In the age of the mobile phone, having a responsive website is one of the most important things any company can invest in. It
does not matter if you are setting up an online web-store to sell directly to customers or are a traditional brick and mortar company looking to drive up foot traffic by drawing in people to your store. A fast, effective, and responsive website is becoming essential for any business looking to create an online presence.
In spite of all that time, effort and money you might put into developing a website, most web users are only going to give you a few seconds to make an impression. Bad impression? Say bye, bye. Yes, hours of work and thousands of dollars could simply be tossed aside by the average web user if they are not immediately impressed by your website. So that’s why it’s essential to wow people the very second they log onto your website, and one way to impress users is to build a world-class responsive website.
The Nuts and Bolts of a Responsive Website
So what is a responsive website? It is a website that will automatically adapt to the device it is being viewed on. A responsive website will adapt fluidly and naturally to change page size, layout, and text size when a person views it on a smart phone or a tablet. Importantly, a responsive site does not use two different sites for mobile and traditional devices, but instead adapts to each device.
Today, many companies have both a mobile website and a traditional website. The reason is simple enough; mobile screens and input methods are much different from traditional PC’s. Problem is, updating content, managing, and maintaining what are essentially two different websites is a pain in the neck.
A Responsive Website is a Smart Website
A responsive website is a website is designed to create an exceptionally good viewing experience for both traditional PCs and mobile devices. When the site adapts to a device, it maximizes the viewing and navigation experience for each device. This means that your website will be easy to navigate with a minimum of zooming, resizing, scrolling, panning and other movements. When possible, everything should be within a touch of a finger or a quick point-and-click from a mouse.
This is Mobile Optimization at its Best
A responsive website will drive traffic from both mobile devices and traditional PCs, which is essential as more and more web traffic is coming from people on their mobile smart phones and tablets. In fact, more than twenty percent of Google searches are now conducted by mobile devices. Not only that, but Google recommends that websites looking to optimize their mobile experience use responsive websites. And when Google talks, you should listen.
This means your site must be optimized for a mobile experience. From the very beginning, you should be asking yourself if the layout, design, font, and every other element of your website is as simple as possible. This does not mean your website has to be a plain black & white site lacking character, but it does mean that you should avoid flashy gimmicks, too many pictures, and hard-to-read font colors.
Responsive Means Manageable
A few years ago, it was all the rage to develop both a traditional website and a mobile website. Seems logical enough, right? You get to maximize the viewing experience for both mobile devices and traditional PCs, and everyone gets the best of both worlds. Turns out, however, that managing both sites can be an extremely frustrating and time consuming.
Having different sites can make it more difficult to manage both technical and content updates. And having sites with inconsistent content, logos, images, or whatever can ruin user experience. Often, companies would have to basically hire separate teams to manage their mobile and traditional websites. Not only does that add costs, but also the challenge of coordinating the two separate teams.
What About Native Apps?
A native app is an application developed specifically for use on a particular platform, for example iOS or Android. Native apps take advantage of specific features that each operating system has to offer. On the other hand, the issue with native apps is they only work on one platform. So, as a result, development is timely and costly. Why? Because if you want to maximize your reach, you need to develop a separate app for each platform. Moreover, each and every update requires app store approval which, can be frustrating.
In contrast, a responsive site is built to conform to every platform. Not to mention, you only need a single URL. Furthermore, it costs less to develop because you only have to work on one site. Updates can be performed quicker, and marketing is more uniform. If you want a native app look, responsive web design techniques have the ability to do so.
Most importantly, if you are building a website, it is critical to make it responsive from start to finish. This saves time from revamping it once you start receiving the traffic you desire.
Above All Else–Be Responsive
Google and other search engines prefer responsive websites. Why? Because search engines are looking for quality websites, and quality websites are responsive websites. They are quicker to download and offer users better experiences. So, this means search engines will be doing their job, namely finding high quality content, when they direct people to your site.
Also, you need to keep in mind that your competitors may be investing in responsive websites. This means that after web users leave your website, they could end up on a competitor’s website. And if these web users like what they see, they might end up taking their business elsewhere. So make sure you keep them on your website by building a responsive site!
Author: Katrina Manning