20% of PM Traffic is via Mobile

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joshwolftree

Part of the Furniture Now
A mobile version of the site, or alternately an App. Why it's not as awesome an idea as you think.

From a technical support, for internet credit card processing, guy's standpoint.

(please note this is from a member,not a mod and certainly not Kevin. as such this is not an official answer and should not be construed as such.)

I will be representing this in a bullet point format please bear with me.

- 20% of traffic is mobile. this means that the site functions currently on mobile devices. While these devices may not be ideal for viewing the site, due to internet browser capabilities they are able to view it.

- for keeping up on particulars in the forum there is an RSS feed option which is compatible with phone type RSS readers

-100% of PM upkeep and profit is from sponsors. This is easy to forget when utilizing the computer because the ads are placed in a manner that they are unobtrusive while the average forum page has 4-5 ads running not including the site sponsors links section on the left sidebar.

-it is very difficult to put sponsor ad's or banners into an app or mobile version site in such a way that they are visible but do not detract from the overall experience. mostly this is due to screen size, but there are other design and technical factors involved which the developer would have to bear in mind.

-a mobile site or app version of the site would require development and maintenance, neither of these tasks are what would be considered simple,at least to the average non-technical computer or mobile user. This task would most likely be(no offense meant here) outside the grasp of our wonderful mod team and Kevin alone. I personally charge between $50 and $60 an hour for website development utilizing a billable hours system similar to an attorneys. Mind you this is about average, for developers in my area, and I may charge more or less depending on the site content, or my personal feelings about the site owner. (so if you are an arse hat who wants a hate site built from the ground up, I'll do it, but you may as well empty your bank account and close it now because I'm going to squeeze every bit of money out of your cause that I can. On the flip side your a nice old lady whose trying to put together a cheap site for some cause like neighborhood beautification or some such? It'll be free hosting. It won't be overly flashy but I'll make it look good. oh you wanna pay me in cookies...I do like me some fresh homemade cookies.)

-the next step is testing. This requires multiple devices utilizing multiple methods of entering the site. Hands up for beta tester volunteers. ok I see a few hands here, let me ask you something,(again no offense meant), how well are you going to describe the issue, the average "voluntary beta tester" is going to give a description roughly akin to trying to write an email to the mechanic about a sound your car is making. at best I may be able to reproduce the issue...at worst it's a device specific error and I don't have that device.

-our forums would quickly fill with phone text shorthand..lets be honest it's just easier on those tiny little keyboards.

-hosting. in the case of the site we have hosting space to take into account, we are talking about a modified copy of everything on PM, that's the space PM is currently using doubled give or take a kilobite. In the case of the mobile app. we have the Iphone store and the android market. Plus in order to keep the ads fresh and in a place out of the way of the experience of the user it would require constant updates in order to not destroy the memory of the phone with all the ads saved inside the app.

Well those are just my thoughts...again not any sort of official answer but from a developers standpoint it would be too large a pain for not enough return.

 

lordnoble

Lifer
Jul 13, 2010
2,676
6
This task would most likely be(no offense meant here) outside the grasp of our wonderful mod team and Kevin alone

While I'm sure it's not beyond Kevin's abilities (I envision him with some weird visual control over the Internet. Picture "The Matrix". I see Kevin bending that to his will), I think I can safely say that NONE of the Mods here can do ANY maintenance on this site for two reasons:
1. We don't have that kind of power. (At least I'm 99.99% sure we don't.) We can see a little more of the backend of the site and we can edit any post without time limits, but ultimately we are closer to a regular member than we are to Kevin in terms of what we can do here.
2. I'm reasonably certain (100% so for myself) that none of us Mods can actually do any development or maintenance on a technical level. Sure we could learn, but out of the gate? Nope.
Thanks for bringing up some of the pitfalls of a mobile-friendly version of the site, joshwolftree. While I would love it to be a bit more friendly with my iPhone, particularly with the menu bar at the top which almost ALWAYS seems to be right where I don't want it to, I can use the site in a pinch. I just remind myself what it was like BEFORE I got a smartphone. I couldn't access email let alone a webpage without a computer.
-Jason

 

admin

Smoking a Pipe Right Now
Staff member
Nov 16, 2008
8,576
3,697
St. Petersburg, FL
pipesmagazine.com
I have considered the possibility of doing a mobile version and a specific iPad version of the site several times over several years, and as recently as as last month.
The conclusion has always been - NO.
The reason is that, as previous posters have asserted, it already works on mobile devices and the amount of resources required to do it will not provide a sufficient, if any at all ROI. Not for this business model.

 

numbersix

Lifer
Jul 27, 2012
5,449
32
I manage a website and we also see the same 20% in mobile use and I expect that number to rise dramatically. We're in the process of moving to a responsive website that will work much better with all devices.
Mobile use is important to watch carefully and not neglect.

 

hans

Starting to Get Obsessed
Dec 3, 2012
189
1
The site as a whole should definitely be left alone and not change for mobile users.

My idea is just a mobile version for the forums. I'm not 100% sure but i know from other forums that i use that this seems to be pretty easy to implement.
There's a pretty big discussion and ways to do it listed here. i am not a true web nerd so it's not in my language but perhaps one of the web / IT guys here might be willing to look into it.

 

hfearly

Part of the Furniture Now
Oct 11, 2012
822
2
Canada
Based on Kevin's response, I've read a number of business analyses regarding mobile web traffic, to understand what Return of Interest a mobile version of a website would bring to the table.
In summary, whether or not a mobile version will bring benefits to the site owner depends on a number of factors, such as cost of web traffic, demographic and target audience of the site, cost of transition from Desktop to Mobile-compatible version, etc..
All reports that I encountered however, described that the increase in mobile traffic alone with establishing dedicated mobile versions (which in turn led to more advertisements displayed, which in turn led to greater revenue) paid for the cost of updating from a Desktop to a Mobile-compatible site.
Furthermore, mobile-compatible versions of the sites reportedly used smaller, compressed graphics which in turn significantly impacted costs for web traffic positively. As an added effect of this, the websites became more responsive, loaded faster and ultimately led to a significant increase of page views within the same browsing session from the same mobile device (which again will result in more advertisements delivered to the end user).
Lastly, business analysts agreed that mobile web traffic will likely account for more than 60% of all web traffic by 2015 (some state as high as 80%), so over the long-term there doesn't seem a way around this development.
Ultimately, there seem to be a variety of cost effective solutions (special Cascading Style Sheets, Javascript) approaches in the price range of 500-1000$ for a professional "mobileyfication" of a desktop site, and dedicated options such as "Tapatalk" that enable users of web forums to easily access with mobile devices.

 
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