Mobilize

Optimizing your website for mobile phones is becoming both more and less important than anticipated. It’s becoming more important because mobile search and web browsing are exploding, quickly eroding the computer’s dominance of the internet. But it’s also becoming less important because most of this growth is coming through smart phones like the iphone. These phones have larger screens than the traditional cell phones, big enough to browse normal websites that are not mobile optimized.

Websites can choose to build one version for computers and another for mobile phones. These mobile sites usually have urls like m.virtuallyignorant.com. But the smart phones are not using these mobile versions of the sites, they’re going to the www.virtuallyignorant.com version directly. Our advice is not to bother constructing an m.yoursite.com version for those using the traditional phones. Even though these phones can access the web, those who want to be using their phone to do serious surfing are likely to buy themselves smart phones.

So is there anything you can do to help yourself with smart phone users? Yes. Fortunately, it doesn’t require putting out a different version of your site complete with different urls. The answer is in stylesheets. How exactly to use these is beyond the scope of Virtually Ignorant and is something you’ll probably need your programmer to do. But in essence it means delivering the exact same web page to phones, just formatting the content differently for the smaller screens and slower delivery. So images will be delivered in smaller sizes, columns may be laid out differently, etc.