Business information written specifically for newspaper advertising departments

Mobile-Optimized Websites

In his speech “Ten Essential Steps to Launching Your Mobile Site,” executive chairman and co-founder of Verve Wireless, Art Howe outlined the steps to ensuring a good mobile presence.

QR Codes are continuing to gain momentum. According to Deliver Magazine’s article “Codename: QR,” ScanLife, a New York- based research company, reported a 700-percent increase in QR code scans in 2010. Experts forecast that there will be a mobile barcode explosion in 2011. With the proliferation of QR codes, it has become necessary to have a mobile- optimized website. While they can be used to transmit a variety of variety of information, they are most commonly used for sending someone to a web page. In fact, this year’s SNA, SNPA, and Inland’s Mega Conference dedicated a presentation to optimizing your mobile website. In his speech “Ten Essential Steps to Launching Your Mobile Site,” executive chairman and co-founder of Verve Wireless, Art Howe outlined the steps to ensuring a good mobile presence.

STEP 1: MOBILE IS THE CHANGE AGENT

First, you need to understand mobile will be the Number One screen for news and advertising. The industry trends are telling us that the number of mobile Internet users around the world will exceed desktop Internet users by 2013.

STEP 2: UNDERSTAND MOBILE IS NOT “INTERNET LITE”

With the profusion of mobile platforms and operating systems, you need to understand that this is a complex system with multiple layers of content.

You need to understand that this is a complex system with multiple layers of content. 

You can’t simply make a smaller version of your site. It needs to be readable, clean, and not bogged down by heavy graphics.

STEP 3: OBTAIN CORPORATE BUY-IN

Demand sufficient resources and people to efficiently and adequately develop your mobile web presence.

STEP 4: APPOINT A MOBILE MANAGER

Make sure that your mobile site and digital initiatives aren’t simply a part-time diversion of your current “web guy.” It requires a mobile manager at the director level or higher that has access to publishers and can obtain cooperation of the Internet technology staff and digital advertising team.

STEP 5: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME

Howe warned against utilizing an amateur web programmer; “this has never worked ANYWHERE,” he stated. Howe recommends partnering with someone who has the platform and tools necessary to create a mobile site.

STEP 6: DEVELOP A STRATEGY

“Avoid ‘Ready.... shoot... aim’ tactics,” Howe stated. You need a complete digital strategy—“an iPhone app is just one portion of the market.” Your strategy should incorporate reporting, video, photos, apps and advertising strategy.

STEP 7: OFFER MORE THAN JUST HEADLINES

“We have moved way beyond that now.” Howe suggested keeping mobile offerings fun, with citizen news, sports, photos, etc.

STEP 8: ABOVE ALL KEEP IT LOCAL!

“Mobile is an inherently local medium,” Howe said. Mobile users want to connect with trusted local networks.

Mobile users want to connect with trusted local networks.

STEP 9: INCLUDE LOCAL ADVERTISING

Mobile provides you with engagement tools that are better than anything else for connecting with users. Plus, local ads alongside local content improves the mobile experience. “Local promotion drives consumers to local stores,” Howe stated. Some of the biggest advertisers on mobile are: auto, finance, restaurants and entertainment.

STEP 10: TRAIN YOUR SALES PEOPLE TO SELL MOBILE

“We highly urge training,” Howe stated. “Sales people will not sell what they don’t know."