The Future Is Mobile

Author: Alecia Pirulis  

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Maybe you think a beautiful website is all you need to attract apartment shoppers. And while a beautiful website is important, there’s something else you need to consider: a great mobile website. If you aren’t optimized for tablets and smartphones, you could be losing a large (and growing!) segment of would-be customers. And with Google’s latest mantra “mobile first,” an optimized mobile site could quickly go from important to critical.

According to the recent report “Internet Trends 2014” by Mary Meeker, the number of page views coming from mobile devices in May 2013 was 14 percent. One year later, that number jumped to 25 percent – and that increase shows no signs of slowing down.  According to comScore, smartphone global data consumption will continue to increase – to a predicted 2.6GB in 2016, up from 150MB in 2011.

Google is well aware of this trend. In fact, they recently tested icons that would alert users of non-mobile friendly sites in search results. If these icons are adopted, a person searching for apartments from a smartphone or tablet would be able to skip over websites that aren’t optimized – something that could have a huge impact on businesses that do not have mobile-friendly websites. Before the not-mobile-friendly icon – a gray phone with a slash through it – Google tested a mobile-friendly icon in their search results. While it is still unclear what the results of the tests were or if Google will decide to even use the icons, it is a sign of the future … and that future is mobile.

Having a mobile-optimized site is important. With 80 percent of all cellphone users choosing a smartphone, and due to the fact that people tend to reach for the closest device to search (and that’s usually a smartphone or tablet, especially for those on the move), you should have a website that is optimized on all devices to reach as many apartment shoppers as possible.

Consider this: 25 percent of all adults in the US use only mobile devices to access the Internet. Since younger generations are growing up with smartphones, tablets, and (soon) wearable devices, the PC may become antiquated … the typewriter of the future.  Those who aren’t preparing now for this growing trend toward mobile could end up relics, as well. Don’t wait for the future to arrive – it is already happening. The shipment of mobile devices has increased rapidly since 1999. The shipment of televisions and PCs during the same period flat-lined and is starting to decline (Internet Trends 2014).

Since tablets and smartphones are so portable, people are spending more time online – in fact, the average time an individual spends online has doubled since 2010. Internet advertising has kept up with this pace – especially mobile advertising, which rose 47 percent between 2008 and 2013.

So how do you create a website that looks great on mobile devices? First, consider creating a mobile version of your site, or having a website built that utilizes responsive design, such as those created by FinderSites. Next, make sure your website reads well on a mobile device – a smaller screen means less room for “fluff.” You want your mobile device to be useful and simple to use. Finally, your mobile website should very closely resemble your standard website – keep them uniform for brand recognition.