Mobile web marketing may become the next Internet frontier to conquer. I say maybe because there are conflicting reports of it’s future, mainly because of the iPhone product.
You see, most products (cell phones, psp’s, ebook readers, etc.) that have small screens and access the Internet cannot read “regular” websites very well. That means they have to convert those regular websites into a text version and most of the time those conversions are not so easy for the viewer to read.
So, the .mobi domain extension and concept was born. Basically, website owners are being asked to create a duplicate (sort of) website but in a very streamlined, text only version and put that under a .mobi domain. So, www.eckweb.com would then be duplicated under www.eckweb.mobi.
Anyone on a mobile device can access google.mobi or other search engine directory and then search like they normally would. The .mobi directory only lists .mobi websites.
This all seemed to work for mobile web marketing strategists but then came along the iPhone which doesn’t HAVE to use .mobi versions – instead it shows websites just as they are, in full glory. But the problem with the iPhone is that in order to SHOW the website, it reduces the size of the website page dramatically. So, to READ the website the iPhone user has to zoom in and then scroll left to right, top to bottom. Only because the screen is small – no other reason. The resolution and clarity of the website is great, but it’s still on a cell phone screen.
So, the question is, to .mobi or not .mobi? The answer is…it depends on what you want your audience to do.
1) If your website is filled with information that you think a mobile audience would read, then YES, create a .mobi version. Link from your regular website to the .mobi version.
2) If you want your audience to contact you via their phone and you don’t necessarily want to show them any information, then you probably don’t need a .mobi version of your website. But I would recommend to put your phone number on the top left hand corner of your website (That’s the corner that gets listed first on a mobile unit).
3) .mobi emulator will show you what your website looks like on a mobile unit.
To .mobi or not? Personally, I recommend a .mobi version to my clients. The cost is minimal, the benefits can be great. As more and more users get on the mobile web (it’s already HUGE in Europe and Asia, it’s just a matter of time before it hits the USA), it’s best to be prepared for them. Why wait until the last minute?
Even if more phones go the way of iPhone and are able to showcase the entire website in full display, the display is STILL small. There is no reason to NOT provide a .mobi version to your viewers – it simply makes good business sense.