Online education portals like Udacity and Coursera are really changing the world of remote learning in significant ways. By making free and high quality education accessible to a global audience, these platforms are opening up undreamt of possibilities for communities around the world to improve, grow, and prosper in the digital economy of the 21st century. Education at top tier colleges and universities has traditionally been a social and economic privilege, but now anyone can join in the learning revolution by sitting in virtual classrooms with the world’s best and brightest educators. Whether this involves learning how to code and build smart phone apps, or starting up a new business, or learning about public health literacy, the sky is the limit of what’s now possible.

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How to make your business Mobile First

We’ve all heard about the impressive trends on the rise of mobility over the last few years: declining sales of PCs and increased sales of mobile devices globally, more mobile devices are used to access the internet than PCs, and more people are shopping online with smartphones and tablets than ever before. This all means one thing: businesses must ensure that mobile is not just an adjunct part of their strategy; mobile must BE their strategy! If mobile is not central to your business strategy then you might as well close shop. It’s that important.




The typical business approach to the massive growth in mobile has been responsive web design. This approach to web design is one that applies code breaks and gives users means to readily read and navigate web content with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling. While responsive web design, or RWD, is a step in the right direction, it’s not enough. The starting point for RWD is still the traditional desktop website, and that’s a backwards approach.

What we need is to adopt a “mobile first” strategy which starts by putting the mobile experience front and center. It starts with a different set of questions about the needs and expectations of today’s savvy mobile customer. Mobile first is a paradigm shift in thinking away from a traditional website mentality to a mobile-centric perspective. It’s all-encompassing and impacts the way you think about development, analytics, and marketing.




Let’s unpack some action items that small business leaders should be thinking about today when it comes to adopting a mobile first strategy.

* Assume a future in which the majority of your visitors and customers will be using mobile devices.

* Realize that responsive web design is not enough.

* Do whatever it takes to please your mobile customers and meet their high expectations; offer a mobile friendly app that is user friendly and delivers content as quickly as possible.

* Get rid of a traditional desktop analytics perspective and embrace a mobile-centric one that focuses on tracking mobile sessions and using these insights to measure engagement and drive your A/B testing, marketing campaigns, and UX changes.

* Shift your marketing paradigm from a desktop perspective in which you look for customers to a mobile-centric one where customers look for you.

* Take a look at your current website on smart phones and tablets; review content, functionality, download speed and ask yourself what needs improving.

* Use Google Analytics for initial diagnostics on your mobile traffic; see what your current mobile traffic segment is, what kind of mobile devices visitors are using, and the percent of mobile traffic in relation to all site visits.

* Gather user experience experts, designers, and developers to plan out your firm’s mobile first website; begin with the question of how the content will look on mobile devices rather than on a desktop.

* Set a roadmap for developing a customized mobile app and sidestep discussions around HTML5 vs. Native approaches; build it around the needs of the customer not the technology!

* Start to revamp your marketing strategy to a mobile-centric one; get onboard with Facebook ads and use tools like ShortStack to optimize them.

* Be deliberately customer focused and go out of the way to reward your customers with free gifts or coupons for your products or services. Incentivize them to refer their colleagues, friends, and family to your newly revised mobile site.




The best time to begin leveraging the mobile web is right now. Start asking your customers about their mobile usage and pivot from there. You don’t need to boil the ocean but you should deliberately map out clear steps and benchmarks towards growing your mobile strategy and presence over the next 6 months.

Mobile is the future of business and perhaps the future of everything. The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. So start on this path today and you’ll soon see how a mobile first strategy can transform your business inside and out.

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About Jeffrey Walker

Jeff is a business development consultant who specializes in helping businesses grow through technology innovations and solutions. He holds multiple master’s degrees from institutions such as Andrews University and Columbia University, and leverages this background towards empowering people in today’s digital world. He currently works as a research specialist for a Fortune 100 firm in Boston. When not writing on the latest technology trends, Jeff runs a robotics startup called, along with oversight and leadership of - an emerging market assistance company that helps businesses grow through innovation.