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Why is it important for your website to be responsive?

Everyone knows that mobile devices are becoming increasingly popular. I remember the only way you could access information over the internet was to click ‘connect’ on your bulky desktop machine and wait while your flimsy plastic modem beeped away for 30 seconds to a minute before actually letting you load a web page.

Nowadays you can take your phone out of your pocket, and within 10 seconds you can be on the web page you want. With some phones you can even speak to your phone and ask it to load a web page for you.

Back to the point… because internet traffic through mobile devices is increasing more and more, it’s extremely important that your website is mobile friendly. So how can you do that? You could create yourself a mobile version of the website. Great!.. wait… No… it’s not so great. Two different sites would need updating, there is more room for having inconsistent data and guess what else? Google also penalises you for it.

The best way to solve this problem is to make your website responsive.

 

So what is responsive design?

A responsive design in simple terms is a website that has been built so that all content and images on the site remain the same on any device at numerous sizes. For example, when a user visits a site on their desktop computer, they are getting a full view of the site. When the same user goes to visit the site from their tablet or smart phone, the site will shuffle around to fit on the smaller screen. This makes reading the information stress-free and more convenient for the users of your site.

Not completely sold? Here are a few of the other really important reasons why you should make the switch to responsive design:

 

Improved User Experience (UX)

Responsive design gives users a better experience. Imagine you are waiting for the site to load on your smart phone (It is probably taking a lot longer than a responsive site as it is not optimised to work with mobiles). You then need to zoom in and out, scroll left and right and 10 minutes later you finally find what you are looking for… on another site! There is so much competition out there so why would someone keep on persisting with a site that runs badly on their site when they can most likely find the information somewhere else quicker, and more easily? You want to make your site the one that people come back to time and time again.

According to Google’s Think Insights on Mobile, whenever someone visits your website on mobile and doesn’t find the content that they are searching for immediately, there’s a 61% chance they will go to another site to get the information. Flip it the other way, and when the user has a positive experience on your mobile website, that user will be 67% more likely to buy one of your products or use a service of yours. In addition to this, 48% of users stated to Google that when a site is functionality inadequate on their mobile device it makes them feel that the company does not care about their business.

I have heard people talking about ‘Style over substance’ but unfortunately it doesn’t matter how good the substance is if people can’t get to it easily.

 

Mobile usage is growing.

I challenge you to walk into a public place where no one is looking at their mobile phone. If you are lucky you may find a place where no one has a phone in their hand but the chances are, it won’t happen. Practically everyone has a phone now, and the majority have smart phones. Mobile internet usage has increase rapidly over the last few years as shown in a recent survey by Ofcom.

  • 9 million mobile broadband (dongles/PC datacard) subscriptions (end of 2013)
  • 1 million UK mobile subscriptions
  • Over 6 million 4G mobile subscriptions
  • 57% of people use their mobile handset to access the internet

 

Because Google say so

Last year Google claimed 67% of searches on the internet were made through their search engine. There is no doubt that Google has a massive part to play in getting visitors to your site so if Google says it prefers responsive web design then I’m certainly not going to argue with them.

But why does Google prefer responsive design? Well it is less effort for them. They only have to crawl one site. If you had a mobile site as well as your ‘full’ site then Google has to do twice the work

In addition, when sharing links, if someone clicks a link on a different device to that of the person sharing the link they could end up on the wrong version of the site. For example you would end up on a squashed mobile version on your brand new 23 inch monitor. This is likely to increase the bounce rate on your page as most people will not put up with that. A bigger bounce rate means Google will penalise you and the site will not rank well on mobile!

 

Easier to Manage

If you have separate desktop and mobile sites, you are potentially going to have to update 2 web pages every time you want to add some information to your website. But on top of that, there is double SEO work and double the bug fixes when a new version of IE comes out and almost definitely breaks something on your site! Have one responsive website doesn’t just make it easier to manage but it is also cost effective as well.

 

Stay Ahead of Competition

I briefly touched on this earlier in the article but you have to stay ahead of the competition. If more and more users are using their mobile devices to search and make purchases online, you have to cater to that audience by having a mobile-friendly site.

I redesigned my personal website to have a responsive design a few months ago. My mobile conversion doubled overnight as well as people coming to my site going up. Stay ahead of your competition and have a site that stands out no matter what device it is being viewed on.

If your competitors are already using responsive web design and you are not, you want to fix that quickly to make sure you keep up with them. If your competitors are not using responsive design… Great! This is the perfect opportunity to take that extra step and get ahead of the competition!

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