“As highly developed markets in both per-capita income and online saturation, the US & UK are bellweather markets for the rest of the developed and developing world. So, while we can say with some accuracy that 2012 was finally the year of the mobile for e-commerce, the reality is 2013 will be the breakthrough year in terms of mobile’s importance to full retail mix for most markets.
“This means that well-optimised mobile sites — and, for optimal SEO, that means responsive designs using the same URL architecture as the desktop and tablet sites — will deliver significant revenue gains for their brands.”
This is from a blog post I read this morning. Trying carefully not to be the wolf in sheep’s clothing, let me say I think there are number of issues with those statements.
First, a little spelling. I believe “bellwether” is the correct spelling. It’s based on “wether” meaning a castrated ram. This is the sheep with a bell on its neck trained to lead the flock. He gets off lightly. The rest wind up as the main course.
Second, there seems to be some conclusions drawn and presented as fact that are missing proof. On what basis can “we can say with some accuracy that 2012 was finally the year of the mobile for e-commerce” or that “2013 will be the breakthrough year in terms of mobile’s importance to the full retail mix for most markets”?
The graph shown before those statements shows mobile penetration into UK and USA markets split by age in one year. And then some reference is made to changes from the year prior. Data over two years is a trend, not proof.
I have seen the role of mobiles grow for my clients and I have seen evidence it is a growing trend on a much wider scale. And I have no doubt it will continue. As web developers and owners of websites we ignore this trend at our peril. However, history doesn’t prove the future. It is at best a guide. Anyone who makes statements projecting history into the future is making predictions, not stating facts.
And third, “well-optimised mobile sites”. Who says optimal SEO needs a responsive design? Yes it is a valid approach, even one recommended by Google. But even Google’s overriding requirement is that websites must be about customers’ needs not those of developers, SEO consultants or content creators. The use of a separate website specifically constructed to serve the needs of mobile visitors can serve the customer’s requirements and can rank well.
Many of the responsive designs I’ve seen are built on frameworks that make the developer’s life easier, once the framework is learnt. But they come with some overhead. It is not the solution to every problem.
Despite my nit-picking with some of the elements from the blog post, I am in agreement with the key elements:
- mobile is growing (and likely to continue)
- a mobile strategy is imperative for on-going web success.
Where are you with a mobile strategy?
- How does your website look on a mobile phone? Have you checked? (blog.midboh.com.au)
- Going mobile - one step at a time (part 4: Turn down the volume) (blog.midboh.com.au)