Make Sure Your Mobile Website Weathers the Storm
By Aaron Rudger | July 12, 2012
Every year stories emerge about natural disasters that affect our ability to stay connected to news and information. The recent power loss after the derecho storm that swept the East Coast of the United States at the end of June was a reminder that we all need to prepare for unforseeable conditions. Smartphones and tablets provide an important means to stay connected when critical situations arise, but what does it matter if we can't access information we need, they way we need it on your mobile device?
At the end of June, The Washington Post reported that 1.5 million customers were without power in the DC area, with nearly 500,000 affected in Northern Virginia. Dominion VA Power reported that it would take multiple days to restore power to every neighborhood. In the meantime, life went on, in part due to mobile devices. Customers visited store areas such as malls to charge their phones, conducting business and staying informed from their mobile devices. A fast, reliable mobile website can alleviate some of the burdens when a natural disaster occurs, allowing customers continued access to information through news portals and social media sites.
Mobile technology is increasingly becoming the avenue for disseminating news and information during emergencies. According to a recent , 95% of Millennials own a cell phone, but only 57% own a desktop computer. How do you think they stayed connected? Companies whose businesses are impacted by disasters should keep this in mind when developing their sites to ensure that they are also mobile ready.
What can you do to make sure your site is mobile ready?
- Monitor your site regularly to determine fluctuations in performance. With regular monitoring you can identify key areas where your mobile site isn't holding up in terms of speed and reliability. You don't know when a natural distaster will strike. If it happens and users aren't sitting at their desk, chances are that they'll be reaching for their smartphone. Under normal conditions it's not uncommon to see increases in mobile traffic outside of traditional working hours. During an emergency or big news story, that percentage can grow quite a bit.
- Load test your site to make sure it can handle certain amounts of traffic, especially for uncertain conditions. Let's say that your website is well-built, like a brick house (as opposed to straw or sticks), at some level of visitor traffic it will come down. It's important that you know that breaking point so that you can be prepared for all but the unlikeliest of scenarios. When a Category 5 storm hits, resulting in a flood ofhits to your mobile website, don't leave your visitors in the dark because your server can't handle the load.
These are basic recommendations for any company with a mobile website. But for a company providing news and information to an increasingly mobile population, they should be standard practice.