There are approximately 6.4 million iPhone users in the US alone. Estimates for the number of smartphones on the market vary, but many experts believe that over 80 million Americans will have smartphones by the end of 2011. And that’s just in the US.

As the user base of smartphones grows, businesses must adapt. If your website doesn’t load properly on a smartphone, you’re leaving a gigantic demographic behind. Even people who have computers often use the internet on their phones instead for on-the-go usage.

=> Going Phone Friendly is Easy

Yes, it does take a bit of development effort. But it’s not as hard as it looks.

For one, you can easily tell your user’s browser to adapt its page width to whatever width the device is, using the meta viewport tag. That means that whether someone’s looking at the screen from a computer, an iPhone, iPad or an Android, they’ll all see a web page that fits exactly according to their screen.

If you want to put in additional development effort, you can even create completely different web interfaces for phones. This is slightly more complex, but you’ll create a much more seamless user experience. iPhone sites are generally much smaller than typical websites and therefore easier to design.

=> Going Phone Friendly is Profitable

It’s incredibly frustrating to load a web page on a phone and not be able to see it properly. Chances are, if that happens you lose that customer for good.

If they load the site and get a typical, non-phone friendly website, they’ll usually still browse the website. They’re not afraid to scroll a little more or zoom in and out. That said, however, it won’t make much of a positive impression.

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On the other hand, if you go through the effort to create a phone-friendly website, this will really create a great impression on phone users. They feel like you “get them” and catered to them. They’ll be much more inclined to do business with you, whether it’s by phone or when they get home to their computers.

=> Forward Thinkers Tend to be Buyers

Whether or not you create a phone-friendly site does depend a bit on your market.

If you’re catering to 60-somethings who are about to retire, as a demographic they’re likely less inclined to be using smartphones. In that case, you don’t need a phone-friendly website at all.

However, in most markets, the people you want on your website are people who are comfortable using the web. People who are comfortable online are also more comfortable pulling out their credit cards. They move through more pages, meaning you get to display more ads. In short, the early adopters are absolutely an audience worth catering to.

The bottom line is this: Smartphones are becoming more and more prevalent all over the world. Give your business a leg up by creating a smartphone-friendly website. It’s not that difficult – in fact, just a few lines of code could make a huge difference.