If you ever used primitive site-builder services like Geocities or Tripod, you probably remember how you could select from a set of pre-defined templates, add a guest book, and embed some dancing gifs or a free jingle, to create simple (mostly personal) web pages.
Since a mobile site is the new "in thing" now, many of these services that were popular in early days are making a come back -- albeit in different form. Today you can use services like Ubik.com (powered by Volantis), Mozeo, MoFuse, and many others to quickly create sites optimized for delivery to mobile devices.
Services like these provide a low cost and a quick way to create mobile presence. Some of them can also provide advanced features for customization, such as specialized branding templates in lieu of existing canned templates.
But you should also ask yourself, are you still just creating another Geocities-style presence for the mobile world? It's worth asking, because you may quickly run into limitations. If you're exploring any these options, get answers to these questions:
- Can you modify the user experience for different types of handsets based on devices' capabilities and limitations?
- How will you ensure that your main web presence stays in sync with mobile web presence?
- Do you have to create content twice - once for your web site and then again for your mobile site?
- How will you embed applications to enable transactions or build features such as personalization?
- If you employ a mobile site-builder service today to get up and running quickly, can they provide a migration path should you opt for another alternative in future?
There are many more such issues. Once you start addressing these, you may find that building a mobile site is no longer as quick and inexpensive as you might have thought.
In any case, as with other tools, evaluate these services from a longer-term perspective, and not just today's quick time to market.