atladsenser - 6:56 pm on Jul 28, 2012 (gmt 0)
Good luck, DaLoco! If I were in your shoes and getting started today, I'd really give a lot of thought to building something that has a dual experience -- one for the desktop web and one for mobile.
Here's a few articles that I've come across that have really shaped my thinking on the mobile revolution. They're by a guy named Keith Teare, who helped found TechCrunch and is now involved in some sort of incubator/VC fund.
The Mobile Paradox - [techcrunch.com...]
It's Not About Instagram, It's About Mobile - [techcrunch.com...]
Mobile: Facebook and Google Can't Live With It, and Can't Live Without It - [techcrunch.com...]
I think how serious you want to be about building something that serves both experiences depends on how long you want to do it. If you want to build a site as a hobby or a side business, maybe you don't necessarily have to think about it for now. If you want to build a business that can last 5 or 10 years, however, I'd give it a LOT of thought.
One of the challenges I have with my site is that I didn't build it with any sort of CMS. I never imagined it would become as successful as it has, and it was always something I did in my spare time until last year, so I never really had the time to implement a CMS or make the changes I'd need to make to bring one online. So now I have literally thousands of pages on my site, which makes upgrading to a new layout or implementing media queries for mobile extremely daunting, to say the least.
If I were getting started today, I'd be sure to choose a CMS and a site design/layout that accommodated both audiences, and plan for the mobile audience to eventually outgrow (perhaps far outgrow) the desktop audience. In that case, you'll need to think about what users will want to see in a small screen -- what kinds of content work for it? Instagram has certainly figured that out with photos. How can a more article/text-focused site (which is what mine is) work in that environment?
Those are questions I'm not sure I have an answer to at this point, but they're things we'll all need to figure out in the next couple of years, I think.
It sounds like there's a real mix here of site owners & publishers who are experiencing big growth in their mobile traffic like I am, while others aren't seeing it in a big way. Personally from my own experience, browsing and reading is shifting to something I do on my iPhone and iPad, while I'm beginning to mainly use the desktop and laptop for working.
I'm not sure what that means for online ads -- right now, what I hear and read is that mobile ads pay less than desktop ads, but I don't have any data of my own to back that up (other than what I see in the AdSense control panel, which breaks down ad performance by screen), as my site isn't "mobile-ized." That's another reason that's driving my decision -- I'm not sure there's going to be a worthwhile return on the investment I'd need to make to create a mobile-friendly site for me, given the technical specifics of my site.
What are you guys experiencing? Do you have mobile versions of your site, running mobile-specific ads? How do they perform?