By Barry Sloane

Running a business is a 24-hour job. If you’re not at your computer, you’re most likely on your phone. And just like you, the rest of the world is doing the same thing. Some 91% of American adults have cell phones, 56% are using smartphones, and 34% own a tablet.  Suffice it to say, mobile devices are quickly becoming busy people’s preferred choice for Web browsing.

When they’re not trying to get directions, people are sending emails, updating Facebook pages, or checking Twitter feeds–and, most importantly for small businesses, shopping! Don’t be left out because “Jane Doe on the go” can’t find or engage easily with your site. Create a mobile website.

A mobile website is different than your main website and can be seen and used easily on devices such as tablets and smartphones. What’s more, it does not have to be a completely different site from your original website. When logging onto your site from a cellphone or tablet, the device recognizes it and renders your page to fit the screen (also known as responsive design).

If your site isn’t coded to change its appearance and function with the device, your website can become hard to see and navigate. This could turn away a lot of would-be consumers — an unacceptable idea.

Here are the four elements of a great mobile website for businesses:

1.       Loading time: The longer your page takes to load, the quicker your visitor will leave.  With everything at one’s fingertips, patience has become a vanishing virtue. Sometimes, a slow loading time is inevitable because of a user’s carrier service. Help out the process by reducing the size of your graphics and images.

2.       Attractive layout: Think of the view of your site in screen shots. Your site should be built vertically for easy scrolling. Also, navigation bars are a mobile user’s best friend. Make sure they are easy to find and easy to click. The bigger the clicking target, the less the user frustration, and the longer users will continue to browse on your site.

3.       Quick Checkout: Even though your viewer is on a mobile site, it doesn’t mean they can’t make a transaction. As long as your checkout window is easy to navigate and has options that scroll, taking transactions on a mobile device can be a breeze.

4.       Instant Help: Make sure your contact information is easily found with a clickable email address that opens to a new message. Since most mobile sites are viewed on cell phones, make sure your phone number is also clickable so you can be reached effortlessly.

Barry Sloane is CEO of Newtek Business Services, which provides small business solutions including payroll, small business loans, payment processing and website design.