What Mobile Option is Best for My Business?

April 15, 2013

Web Design




Now that small businesses have become more versed when it comes to talking about their web needs, we are starting to get more requests about mobile solutions.

What I have noticed after working with small businesses for the last few years is that as new options are talked about more on the web, clients bring up options without fully understanding why something should be built one way or the other. Even more importantly, what they need and what their visitors need.

To start, let’s take a look at what options are available for mobile and exactly how they work. Then I will give a little insight on how to choose what solution is best suited for your business model.

The Options:

Mobile Optimized:

The easiest of all.  When you visit your site on any device the site looks exactly the same.  When coded correctly your site will have the same experience no matter the device and should not cost you any additional cash.

Optimized Mobile Website



Adaptive has been used since smart phones started taking over.  It requires a separately developed site with a different codebase. This allows you to specifically target your audience and provide them with a user experience that will guide them to use your site how you would like them to.

Adaptive Mobile Website



The latest and greatest.  I don’t think I have heard another product mentioned more in the recent year except. This option allows you to have have many “altered” variations of your site depending on screen size.  Providing an easy to navigate and visually optimized for the device that it is being viewed on.

Responsive Mobile Website


Native App:

Since the introduction of the iPhone and now all the other options, apps have become as well known as; well… it may be the most used word now (thank you Apple).  There is an app for everything.  Apps focus specifically on constant use.  For example Facebook and finances etc require you to continuously be logged in and take full advantage of your phones features.

This can be a costly option and not recommended for small businesses that just want their information to be found easily and a way to contact them.

Native Mobile App


So which should you use?

Because most small business owners do not have the time to invest in researching each option to the fullest, a “Squeaky Wheel” mentality has started to circulate with responsive, just as it did with WordPress.

To be perfectly honest, native apps are a special case and the people that want them know why they need them. Price tags can run from 5k up and can become very unaffordable to the small business owner.  There are too many variables to get into in this article but I am sure at some point I will tackle that topic.

The most cost efficient is Mobile Optimized.  If you have a good designer/developer your site will just look the same across all devices. The issue with this is that no one actually “browses” websites on their mobile devices.  It has been proven that mobile browsing is dying off and almost non existent.  Customers know what they are looking for, and they want it now. From zooming and re-centering the experience is tedious and frustrating, we all know it, we all have tried to do it with one hand on the wheel.

That leaves you with the last two options: Adaptive and Responsive. Which to choose?

Because mobile browsing isn’t really what users do (more mobile finding), you need to have a targeted user experience to provide your visitor with the information they are looking for immediately.

Responsive helps this, but there are many downfalls to responsive (you can see where I am heading with this). Rearranging your website that was designed for a desktop, just more or less provides them with an easier to read website on personal devices and not a targeted interface to have them do what you are looking for them to do. Responsive can also be costly and complicated when it comes to the design/custom build process.

The winner

Adaptive.  Adaptive is the clear winner, and for probably the same cost as responsive (probably less) gives you the ability to have your visitors use your website and get the information they are looking for specifically related to your business.

If you are driving down the road and see a sign with a website on it, try fumbling through all the other options to try and get the phone number, or to request info or even to find a location… it’s impossible.

Your site is all about converting for YOUR business model. Just because a site works for the restaurant down the street does not mean it will work for a salon.

At the end of the day, the majority of your mobile visitors are looking for 3 things.

• Contact Information

• Location Information

• What you do in 5 seconds

(also providing a link to the full site will appease the “mobile browsers”)

If they like you, they will research you on the browser version.

Adaptive allows you to:

• Create a unique experience for your business

• Target what your clients are looking for

• Trim content that will never be viewed on a mobile site making for faster load times

• Provide a different design if needed, for a more app feel
There are many more options when it comes to adaptive, talk to your developer about how to customize your mobile experience the right way and not by listening to developer/designer trends.

As important as they all are, strategy, sales and profitability with small businesses come before all.  Small businesses do not have the funds to test over and over and need the best targeted approach first.

Which do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below!

Check out our other posts about analytics.