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Is it time to switch to a Responsive Web Design?

With mobile technology operating on a continual cycle of development and mobile usage still regularly increasing there really isn’t even a question anymore; it is time to switch to a responsive web design. The top web development companies around the globe all agree that not having a responsive web design or some other type of mobile-friendly option not only reduces the amount of new business that will find you via browsing but also can make it more difficult for existing customers when they need to connect with you from a mobile platform.

What is the difference between a Responsive Design and other options?

A responsive website has the ability to detect the type of device the user is connecting with, such as a tablet or smart phone. Then the website ‘responds’ to the device by using the device type to then adjust the various design elements so that they fit the parameters of that device’s screen.

This type of design allows for a seamless transition for users regardless of device.

There is also what is called a ‘mobile friendly website’ which as the name entails, is designed to look good on mobile devices. The information will be the same across all devices but navigation has to be designed in a simple format that works well regardless of device.

This type of design is different from responsive in that while it does provide a consistent website experience, the website itself needs to be simple and functional and cannot handle any complex functionality which is very limiting.

There is also Adaptive Web Design which we covered briefly in a prior blog post. Much like a mobile friendly design, this works best for a simplified site rather than complex.

Overall a responsive design is the most versatile option of the three.

Why do you need Responsive Design?

A responsive web design (RWD), or even one of the other mobile design options, has become more critical for a number of reasons:

  • Web Traffic – First and foremost a responsive website will earn you more traffic than a non-mobile friendly site. Back in 2015 Google announced they would begin to factor in “mobile friendliness” as a ranking signal. If you currently have a non-mobile friendly website then your search rankings have suffered costing you web traffic. If you aren’t sure the mobile friendliness of your site, use this site to check it.
  • Load Speed – A responsive design is based on the concept of working well on all devices and as such typically places importance on load speed, which is critical when it comes to reducing site abandonment. Based on a September 2016 analysis by Google, 53% of mobile site visits are abandoned if pages take longer than 3 seconds to load. Faster load speeds also lead to longer average sessions, higher ad visibility and lower bounce rates.
  • User Experience – The user experience is always an important piece of the conversion puzzle. The better the experience, the more likely a user is to convert – it is just that simple. What a responsive web design adds to the experience is seamlessness across platforms. If you log in on a desktop Monday but your smart phone on Saturday the site is going to look, feel, and act the same. Conversely a non-mobile site might be very difficult to navigate or even use while other design options might not meet your business needs when it comes to functionality.
  • SEO Efforts – If you want to rank high in SERPs then having a responsive design will only help. We did already mention web traffic in this list which we related to the ranking factor of mobile friendliness. Load speed and the user experience are also evaluated and considered within Google’s complex ranking algorithm. By checking off the first three items on this list you will be greatly increasing the effectiveness of your SEO efforts. Plus, Google itself recommends a responsive website design which says a lot. Yahoo, Bing, and other search providers prefer a good user experience as well.
  • Social Media Marketing – Social media platforms live on mobile devices. If you use or plan to use social media for marketing then you need a website that works for mobile users. When someone follows a recommendation from a Facebook post or follows a link from Twitter to your site on a mobile device, what happens if the site isn’t working well for them? They will be bouncing like a ball at recess.
  • Online Sales – If you sell products on your site then having a highly functional mobile site is paramount to success. Statistics show that 80% of consumers regularly use smartphones to shop online and some even shop online while in stores to ensure they are getting the best deal. Imagine what would happen if a customer wants to price compare your products versus a competitor while in their store but your site won’t load on their phone. Additionally over 60% of mobile users are less likely to take action on a website that isn’t mobile friendly. That means even if 10 people are still shopping on a non-mobile friendly site, only 4 of them are likely to consider any type of action from opting into your newsletter to making a purchase.
  • Cost Effective – This item may or may not be a factor depending on what your business is currently supporting. For those that currently maintain a mobile and desktop site, combining to one site will save time and money in the long run. Only one site will need to be updated, optimized, and focused on for marketing. This will end up increasing your ROI in the long run.

The bottom line is that if you don’t have one already then it is time to switch to a Responsive Web Design using a firm that provide a responsive web design service. It simply makes the most sense when you consider the user experience of your target users, the SEO benefits, and that Google seems to prefer that design style over others.

Be sure to check back every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for great new Lounge Lizard blog articles.

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