Responsive websites are the talk of the web development world in 2014, and if your website is not responsive yet, it should be. A responsive site, if you have not heard, simply means that your website “responds” to fit and function on various screen sizes, from a desktop to different tablets and smartphone browsers, while
Responsive websites are the talk of the web development world in 2014, and if your website is not responsive yet, it should be. A responsive site, if you have not heard, simply means that your website “responds” to fit and function on various screen sizes, from a desktop to different tablets and smartphone browsers, while still using the same code.
One previous trend, which many website still try to use today, was to create mobile websites that people using smartphones got redirected to instead of the original desktop website. This gave two different views for those types of devices. However, this didn’t take into consideration how tablets viewed the website and only adjusted to one mobile size.
Responsive design does not redirect users to an alternative website for one viewing format as opposed to another; it is the same website coded to adjust per device. With responsive design, your website is viewable on all devices and it looks great no matter how you are viewing it.
However, the push to go responsive isn’t only about looks. Here are three very important reasons why your website should be responsive in 2014.
1. Google Prefers It
As the leading search engine, impressing Google should probably be at the top of your website development priority list. Google states that responsive web design is the industry’s best practice and is the best strategy when it comes to mobile website configuration*. Google loves when websites are easy to crawl. Therefore, if your site has only one URL and the same HTML making it viewable on any device, Google will give it two thumbs up.
Google also supports responsive websites because it makes content easier to share and interact with. For instance, if you do not have a responsive website and someone using a mobile site version shares a link with a friend who then tries to view it on his/her desktop, he/she will see this tiny mobile view instead of the full desktop view. This does not create the enjoyable experience that was intended and diminishes the user-experience.
Currently, Google uses both ease of navigation and user-experience as a ranking influencer. Therefore, making your site responsive is a significant component in boosting your SEO.
2. One Set of Files
If your website is still using the former trend of having a mobile site version as a solution, that means whenever you want to make updates you need to make them to both your desktop and your mobile website files.
For example, you change your email; that will have to be changed on both sites. You change your SEO keyword strategy; that is going to have to be changed on both sites. You want to add another picture to your gallery; that is going to have to be updated on both sites.
Ok, you get it. Having a mobile site and a desktop site will in the end have you spending more time executing updates. With responsive design you update your one set of website files and you’re done.
3. Wider Audience
How many times have you gone to a website and it didn’t quite fit your screen and instead of trying to awkwardly navigate around the website, you got frustrated, gave up and left? This happens on websites that don’t have alternative versions AND websites that have mobile sites. A mobile site can only be coded properly on one mobile device screen size (aka, an iPhone can see it perfectly fine but it fits improperly on a Samsung Galaxy S4). However, a responsive site can be seen on many screen sizes so, in return, you are able to reach a wider audience.
According to Pew Research Center’s cell owner platform choices 2013 survey:
- 25% of smartphone owners use an iPhone
- 28% are using Android
- 4% are using Blackberry
- 1% is using Windows
If you are losing 33% of your audience because you chose to code your mobile site just for iPhone users, you are going to lose a lot of potential customers this year and in years to come. Go responsive, and you’ll have a much larger audience to capture.
Ask yourself, “Is my site responsive?” If the answer is no, you may then want to ask yourself, “Do I want to rank higher on Google? Do I want to spend less time updating my site? Do I want to tap into a wider audience?” If the answer is yes to any of these, then it’s time to develop a responsive website.