Image representing iPhone 3G as depicted in Cr...
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Just as Twitter is a micro-blog version of regular blogs, allowing only “posts” of 140 characters, stripped down to the bare minimum, so mobile websites are stripped down versions of “main” websites, showing only the most important information.

What constitutes “the most important information”? 

In a nutshell, stuff the user needs to know.

Photos are gone. Graphics are gone. Ads are gone (though that is about to change, thanks to mobile advertising companies such as AdMob). Everything is strictly “need to know”.

What graphics should you “keep”, when creating a mobile version of your website?

Well, human beings thrive on consistency and love repetition, so by all means, keep the same colors as your main PC site (even though the layout will have to be different). If you have a “branded” business with a logo, it's a good idea to include a small version of your logo on your home page. And pay particular attention to navigation.

(Remember, people are going to be accessing your information on tiny browsers – often while multi-tasking (a polite way of saying “driving”.)  Which we hope not.

One of the most important items to include? Reassurances about security, if your mobile website visitors are going to be doing any e-trade.

One other thing to remember about many mobile devices:  They don't like JavaScript, so your standard Google Analytics won't work. You can try out a commercial service, but this is where AdMob Analytics really comes into its own. (It's free, too – as is!)

And if the thought of learning Tiny XHTML (the latest mobile website coding language) turns you pale, you're now able to download 40 free 1-column website templates from Mashable – though it might help to know that, in spite of varying screen sizes, the accepted standard for mobile screen design is 240 X 320.

Meanwhile, forget 3G, Blackberries and SmartPhones – the next greatest thing is going to be the iPad, with a 9.7″ screen, entirely accessed through touch. (No, not the “iPod” – the “iPad”, running on the same operating system as the iPhone (which should mean you'll be able to access all the same apps!) I had a look recently at pictures of the first versions.

Who knows… Maybe this time next year, we'll all be designing bigger mobile websites again (to fit in all that advertising!)

If you are interested in learning more about mobile marketing and mobile websites contact me.

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