With the rise of smartphones, having a website is no longer sufficient for having a proper presence on the web. Today a proper mobile website is a must to complement any traditional website because aside from mobile phones, tablets sales today are catching up to the sales of traditional computers, meaning that even if a person is at home, they might still be using a non-traditional display. Although having a mobile website used to require significant up front investments to cover the cost of construction, today there are many technologies that make it possible to have a mobile website virtually instantly without altering your existing website.
One of the biggest issues with mobile website technology is that while some systems actually function properly and are easy to use on a mobile device, some systems simply focus on squishing website content to fit a mobile screen,which leads to distortion and non-functioning parts of the site appearing on the screen. To fight this, many website themes follow “responsive” design practices, which means that rather than requiring multiple sites to be built for different devices, a single theme can be used across the board between mobile and traditional views. In fact, for businesses running their website on platforms such as WordPress Joomla, or Drupal, quality website designs can be found for prices ranging from $0 to $70 (anything higher is likely a rip off), which can be plugged into the site virtually instantly, while saving the business thousands of dollars in design and development costs. In fact, as a web developer, this is the approach I take with many of my small business clients because I am not a fan of reinventing the wheel.
For companies operating on WordPress with a theme they already like, Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has released an excellent free plugin for the platform called Jetpack, which is a Swiss army knife for the platform. By offering a wide array of tools in one plugin, Jetpack is a must have for any WorPpress site. One of the key features, which I happen to use on many of my own web properties, is the instant mobile website feature which allows users to take non-responsive website themes and allow Jetpack to automatically create a mobile site based on the current theme. Although this method is not perfect with all designs, it definitely is an option worth exploring within WordPress.
For companies not running WordPress, or those who have complex sites, companies such as Mobstac and WompMobile are helpful because they allow mobile sites to be created for a nominal fee. Mobstac has a free version which supports up to 250k page views a month. Their top plan is $99/month and supports 500k page views a month and includes mobile sites and also native applications for iOS, and Android. WompMobile provides similar services to Mobstac, however they require a $50 one-time development fee and their premium plan (which includes a custom domain, which is a must for any professional presence) is $24/month.
Overall, no matter which option a company chooses, it is important that testing be done across the board on as many devices as possible to ensure that the websites look and function properly no matter when and where the customers are.