No. You do not need a mobile version of your website.
Creating a mobile version of your website is like creating a website that is a digital version of your brochure. It’s amazing to speak with business professionals and have them ask (multiple times every day) about whether or not they should have a mobile version of their website. The reason you do not need a mobile version of your website is because mobile is not the same as the Web. From platform to technology to how the consumer interacts with the media, the only thing that that the Web and mobile have in common is that they are both (still) new media.
Mobile is not a smaller version of a website.
Mobile must be treated as a beast unto itself. There are varying devices in market from mobile browsers that lack a lot of functionality to smartphones that offer unique browser experiences (think iPhone and Android). On top of that , iPad and the new tablet revolution add a whole other layer of complexity into the the equation. The way someone accesses the content is fundamentally different from a Web experience, but most importantly, more and more consumers are using mobile as the first gateway to find out about your brand.
Mobile is gaining market share.
… and with that market share comes a lot of attention. Is the shift from a personal computer world to a mobile world happening fast? Deal with this: according to IDC, 101 million smartphones were sold in Q4, versus 92 million PCs (more on that here: Business Insider – The Smartphone Market Is Now Bigger Than The PC Market). We are quickly moving to a world where all of our connected (and interconnected) devices will be mobile (most of them already are) and that will be our primary way we connect to information, one another and yes, brands as well. In the MediaPost news item, Mobile Rocks, the message is clear: "during the past year, technology improvements, device innovations and growing mobile media consumption have laid the foundation for the development of a strong mobile ecosystem. The challenge for marketers and brands will be how to successfully navigate through one of the most complex and rapidly evolving mediums the world has ever seen. The next year should be one of the most exciting in mobile history."
Mobile is not the new Internet.
Mobile is something completely different. It’s portable. Voice still plays a factor in it. It will not be manipulated by a keyboard or a mouse (it will be touch). The content and context must be easy to use, deliver results fast and give immediate value to the consumer. On top of that, mobile will (quickly) become the default platform of connectivity. So, once again, you do not need a mobile version of your website… you need to be thinking about your connected consumer and how you are providing them with the information, resources and content when they want it, where they want it and how they want it.
Mobile is not a smaller, lighter version of what you’re doing online. Is it?