Today, everyone talks about responsive website design, how well it performs, how it’s the future and how you need to do it. Finding information on what it is, or why it performs so well and why you need to design this way is difficult at best.
Responsive design is planning your websites layout and information in such a way that no matter what device is viewing your content, no matter where the customer is when they’re viewing your content, they will experience the same site. Whipping out their phone and needing the information in a hurry, they don’t want to have to get orientated with a different design.
Responsive design is device agnostic design.
Why is it better: Reason number one
Google prefers it.
In an internet world where Google determines the life or death of a website, you have to play by their rules. Nearly 70% of new users find your site through Google Searches which truly makes them king of the search.
Their guidelines say they prefer sites that are responsive, stating in big, bold print that responsive is their recommended set-up. They don’t mention that they will punish designers who don’t, but they keep their algorithm close to their chest. The bottom line is, follow their recommendations!
With one URL and the same codebase, it makes your website much simpler to crawl. This helps index, categorize and organize your content, not only increasing your page rank, but also improving the quality of visitors hitting your site.
SEO is strengthened
Optimizing for search engines is an art, one that doesn’t play well with dividing results. By sending traffic to several different sites, search engines believe that each page has fewer hits and are less popular than they actually are! By consolidating you are strengthening your page rank, which will increase your traffic which continues to feed the loop.
With a responsive web design, you’re also in a better position to provide SEO friendly content. Your website can benefit from both local search terms, usually reserved for mobile devices, and add them to the broader search terms that do better on desktop sites. By combining, you strengthen your sites position from search phrases that span both the local search terms and the broader, desktop friendly searches.
The 3rd reason: Less of a headache
Every site exponentially adds work and the number of design decisions that need to be made. Each additional site increases the number of compromises you make; and each additional site increases your developer’s support responsibilities and their back end development time.
You’re marketing team, or you if that’s the case, will know that the one and only version of the site that exists is the one responsive site you will promote. This removes the confusion of remembering to use the mobile site on mobile advertisements, and the desktop site for desktop advertisements.
Finally, responsive websites are future proof. Updates to your site’s layout or content will be simultaneously made on your tablet visitors and your mobile visitors. Instead of forcing yourself to remember to update all versions of your site’s design (when changes are made), you just need to make the change once. This prevents your mobile site from being forgotten and sliding into outdated oblivion.
What’s better for users is better for you
Imagine the desktop user, browsing a website for a print cartridge. After finding the one, out of the hundreds available, they commit it to their short term memory while they zip over to the store. However, the display of new tablets right in front of the door distracts them momentarily and they forget if the product ID ended with 385 or 835. Ever the resourceful individual, they’ll retrace their steps on their mobile device.
If your website isn’t in sync between the different user experiences, our hapless printing customer will be unable to do this and he will return to home and just order the cartridge from Amazon “like he should have in the first place”. But if he can retrace his steps, not only will you have rescued the sale, but you have created an informed shopper, someone who knows he can trust your site for all his shopping needs.
There’s plenty more to responsive design
While these aren’t the only reasons for building responsive websites, these are three of the huge ones. They’re better for Google, well all search engines, they’re better for your marketers and your programmers, and they’re better for your users. Everyone wins when the site is responsive, so why are you still debating the switch?
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