Today’s web has changed drastically compared to just a couple of years ago. The rapid growth of mobile internet usage has changed the way web design needs to be done. In the past mobile browsing was usually handled by the use of a mobile site. But mobile sites not only give you a condensed version of your site but it was twice the work to maintain two websites instead of one. So how do we offer our visitors the full experience of our website while only having to maintain one website at no additional cost? That is where responsive web design comes in.
What is responsive design?
Responsive web design is the ability for a web page to automatically scale proportionally to any device screen size without losing any content, images or site structure. This allows you to need and maintain only one website without the need for a mobile site.
Responsive design is done by using a fluid grid layout versus a pixel based layout. This allows your site to detect the screen size it is being seen on and automatically fit the the correct width with the rules you set in your css.
Now that you know what responsive design is here are some reasons you need to switch to it today.
Your customers are going mobile
Anywhere you go today you see people on their smartphones or tablets. In fact in 2014 mobile internet usage overtook desktop usage for the first time. And small businesses are definitely seeing that with over half of all local searches being done on a mobile device. That means now over half of your customer base is searching for your product or service from somewhere other than their computer. A google study said over 60% of all mobile traffic will leave if you don’t offer them an optimized mobile website, just think of the money you could be leaving on the table if you don’t!
Increases conversion rates
If you don’t have a responsive design or even a mobile site your chances of making a sale even if someone finds your site go down drastically. The widespread usage of mobile has made consumers demand more from their browsing experience. Let’s be honest people’s patience isn’t exactly what it used to be, if you deliver your users a website that isn’t optimized to fit the screen they’re on with the content they demand they aren’t going to work harder just to use your site, they’re going to find a competitors site that does.
By switching to a responsive design you not only allow users to view your site the way it is meant to be on any device but you can also rearrange content to better convert those visitors. You can give better placement to things like a clickable phone number, or buttons that allow people to get a quote or get driving directions to your location. Each device may require slightly different conversion techniques and responsive design allows you to take advantage of this and increase your customer contacts.
Better for SEO
Google rarely gives out information about what makes a company rank better, so when they do you can assume it’s a pretty big deal. So when Google came out and said that they prefer responsive web design over mobile sites anybody that cares about SEO listened.
But why do they prefer it? For starters, it's more efficient for Google to crawl the site and then index and organize all the content that is online. The reason for this is that with a responsive design, all sites have just one URL and the same content across all devices. When a small business has both a mobile site and desktop site, there will be a different URL and different HTML for each. This forces Google to do double the work and crawl and index multiple versions of the same exact site. A single URL also benefits a website's speed since no site redirection is needed. This favors mobile users who may not have the best connection.
Having no mobile version of your site at all is basically automatically telling Google to index your competitors that do ahead of you on mobile searches, and none of us want to give our competitors any advantage.
Keep an edge on your competition
Over half of all local searches being done on a mobile device is a big number. But a much bigger number is the fact that over 70% of small businesses aren’t optimized for this mobile traffic. This offers a large opportunity for business owners to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. In terms of investment a new responsive web design will return one of the best ROI’s a small business can make.