Google has launched a new initiative to help small businesses optimise their websites for smartphone users.
The GetMo campaign provides bosses with the critical tools and resources they need to revolutionise their website for the hand-held browsing era.
Recent research has shown that the ownership of smartphones grew from 30 per cent at the start of last year to 45 per cent by September-October.
Google has reported that phone users are constantly using them to search for information, with Google mobile searches climbing by 400 per cent over the last two years.
One firm that has already started to reap the rewards of having a mobile-friendly website is Preloved, an online marketplace based in London.
The company, which connects buyers and sellers of anything from pepper pots to vintage vehicles, has seen massive improvements and has recommended other small businesses follow its lead.
Ian Buzer, managing director of Preloved, said: “I would say that it is now becoming vital for small businesses to be thinking about mobile, particularly those that are looking to attract local customers.
“This was particularly important for Preloved as our service brings together buyers and sellers from their local area. Our mobile site quickly became popular and now represents 25 per cent of our total traffic.
“Since the launch we have seen a 41 per cent improvement in the number of buyers and sellers that we have matched using mobile devices.”
Simplifying web pages and getting a rounded understanding of what customers want are the key ideas underpinning this success, according to Buzer.
“Creating a mobile web site is not difficult technically but it does need a business owner to understand what their customers want to achieve while on the move,” he said.
“Focusing on these needs will enable them to build a simple mobile website, without unnecessary information or functions and therefore simple and fast to use.”
Buzer has urged other bosses to have a look at the GetMo advice at www.howtogetmo.com – even if they think they know enough to go it alone.
“I would encourage anyone planning to launch a web site or even those with an existing site to look at the GetMo ‘Mobile Site Best Practices’. We have made a number of improvements to the Preloved mobile site on the basis of these recommendations.”
And Preloved, which is the largest independent classifieds site in the UK, is not resting on its laurels as it looks to continue pressing home its advantage in this area.
Buzer added: “We are expecting this growth to continue as smartphones become ubiquitous. We are therefore continuing to invest heavily in the development of our mobile site to ensure we offer the best possible service to our members as they browse on the move.”