How to plan your mobile strategy

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Creating an effective mobile-friendly presence takes more than just making your website smaller. Here's some advice for moving to mobile.

In case you weren't already making your websites mobile-friendly, you (along with the rest of Corporate America) have gotten several wake-up calls over the past months.

Late last year, Gartner predicted that by 2018, half of all Internet users would access the Web exclusively via a smartphone or tablet. Then in April of this year, Google announced it was changing its algorithm for searches conducted from smartphones. If a webpage isn't mobile-friendly, it drops in the rankings, a change that had such a far-reaching effect that it got its own apocalyptic nickname --"mobilegeddon."

Google was preparing the industry for its landmark announcement in May: That in 10 countries, including the United States and Japan, the number of Google searches on mobile devices exceeded those on computers. Google didn't list the other countries, but Gartner's prediction noted that in emerging economies, users are adopting smartphones as their exclusive mobile devices, presumably resulting in a lot of searches.

So it's no longer a question as to whether to make a website mobile -- but rather, how. Over the last two years, companies have taken a scattershot approach. Some built so-called m-dot sites, or sites designed exclusively for mobile devices; some adopted responsive design, re-coding sites so they would automatically adjust to whatever device was used to view them; and some decided to build apps as their primary mobile channel. Some have done all three (and some have yet to do anything).

In fact, these choices need not be either/or propositions.

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