Ugly Truth: Small Businesses Still Aren't Mobile Compatible

As the I.T. world accelerates its shift to mobile and cloud computing, some ugly truths are emerging. Chief among them: 93 percent of small business websites aren't mobile compatible, according to SCORE. That means plenty of challenges -- and opportunities -- ahead for I.T. entrepreneurs.

Among the other key items small business websites lack, according to Newsday and SCORE:

  • A call to action, 70 percent.
  • A telephone number, 27 percent.
  • Social media accounts and associated links, 82 percent.

How's that for ironic. Our teens are abandoning Facebook -- been there, done that -- before most small businesses even discover the full power of social media.

Basic design techniques have also failed to capture most small businesses. For most tech pundits, the "mobile first" and "responsive design" website initiatives are old news. But for nine out of 10 small businesses, neither of those messages have taken hold.

What's the best first step forward? Stop thinking in silos (smartphone, tablet, laptop, big-screen PC) and instead get into that "responsive" mindset -- where a single platform stretches, shrinks and/or reflows naturally based on each end-user's device.

Most of the major web content management systems (WordPress, Squarespace, etc.) now have simple responsive design templates for you and/or the small businesses you serve.

So get going. Mobile data traffic will increase by nearly a factor of 11 by 2018. If you're not mobile-enabled, smartphone users who visit your site likely see a massive highway billboard squeezed onto a postage stamp. That lousy first impression ultimately becomes their last visit to your site.

If you have questions about After Nines Inc.'s own mobile-first and responsive design efforts, give me a shout. With a little luck and some good planning, we may turn a rare triple double play (a single content database platform fueling responsive design plus automated app output) before the end of 2015...

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