READER type option that just shows you the text.  For example, some domain blogs I visit that don't convert to mobile can be viewed with the READER option.  When this happens, you only see the text of the blog post (article) and none of the other ads or links on their site.  If you don't choose the READER option, you have to pinch and pull the screen so that the article is big enough to read, in which case again you aren't seeing the rest of the page.  This can be a concern for a paying advertiser, because they aren't getting the benefit of mobile traffic to your site.

Right now the mobile traffic beast is a tough one to tame.  You need to have webpages that are mobile friendly.  If monetizing your traffic is important to you, then you need to have mobile friendly ads and advertisers, and affiliate programs that can convert that traffic.  Right now I don't think we are there yet.  Many businesses still don't have a traditional website, much less a mobile friendly one!  Mobile use is probably growing faster than the number of companies and advertisers that are ready to take advantage of it.

Here are my ideas on what would be great for domainers and internet marketers in mobile:

- Parking pages that redirect to a mobile friendly page when they detect a mobile device.

- More mobile advertisers.  If mobile parking pages are to have mobile ads on them, you need more advertisers with mobile websites, who want traffic to those sites.  Does an advertiser with a regular website really want to pay for a visitor using a smartphone?  From what I've read, mobile clicks pay less than traditional clicks right now.  Probably that's because there's much less competition for all the mobile ad space that's out there.  Once the number of advertisers increases, the click price should too as they compete for the top spots.

- Websites or webpages than redirect easily to mobile versions when they detect a mobile device.  Do your pages do this already?  Not all of mine do, so this is something I need to work on.

- More affiliate programs that can handle mobile traffic.  If I find one of my domains gets a good % of mobile traffic, then I need affiliate programs that can monetize some of that traffic.  These would be companies with mobile sites that can show their products and take payments in a mobile friendly way.

- The ability to take mobile payments.  If you are selling a product on your website, can I visit it with my smartphone, browse around, shop, checkout, and easily pay for it?  If not then you are probably losing customers, and with mobile use growing it will only get worse every year.

I remember back in 1999 and 2000 that just having a website was a big deal.  It was easier to get ranked in search engines, and traffic was much easier to come by.  Today, I think having a fully functional mobile website that is friendly for browsing, shopping and taking payments is a similar huge advantage.

The bottom line is that if you are still building traditional webpages and websites without a thought to mobile, you may be missing out on a trend that's happening right now, and will only grow.  You need to think of how your pages look to a mobile visitor, and if your monetization methods are working for mobile traffic.  I haven't figured it all out myself yet, but it is a subject I am giving more attention to in 2013.

If anyone knows of any good affiliate programs that support mobile traffic, or has some tips for mobile development, please post in the comments!

Check out today's domain deals at Godaddy!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you!