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Getting Appy: Mobile Phone Use for Small Business

By Andrew Storrier

3 min read

The topic of the future of business encourages lots of debate between experts. One common phrase is that the future is mobile, which is not far wrong. Cisco research shows mobile data traffic grew 69% in 2014. What does that mean for your business and how can you capitalise on the mobile revolution?

Google Algorithm Prioritises Mobile Sites

From April 2105, Google’s search algorithms have favoured a website’s ‘mobile friendlessness’. The algorithm scans each page on the site for mobile factors, such as load times, responsive design elements and mobile best practice. Failing to fulfill the requirements will push your site down the rankings.

While it’s advisable to prep your entire site for mobile navigation, you can get away with just a few cost-effective changes that will satisfy Google’s scanbots:

1      Make text size readable without the need to zoom.

2      Content fits any screen size, minimising the need for scrolling and zooming.

3      Space links, so they’re easier to thumb.

4      Update a few important, high-traffic pages, which Google will likely scan first.

According to Econsultancy research, 60% of consumers research products and services via a mobile device before making an online purchase. Mobile readiness can give you a competitive edge over your competitors.

Create an App Mobile Users Need

The vast majority (89%) of Australians own a smartphone, according to research from the digital industry association for Australia AIMIA. One of the key platforms that make mobile devices preferable are apps. Reaching your mobile audience with an app is a good idea, however keeping people engaged with the tool is tricky.

Solid apps have several key features that keep users returning to them and it’s important to keep those feature in mind during development:

  • Make sure the user can share information from your app via social media.
  • In most business cases, apps are marketing tools. Make it free.
  • Users should get real value from using your app every time they launch it.
  • Keep them coming back with regular and engaging content updates.
  • Don’t set and forget. Continuously update the app’s functionality.

To give your app a purpose, start development with a strategic concept and the question, ‘What data do I want to display and/or collect through a mobile device?’ If you find you’re struggling to answer it or are unsure of a strategic direction, then that’s okay. Spend your money elsewhere.

Join the Mobile Cloud Revolution

The surge in mobile device use has led to several developments in cloud computing, including the integration of smartphones and tablets. Now the computing grunt can be handled on a cloud server, allowing mobile users to see increased performance of apps and websites on their devices.

Further, staff can bring their own device (BYOD), connect to your server and work effectively while away from the office. Data protection and security become issues with BYOD, so make sure to conduct thorough risk assessments and educate your employees on their responsibilities

If you have the cash, many third-party service providers can manage your mobile cloud operations behind the scenes, but sometimes this isn’t cost effective for small businesses.

Developing your digital platforms in HTML5 is also something to consider, because it optimises apps and websites for mobile devices. Blue-chip companies, such as Google, Microsoft and Apple, agree that HTML5 is the future and are developing their platforms with mobile in mind.

When investing in mobile technology, make sure you’ve done your research and a cost-benefit analysis. Mobile devices are the future, but there are a lot of places to put your money. It’s up to you to decide where it goes and why.

Information may be abridged and therefore incomplete. This document/information does not constitute, and should not be considered a substitute for, legal or financial advice. Each financial situation is different, the advice provided is intended to be general. Please contact your financial or legal advisors for information specific to your situation.

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