Mobile Websites and Smartphone Statistics

Last week, we looked at some statistics that highlighted the importance of having a website for your business.

mobile website for EarthLink Internet & Web Hosting servicesToday we’ll follow up with some additional statistics: this time on the importance of also having a mobile website (you can see the mobile website for EarthLink in the screenshot on the right).

In their June 5 report, the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project for the first time found that the majority of Americans now own a smartphone.

The report found that 56% of all U.S. adults (age 18 and older) are smartphone owners. The percentage of smartphone ownership for younger Americans is significantly higher:

  • 79% between 18-24  
  • 81% between 25-34
  • 69% between 35-44

Not surprisingly, smartphone ownership also skews towards higher household incomes:

  • 61% for household incomes between $50,000-$74,999
  • 78% for household incomes $75,000 and above

So, what does that have to do with having a mobile website?

Well, one of the defining characteristics of a smartphone (one of the things that makes them smart) is the ability to use the phone to access the Internet and browse the web. While a smartphone browser can show a regular website in its browser, a mobile website is much easier to access and use for most smartphone users.

And shopping online is one of the things that quite a lot of smartphone owners use their Internet access for (remember, they have the highest household incomes, so they have more to spend).

According to a September 2012 study of mobile commerce by comScore, 4 out of 5 smartphone owners use their phone to access retail content.

Smartphone searches also drive action which can be beneficial to businesses. According to research by Google, after a search from their smartphone:

  • 68% have visited a business (either online or in person)
  • 53% have made a purchase
  • 24% have recommended a brand or product to others

The numbers are not just good news for the largest, national retailers like Amazon, eBay or Wal-Mart. Local search is driving commerce to local businesses.

After accessing local business content:

  • 61% of smartphone users called a business
  • 59% have visited a business
  • 74% have made a purchase as a result of using a smartphone.

Of those who made a purchase, 76% purchased in-store rather than online, so you don’t even need to be set up for ecommerce to see some of the sales benefit of having a mobile-ready business website.

That’s a pretty compelling case for the need to have a mobile website. And the numbers are only going to grow.

So, if you’re a business that’s still offline, get online today. If you’re a business with a website, but don’t yet have a mobile website, it would be smart to get started with that as soon as you can, so you don’t miss out on this accelerating trend.

With EarthLink Web Hosting, you have plenty of choices. Choose a do-it-yourself website plan or professional web design, a standard or premium web hosting plan or ecommerce hosting. All but one of our plans includes a mobile-optimized website, in addition to other valuable web hosting and website marketing features.

Here are all the EarthLink Web Hosting and Ecommerce Hosting plans that offer a mobile website:

Already using a mobile website for your business? Let us know how it’s working for you by leaving a comment below.

Web Hosting Packages – Buy for Current Needs or Future Growth?

Web hosting packages vary in scope as much as businesses vary in needs.  It can be tough to determine the right package to purchase when your company is new (or in a phase of growth) because you need to decide if you want to select a web hosting plan that fits your current needs and upgrade as needs change, or to pick a plan you can grow into so you don’t have to hassle with an upgrade.

Here are three scenarios of a business that will help you decide which option is the best fit for you…

1) Your Business is a New Start-Up

As a start up, the goal is growth.  It can be tempting to try and cut costs when launching a business, but the time and stress of upgrading a hosting plan soon after purchasing it may not be worth the cost savings.  If you plan on growing, why select as plan that fits your current needs, when you could go one step up and have room to grow?

2) Your Business is Established, but is Getting Online for the First Time

If your business has been established, and you’re simply getting yourself online for the first time, select a plan that fits your current size. Unless you plan on moving most of your sales to an online store, or plan on revamping the way you do business, chances are you will know the commitment to an online presence you’ll need.  It could still be useful to select a plan a step above what you think you’ll need (especially if you’re adding an online shopping cart), but you can be comfortable selecting a plan that fits your current needs since you’re established instead of brand new.

3) Your Business is a Side Business or Hobby

Being a “small” business can be wonderful.  Either it’s a side business, jut for fun, or the online component of your business doesn’t need to be huge (though you do need an online presence, as it’s expected by consumers in today’s economy).  If you’re this type of business, feel free to select a small plan.  If it grows, congratulate yourself and then upgrade, but if you know going into it that your web hosting needs will be conservative, there’s no need to chose a more in depth plan until you have to.

An Online Shopping Cart Can Make or Break Your Business

An online shopping cart can be the difference between making a sale and losing a customer.  If your business is a service (pet grooming, wedding planning, etc.) and you don’t ship physical goods, then you likely won’t need a shopping cart as part of your website.  But, if customers buy ship-able goods from you, you absolutely should include give your customers the option to order directly from you online.

It doesn’t matter if you build your website yourself or have a professional web designer build it for you: you need to know if your customers will expect eCommerce functionality (aka “has an online shopping cart”), and provide accordingly.  Customers are the lifeblood of your business, and making it convenient for them to give you their money should be a top priority!

EarthLink’s eCommerce plans let you accept credit cards through the web, and is the most convenient way for your customers to buy (since no “time” needs to be spent helping a customer when they’re shopping independently in your online store).  eCommerce web hosting plans do cost more than standard hosting plans…but the ability to sell online often far overshadows that cost with profits.

As a bonus, EarthLink includes many additional services in its eCommerce Web Hosting packages, outlined here:

  • StoreCreator Pro – Easy-to-use, professional ecommerce shopping cart builder. Includes links to help you sell with eBay.com and Amazon.com
  • Rapid SSL Certificate – Allows secure transactions through your online shopping cart; increases customer confidence in your website.
  • One-Page Mobile Website – Get customers who are online with smartphones and tablets.
  • Call Tracking – Call-tracking and analytics service helps you improve your online and offline marketing. You get a unique toll-free or local phone number so you can track and record customer calls. Includes click-to-call and other features.
  • Advanced Website Template Gallery – Choose from more than 5,000 templates.
  • Announcer Pro – Send your customers engaging email newsletters using graphic-rich HTML email templates. Includes contact management and reporting tools. Includes 500 contacts; our standard web hosting plans include up to 250 contacts.
  • 1,000 Business-Class Email Accounts – Allows for comprehensive email system as your business grows. Standard website hosting plans include up to 200 email addresses.

EarthLink Web Hosting Helps Your Business with Social Media

EarthLink Web Hosting is here to help you get into a market you might not be thinking about: social media.  Facebook is huge (in 2011 in the United States, one out of EVERY five internet page views occurred on Facebook), and if your business doesn’t have a page, you are missing out on having visibility where most of your customers are every day.

EarthLink knowshow little time you have to add another project to your to-do list, so we’ve launched our “SocialPageCreator Pro” as a part of EarthLink Web Hosting.

SocialPageCreator Pro makes it easy to set up a professional Facebook presence, attract new customers, and get more people to “Like” your business.

If you select this add-on during sign-up for EarthLink web hosting or ecommerce hosting service (or call 1-800-201-8615  to add it), our experts will help get your Facebook page up and running quickly with an engaging, professional design.

SocialPageCreator Pro lets you use social media to announce your products and services, launch viral promotions, run special contests, and capture new leads.

It also includes a custom Facebook page tab to drive new “Likes,” and design your new cover image to make the most of Facebook’s new timeline format.

Get your business started on Facebook and reach those customers!