Today’s Question: Optimize your site for mobile?

Go Mobile?Saw a discussion today about optimizing your site for mobile and wanted to ask. Should you? What are the pros and cons of doing so? I just wanted to give you some of my thoughts here in the hopes that we can chat about it in the comments. Let’s do it!

Mobile sites cost money.

First, I want to show off our hits to Maryland Management’s website in regards to mobile users. I ran our analytics from July 1st through August 30th of 2011. The results are below:

Google Analytics for Maryland Management and Mobile
The chart puts our mobile traffic at about 17%. From what I’ve read that is about average. Should you pay the money to optimize your site for 17% of the traffic? My answer is Yes and here’s why. 17% is as of August 2011. Mobile traffic will continue to increase and soon people will start to demand that your website is mobile optimized. That same philosophy is why I won’t watch anything on television that isn’t in High Definition (only exception… Big Brother)

Content is dumbed down.

This is a real problem. You’ve spent big money on these flashy, graphic intensive websites. You’ve hired professional photographers to take beautiful pictures of your properties. The problem? They look terrible on a mobile phone. This is a real con to me.

Lots of different devices out there.

Apple is still the king and the results on our analytics tell that story. 60% of our mobile traffic is from the iPhone or iPad. There are other devices and that means that sites can render differently per device. If you’re going mobile, you’ll need to check your site across multiple platforms. Time consuming and often costly.

I put it up to you.

Maryland Management's Mobile Website
Does the amount of traffic on mobile justify the cost? Are you going mobile? Any plans to do so? What’s holding you back? Why did you make the jump? Let’s chat about it in the comments.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT TIME! Maryland Management is mobile now. We just released our mobile site last week. Scan the code to see.

Happy Renting everyone.

Great bunch of tips here for deploying mobile for your properties.

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  • Count me in the camp that apartment websites need to be mobile optimized. Here’s some recent data from Pew:

    “One third of American adults (35%) own a smartphone of some kind,
    and these users take advantage of a wide range of their phones’
    capabilities. Fully nine in 10 smartphone owners use text messaging or
    take pictures with their phones, while eight in 10 use their phone to go online or send photos or videos to others.”

    I like what you guys did with your websites (and the QR code). You didn’t hide all the important information behind Flash graphics (I have an example of what this looks like in a similar article:

    We’re rapidly become a more mobile society and websites that take advantage of this will get the early lead and eyeballs with customers.

    • NO FLASH!!!! DEATH TO FLASH! I don’t even like flash on a regular website (we do have a little) but I guess it’s a necessary evil sometimes. Best to jump on the mobile bandwagon now while the mobile trend is rising.

      BTW your link doesn’t work because of a trailing parenthesis. Can you edit your post and fix it? Thanks for commenting Michael.

  • Anonymous

    Hey Bill, A couple of points here, 
    First, I believe in mobile web sites and the whole craze of fishing where the fish are, and that apartment communities should have a mobile presence,

    However, if they do not, it isn’t the end all. It also is critical to see where mobile marketing fits into the overall marketing strategy and budget. 

    There are many, many apartment community web sites that would leverage their marketing dollars better to just have an optimized web site first. If your  main web site is not SEO optimized, that is a much greater priority.

    Also, of that 17% cited in your article, how many of those folks also visited your main web site anyway? Hard to determine, but your point is valid, in that you need to be where the prospect is, and on the platform of their choice, as much as practical. 

    • Of course @Eric_urbane:twitter we know that this isn’t the end all. Mobile is just one part of your overall web presence. The goal is to use your optimized SEO and drive them to which ever site fits their specific needs. (aka mobile or not). Our site automatically redirects based on what type of browser you’re using so there isn’t a specific url that must be entered. Mobile users cannot see the “regular” website.

      Of note is that since our mobile website just went live last week the traffic I showed represented those people who accessed our regular website on their mobile phone. Hard to note whether we’ll see an increase in conversion (aka, phone call or email) if the site is optimized. Stay tuned….

  • Good Morning Bill!  My quick weigh in 🙂 on creating a mobile page for your website is that I most certainly agree that everyone’s web site will eventually need to be mobile-opt’d.  The question, in regards to property management, is:  does a firm optimize its mobile web toward prospective renters or prospective property management clients?  Or (gulp) both?

    • Good morning Trevor. I think the priority should be to optimize for prospective renters first. I don’t know definitively that prospective property management clients aren’t using mobile but I’m pretty confident they aren’t browsing for a PM company using their phone. I would definitely optimize for prospects first. 

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