The smart phone and tablet have taken over our lives. Instead of searching for specific products or companies on a desktop computer – or even just browsing the web for leisure – you customers are checking you out on the move.
As mobile internet usage increases, a debate is brewing in the world of website development.
Which is better – a mobile-specific website or responsive website design?
Why responsive rules every time
Mobile specific sites enable mobile browsers to view your website on the move.
They see specific pages, content, and information designed for mobile consumption. When they visit your website again on a browser, chances are they will have to digest completely different information.
While the ‘sound bite’ way of writing for mobile sites can be hugely beneficial in converting customers; mobile sites are not as common as they used to be. Enter, responsive – or adaptive – web design.
2013 has been called “The Year of Responsive Web Design” and it’s easy to see why. Here are 5 reasons why you should always choose responsive:
Back in June 2012, Google finally made their position on responsive web design clear.
The search engine giant published their guidelines and recommendations for this type of website design; cementing the belief that this is the new ‘best-practice’ for businesses. According to these guidelines, the benefits of responsive design include:
These are obviously huge benefits of this method, and are not to be overlooked. All marketers and business owners do is try and please Google. By employing responsive web design, you’re one step closer to keeping the search engine on side.
2. Responsive is better for SEO
Search engine optimisation (SEO) is one of the most important elements of your website. It helps customers find you and your products, and tells Google where to index your content. When debating between a separate mobile site or a responsive one, you need to think SEO.
In a blog post to web developers, Google further recommends responsive design when it comes to online marketing. The post explains that sites which employ responsive design have more “equity in their back links”.
Picture the scene:
Your client visits your website from a phone and likes what they see. They share your link with their friends on Twitter and Facebook. But there’s a problem. The link directs to your mobile site meaning content is unreadable and the design looks horrible.
If you design your site responsively, anyone who clicks that link – whether they visit from a desktop, tablet, or mobile – will see your site how it should be displayed. Your site will respond to the device it is being viewed on.
When a user clicks on one of these mobile site links and is greeted with a poor quality site they’ll bounce and go elsewhere. A large bounce rate tells Google your site doesn’t have what people are looking for. This will see the search engines decrease your rankings for those initial search terms.
By having two separate sites, you’re at increased risk of getting hit with a duplicate content penalty.
A responsive website – as it is built on a single URL – only counts as one website. Therefore you only have one lot of content. No duplicates – no penalty. With it becoming more and more difficult to optimise your website, keeping on the right side of Google is more important than ever.
Perhaps the most obvious point is that two websites means twice as long spent in design and development. Both of the websites will need to be designed and built, and both sites will have to be filled out with content. By opting for an adaptive site, this is reduced. Your initial design concepts will be designed with responsive design in mind, cutting down your wait time and costs.
4. Easier to maintain
Producing quality content for your website is hugely important, but if you have multiple websites it can be a real headache transferring this content. A single website means you only have to upload your content once. Make any changes? You will only need to do this once, too.
Ultimately a single site will save you both time and money – especially if your website is built using Wordpress. You will be able to make all these changes yourself too, meaning you don’t need to keep going back to your web developer.
5. Improved user experience
A consistent website that adapts to the device it is viewed on, gives a great user experience. Every time a prospect visits your website, they know what to expect and where to find the information they’re looking for.
This all works together to keep your click through and conversion rates high, and your bounce rate low.
If your website is user-friendly – which a responsive still will be – your customers will return time and time again. A separate mobile site can often lead to confusion as everything from the navigation to the content is different.
The bottom line though, is that as long as you have a mobile-ready website in one form or another; you’re on the right lines. Customers and prospects need to be able to view your content and navigate around your website no matter what device they use.
If you need a responsive website, get in touch with us today and put our expert designers and developers to the test.