As I visit a website using my smart phone and find myself looking at yet another website that looks really small and has obviously not been optimized for mobile users, I find myself wondering when is the right time for a business to invest in a website especially designed for mobile devices.

Certainly business owners have three options when it comes to delivering their content to mobile users. The choices should be driven by the size of your target audience that utilizes mobile devices. If your typical clientele does not use their smart phone to research for the products or services that you provide the decision to not invest your valuable marketing resources in servicing the mobile enabled customer may be a wise choice.

But these days the number of businesses that cannot benefit from providing mobile users with a user friendly experience is getting smaller all of the time.

I don’t know about you but I know when I come across a web site on my smart phone that doesn’t offer a mobile optimized experience I tend to leave the site; I leave very quickly. In web lingo this event is known as a BOUNCE. I am sure that the people who own that web site did not have this in mind.

The question that all business owners must ask themselves is “can they afford to have potential customers leaving their store dissatisfied?” When any user “bounces” off your web site, they are leaving your online store. Even if you only provide information and don’t actually sell anything online, a bounce is obviously an indication that there was a distinct lack of service. This is unlikely to instill goodwill towards your business on the part of the user.

As a business owner, can you afford to alienate your potential customers?

As the owner of a small business I often ask myself the question. When is the right time to invest in a Mobile Web Site? Should I invest in a mobile web site, or a mobile application (aka an App)?

Clearly there are many factors that need to be considered.

Before we get started we need to understand that the rate of technological adoption of mobile devices is increasing rapidly. In the fast growing markets of Asia and South America mobile usage already surpasses that of desktop computing devices. In North America and Europe usage of mobile devices is also growing rapidly.

You have to look no further than Wall Street to see that the most valuable company in the world is an organization whose primary success drivers are mobile devices. Apple has held the status of being the planets most valuable company for most of the past year. Exxon Mobile, the company with the second highest market capitalization has at times been worth as much as 200 Billion dollars less than Apple. Apples’ market cap is more than double that of Microsoft Corporation.

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Apple’s success with its iPhone line of smart phones and its iPad tablet device have allowed it to leave other former technology giants such as HP and Dell in the dust.

The choice as to whether to deploy a mobile App or a mobile website is a tough one. It will most likely be driven by your organization’s financial resources.

While the use of purpose built, platform specific apps has recently surpassed the use of mobile web sites, the issue for you as a business owner is really about your ability to deliver a user experience that will meet or exceed the expectations of your clientele.

If you can afford it developing an app will allow you to provide your users with the most finely tuned user experience. Because there are four major platforms achieving full coverage will be expensive.

Another advantage of mobile apps is they create a more permanent connect with the user. Mobile apps are physically installed on the users device, which is a significantly greater connection than can achieved through the use of a mobile browser.

Therefore for those people who are on a tighter budget developing a website that is optimized for smart phones could be the way to go.

A well designed and produced mobile website can deliver a common and refined user experience across all platforms.