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The mobile web market continues its explosive growth as smart phones and tablets become both convenient and reliable ways to access content online. A 2011 Nielson report states that “The majority of 25-34 and 18-24 year olds now own smartphones (64% and 53% respectively).” Mobile-optimized websites are now essential for any business or blogger who wants to capture the attention of this growing market.

In fact, creating a captivating mobile website is critically important investment for the future. Jolie O’Dell offers the following analysis of a Morgan Stanley report on internet trends: “The mobile wealth creation/destruction cycle is in its earliest stages. The proliferation of better devices and the availability of better data coverage are two trends driving growth; having better services and smaller, cheaper devices has led to a huge explosion in mobile technology that far outpaces the growth of any other computing cycle.” Though opportunities on the mobile web abound, there are plenty of challenges that arise when setting up a mobile version of your website. Here are some tips for optimizing your website.

Use CSS for the Mobile Web

If you’re interested in developing an online version of your website, CSS will be an ideal route to explore. According to the Mobile Web Standards at the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), “The cascading model of CSS is completed with the possibility of customizing the applied rules to the characteristics of the device through CSS Media Queries, a mechanism particularly useful on mobile devices to cater for the variation among screen sizes.”

W3C also provides a series of best practices : that will save time for developers as they delve into mobile web development. However, the length of these documents and the number of problems ( see Dominique Hazaël-Massieux) that arise with CSS may convince many website owners to use mobile web conversion services or a plug in for their sites.

Creating Your Mobile Website

There are plenty of great services out there to help you convert your website into a simple mobile version, but one place you may want to start is MoFuse if you run a blog-based website. MoFuse offers free and premium options where you can build a simple mobile site through your RSS feed. It also offers a WYSIWYG editor, image resizing, and Google Checkout. Mippin is another service that uses your RSS feed, while mobiSiteGalore converts your existing website into a mobile version.

There are a variety of WordPress and Drupal plug ins, as well as several developer tools listed in at Mashable Christina Warren’s article. Mobify will certainly intrigue designers because it works with existing HTML and CSS code.

Guidelines for Creating Your Mobile Website

Mobile web designers face some unique challenges, especially the short attention span of website visitors. In an article for Mashable, “Byrne Hobart, founder of investment research firm Digital Due Diligence, observes that mobile marketers are ‘writing for an audience that’s in the middle of something else.’ They might be waiting for their subway stop, their floor on an elevator, their line to be called at Whole Foods, a friend to show up at a restaurant.”

While simplicity is usually the rule for mobile websites, there are certain features you can include that will help your site stand out. For example, video is ideal for a mobile website, especially since it will hold the attention of your visits better than even the most concise and engaging copy. According to Brian Casel, it’s also best to limit your design to one column and to use collapsible menus. As tablets and iPhones continue to proliferate, touch navigation will continue to be important.

How to Test Your Mobile Website

If you want to test your mobile website on every screen size and browser on the market, your best bet is to use an emulator that will show you what your website will look like on a variety of devices. Depending on the needs of your user base, consider using iBBDemo2, which will emulate how your website will look on an iPhone or iPad, and Android SDK , which emulates the display on an Android phone.

A mobile website opens new avenues for connecting customers when they have time to kill or when they are on the go. As mobile browsing continues to grow and tablets become more common, a mobile website will become a critical avenue for commerce and marketing promotions.

 

About the guest author: This guest post is written by Lior Levin, a marketing consultant for a company that offers a to do list application, and who also consultants for a company that works with physicians and patients to evaluate the likely effectiveness of new cancer treatments.

This is a unique article published on SEO Desk with exclusivity.

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