It’s no secret, mobile web usage is here and here to stay. Mobile devices like cell phones and tablets are ubiquitous and people often own more than one. The convenience of the hardware created an expectation of software convenience, and this convenience is fueled by speed and accessibility.
Responsive web design solves many of the challenges of speed and accessibility by considering the needs of the mobile community at the website’s conception.
Before going any further, let’s define a “responsive website.”
When mobile devices began offering Internet access, traditional websites designed for desktop consumption didn’t display very well on smaller vertical screens. As a result, the user experience was uncomfortable, to say the least. In addition, the low available bandwidth—especially over 2G & 3G networks—made loading websites a painful and impractical process.
To overcome this challenge, there were a few generations of mobile-optimized website technologies that were designed to accommodate smaller screen real estate and lessen the file size payload over cellular networks. While these efforts helped, managing both a desktop website and a mobile website often translated into double-work for webmasters—especially those with frequently updated website content.
Sometime later, the concept of responsive web design began to take hold. In short, this is a single website that can serve both the desktop and mobile communities by “responsively” adjusting its design layout based on the device loading the website. This allowed for a more up-to-date and consistent experience for the end-user as well as a more reasonable workload for those managing websites.
Here are seven reasons why you need a responsive website.
1) Providing a Better User Experience with a Responsive Website
We have come a long way with website technology. The recent mobile-first philosophy has resulted in websites loading faster and responding better to touch commands instead of mouse clicks. User patience typically runs thin when a website is too difficult to use. And this impatience is only exaggerated on a mobile device when signal strength and limited bandwidth are slowing down the process as well.
It’s important to give your customer a smooth, streamlined experience especially when they’re accessing your website on a mobile device.
2) Responsive Websites Rank Higher in Google
Search engines, like Google, have given website page load speed and mobile accessibility higher weight in search engine rankings. They understand the expanded use of mobile devices on the web and will give preferential treatment to those websites that provide the best user experiences.
SEO is a comprehensive and multi-faceted process. While having a responsive website is only a piece of your SEO strategy, it’s an important piece. Giving your users a better on-site experience AND elevating your SEO ranking is a win-win.
3) Increasing Mobile Usage
As mentioned earlier, mobile devices are here to stay. We continue to become a more wireless world and Internet accessibility is no exception. Go where your audience is and set up your web presence with mobile compatibility.
4) Mobile E-Commerce Matters
Shopping is occurring more often on mobile devices. Your competition is getting savvier with selling on mobile and so should you. Creating a responsive website to accommodate mobile e-commerce is a must. Faster load times and a cleaner user experience translate into more add-to-cart actions and conversions.
5) Traffic from Social Media
More than half of the time spent today on social media websites like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, etc., is done on a mobile device. Your audience is spending many hours each day on their cell phones and tablets and your website needs to load easily and efficiently for them on those same devices. Conversions are lost if a potential customer is expected to put down their mobile device to slide up to a desktop computer to load your website.
6) Adapting to Devices of All Types
While cell phones and tablets are popular, their sizes vary immensely. Furthermore, as future devices hit the market, size variations will only increase. Creating a responsive website that automatically adjusts to these various sizes helps you to come closer to future-proofing your web presence. This helps extend the return on investment (ROI) of your initial website spend.
7) A Single Website is Easier to Manage
Speaking of ROI, keeping your website content fresh is a laborious and, sometimes, expensive process—especially if you need to enlist the help of others. Having a single website that’s responsive gives you a single platform to manage. This allows for faster updates which translate into less expense.
If you consider the time you spend enjoying the Internet, your favorite websites likely employ responsive website design and you’re not even aware of it. While it’s an often unsung hero, these responsive sites make the web a better place to learn and transact. I strongly suggest evaluating your web presence and making the switch to responsive design.
To learn more about marketing your small business, check out our What you need to know to market your small business article.