If you haven’t heard it yet, you will. Speakers, authors, bloggers, consultants … all of us … are going to be yelling at you about optimizing your website for mobile users. As consumers move more toward mobile (both phone and tablet) browsing, the more important it will be for your website to appear well on those devices.

Unfortunately for many businesses, mobile optimization will likely require a complete redesign, or at least a design of a mobile optimized site that can be added on to your current site. Your content management system or site software can detect what browser is trying to access it, so it can then serve up the pages for the mobile site instead of the regular one.

For others using WordPress, Drupal or other open-source or more up-to-date content management systems, you can also find plug-ins or add-ons that will present your site’s information in a mobile version. These are often cheap and easy to install, but don’t have a lot of flexibility for design and the like.

Ideally, you have a mobile site designed specifically for your target audience and how they might use your site from a mobile device. One of the finest examples of an uber-useful mobile site is that of Papa John’s. They know the average mobile user accessing PapaJohns.com doesn’t care about John Schnatter’s bio, investor relations or even customer service. They want a damn pizza. So their mobile website (not a custom app, but the pages that are served when a mobile device navigates to papajohns.com, presents three options: Find a Store, Order for Takeout and Order for Delivery.

Simple is brilliant.

Regardless of how you attack optimizing for mobile devices, you’re going to want to do it for a lot of reasons, the least of which is illustrated in the following chart, the number of unique visitors navigating Social Media Explorer from mobile devices in the last two months of 2011.

Mobile Optimization Spikes Traffic

On Nov. 20 of last year, Social Media Explorer relaunched with our current design. Part of that design process was to optimize the site for mobile devices. Instead of fooling with a WordPress plugin or some other rudimentary solution, our designer, David Yeiser, approached the site redesign using responsive design. There are no apps, plugins or mobile gadgets at play here. When you see SME on a tablet or mobile device, the design responds to your browser size and serves up the site in an optimal way for that screen.

As you can see, when we launched the design, we didn’t just get a sudden spike of mobile or tablet visitors, but we’ve sustained a higher level of mobile traffic since.

Optimizing your site for mobile devices brings you more mobile traffic.

It delivers a better experience to your audience that happens by your online home on a tablet or mobile device.

Even with our meager, niche audience on SME, our mobile traffic has increased by 285 visitors per day. That’s 104,000 visitors per year and we haven’t really even pushed the tablet or mobile offerings.

While launching something on the web is not a matter of “if you build it, they will come,” when you add mobile optimization to an existing property, they will.

Why are you waiting? Get your website people on the line now and ask how you can optimize for mobile. If you don’t, you’re just missing customers.

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About Jason Falls

Jason Falls

Jason Falls is the founder and chief instigator for Social Media Explorer's blog and signature Explore events. He is a leading thinker, speaker and strategist in the world of digital marketing and is co-author of two books, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide To Social Media Marketing and The Rebel's Guide To Email Marketing. By day, he leads digital strategy for CafePress, one of the world's largest online retailers. His opinions are his, not necessarily theirs. Follow him on Twitter (@JasonFalls).

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