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3 reasons you need responsive web design now

Posted by Nick Whyatt on

Responsive web design - mobile view

Responsive web design is rapidly becoming the minimum your visitors will expect

Responsive web design is the creation of a single website that can detect the device viewing it. The website then re-configures to give the best user experience for desktop computer, tablet, mobile, etc.

This reconfiguration includes alternative page structures and navigation designed for small screens and tap rather than click.

The user experience provided by responsive web design is rapidly becoming the minimum your visitors will expect from your website.

Here’s three reasons you should adopt it:

#1 – Responsive web design reduces lost visitors and enquiries

Generally people will start off with a wide generic search when researching something. They then refine this down to a small number of websites or a single website they make an enquiry to.

If your website gives a bad or frustrating user experience it will be one of the many websites that are weeded out as the search gets narrowed.

A poor mobile experience could mean a big bounce rate

Also, think of what you may have invested in search engine optimisation, pay per click advertising or social media strategy. These are essential for promoting your website. If your website offers a poor mobile experience, you could be paying for a big bounce rate.

Facebook says 78% of its users are on mobiles and Twitter is even higher at 80%. If you use these platforms to refer visitors to your website and it isn’t responsive you could be losing a high proportion of those visitors.

Equally, if you have spent time and money achieving great organic search engine positions and your website isn’t responsive visitors may leave your website and go to the next few positions which are likely to be your competition.

Failure to meet visitors’ needs and expectations is a serious issue. One of many reasons cited for the fall of the Comet electrical chain was its failure to understand customer needs and changing purchasing behaviour. This includes a failure to invest in an online shopping experience its competitors recognised as being crucial.

#2 – Responsive web design costs less

There’s no hiding the fact responsive web design will cost you more initially than a static design. There’s more complexity to the design and coding and more bug-fixing and cross-browser testing to be done.

However, compare this with the cost of building a static website and a separate mobile site and you approach an equivalent level of investment. This can be an inferior solution though; many mobile websites are the poor relative. They often have reduced content and functionality and are a shadow of their desktop counterparts.

A separate mobile website multiplies ongoing costs

Where the separate mobile website strategy really starts to multiply costs and get expensive though is in ongoing costs and management time. You will have two SEO, PPC and social media strategies to manage, two sets of content to manage and twice the amount of management time needed to keep them up-to-date. All to achieve a less optimal experience than a single responsive website.

#3 – Responsive web design is better for SEO

User experience is becoming a more and more important part of SEO

Responsive web design is Google’s recommended method of building mobile-ready websites. A single website is easier for Google to index – far easier than indexing two websites with the same content and following the required instructions to prevent duplicate content penalties, etc.

User experience is also becoming more and more important to how Google ranks websites in search results. The better the user experience and the more intuitive the website structure, the more likely you are to obtain the search engine ranking you are trying to achieve.

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