Best Mobile Website Practices: Let’s Talk Responsive Design

People are connected to the internet more than ever. Tablets and smartphones provide the ability to connect to the internet from anywhere. Whether you are on the bus, in a restaurant or at home on the couch, you will most likely be connected to the web or be surrounded by people that are.

Mobile Browsing Trend
This trend continues to grow at a rapid pace. Last year page views on mobile devices increased almost 6%, for a total of 17% of all online traffic coming from smartphones (and this doesn’t even include tablets!).

As a business you want to stay ahead of the curve and you will have to think about what kind of impact this trend could have on you. What does your website look like when visited on a mobile device? What type of experience are you offering users?

Mobile-Specific Websites
One option to offer a better experience for mobile visitors is a separate mobile-specific website. The main benefit is optimization is strictly for mobile audiences. A full mobile site is optimized for both resolution and mobile behavior (responsive sites optimize only for resolution). However, there are downsides to having multiple websites.

  • Need to build and maintain multiple websites (added time and money)
  • Devices that have non-standard dimensions may still provide a poor user experience

A better alternative is responsive website design. A responsive, or also known as adaptive, website will adapt to the screen size and will make your website look and work great on any device/screen.

  • Same Experience – A responsive website uses a single source code, with one URL and thus the same content, which enables the user to have the same experience across all devices.
  • Cost Effective – With only one site, only one set of code will have to be developed and maintained. This will be cost effective, especially in the long run.
  • Better for SEO – One set of code provides only one set of content and negates duplicate content concerns, something that is very important for Google and search engine rankings. In fact, responsive design is Google’s recommended configuration for smartphone-optimized sites.

Google Recommends Responsive Design

More about the implications for SEO by non-responsive mobile websites can be found in this article: Mobile Websites and Implications for SEO.

No matter who your customers are, it is important that they have a great experience while using your site, regardless of device. This will lead to lower bounce rates and ideally higher conversion and return rates.

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