Your customers and potential customers are looking for information on the web.

They are using desktop computers, laptop computers, tablets,and smartphones — with screen sizes ranging from 3 inches to 27 inches or so. They’re on wired networks, wi-fi, 3G and 4G cellular networks. Some are sitting and browsing patiently, some are browsing intermittently while getting out of the car or sitting on the train, while shopping for some great new jeans or ordering dinner, while getting the kids ready for soccer practice or feeding the baby in the middle of the night — even while walking down the street or waiting for their friends who are always late.

Is your website a good experience in most situations on any device?

It’s a question worth considering since good user experience is good customer service, which leads to satisfied, happy, and returning customers.

According to Internal Google Data, via mobiThinking, mobile searches have quadrupled in the last year. A significant percentage of searches are now mobile.

• 1 in 3 mobile searches are local. After looking up a local business on their smartphone, 61 percent of users called the business and 59 percent visited.

• 71 percent of smartphone users who see a TV, print, or online ad, do a mobile search for more information, but 79 percent of large online advertisers still do not have a mobile optimized site.

A large percentage of businesses in general still do not have a mobile–optimized site. Yet you may wonder what the big deal is about mobile optimized. If your website can be viewed on a mobile device — and many can be — why optimize? What’s the difference?

Mobile Websites

Here are five great reasons it matters:

1. People can read mobile–optimized sites.

A site that is designed for a mobile–sized screen is a great experience. People can see all the content you have to offer right away – no squinting, zooming, sideways scrolling, reaching for the reading glasses. Why would anyone bother doing all of that just for your site? More than likely, they’ll leave and spend time exploring sites that work well on their beloved smartphones.

2. Mobile–optimized sites load more quickly.

Who doesn’t get frustrated waiting for sites to load on their phones? Who waits around when it takes too long? Especially when someone is trying to take a quick look before crossing a street or before making a purchasing decision. You have a strong edge if you’re simply there when your customers need you.

3. Video and graphics look good on mobile–optimized sites.

A good mobile site does not use Flash. It won’t work on a lot of phones.  Flash technology is frequently used on desktop sites to display videos, but it just doesn’t work at all or doesn’t work well on many smartphones or tablets, including iPhones, iPads, Windows 7 phones, Blackberries, and some Android devices. Your valuable content will be lost if it is not served in a way that actually works.

4. Smartphones are used by 58% of American consumers.

And smartphones are used by 76% of those under age 44, according to a 2012 study by Frank N. Magid Associates. That’s a lot of potential customers you can lose or gain in mere seconds based on their experience using your website on their mobile phones.

5. At least 46% of smartphone owners browse the Internet on their devices “several times per day.”

This is according to the Edison Research/Arbitron Internet and Multimedia Research Series. The percentage of smartphone owners who browse the Internet at least once every day is much higher.

Here’s your opportunity:

With so many businesses not yet providing a great mobile experience, you still have an especially prime opportunity to be ahead of the competition — to pleasantly surprise people, gain their confidence, and sell your product or service all because you provided a mobile–optimized website that served the desired content when and where it was needed.