Responsive Design

Over the last several years, mobile devices have become an increasingly preferred tool for web surfing.  Recent data from comScore and Enders Analysis suggests that, in January 2014, 55% of all internet usage in the United States occurred on mobile devices.

However, most websites are not designed to provide an optimal display on a mobile screen. These devices vary greatly in size and shape, requiring more than a standard “one size fits all” mentality.  From tablets, to phones, to “phablets”, display sizes change from one screen to the next. With the introduction of wearable media, we can only expect more changes in the future. It’s important your website be agile and adaptable to meet the varied needs of your audience. (ref)

What is Mobile Responsive Design?

Put simply, it’s a content display that will adapt, or respond, to fit the size screen it’s opened on. Responsive site designs have typically been rendered to accommodate the widescreen desktop, laptop, mobile phone, and tablet. The examples above illustrate a responsive site as it shifts to meet the demands of each screen.

Why Go Responsive?

Better for Google Results

It’s no secret that Google is the dominant search engine with a consistent 67% share of all search queries for the past few years. If you want your site to be seen in the search results, it’s best to optimize your page to accommodate the search engine giant.  In the spirit of SEO, a single responsive site with one URL and the same HTML content regardless of device is much easier for Google to traverse and index its content. When an organization has separate mobile and desktop sites even with shared content, they also have a separate HTML and URL for each. This means that Google must index multiple sites for the same content potentially diminishing the position of either site in the Search Engine Results Page.  (SERP)  This can also cause poor SEO scoring in relation to duplicate content.

Better for the User

In addition to being more convenient for Google, it’s also more convenient for end users. With the high emphasis user-experience plays in SEO ranking this is an essential factor to consider. Consider for a moment the consumer who views your website from a mobile device. The consumer arrives on the site only to find the entire overall display isn’t properly scaled to the display of his or her device.  Suddenly, the navigation bar at the top of the screen and any links on the page are too small to easily access without continually having to “zoom” the display in and out.  This creates a frustrating experience for that particular consumer, which is now associated with your organization. 

According to Google’s Think Insights for Mobile, there’s a 61% chance that mobile internet users will leave a website and immediately visit another site if they cannot find what they are looking for or become frustrated with the site design interface. (ref) In other words, the consumer that landed on your organizations webpage not only has become frustrated with your brand but has also more than likely left the page to find another more mobile-friendly site—potentially one of your competitors.  This also can potentially result in a higher “bounce rate” which again negatively affects your quality score in Google meaning that your site is less likely to receive prominent placement on the SERP.  (Search Engine Results Page) A higher bounce rate isn’t good for you or Google. The site will not rank on mobile searches, creating a hassle for Google’s external link algorithm, and ultimately hurting your SEO.

Responsive design is a cost-effective solution, providing better results for Google, your viewers, and you.

Easier to Manage

Separate sites means separate content; separate content means more maintenance time for you. Wouldn’t it be nice to only manage one set of copy? As you’re managing one website, it can provide a significant cost and time savings as well.  To paraphrase a popular fictional series: “One site to serve them all.”

In this day and age, it’s all about providing content, how and when the viewer wants it. For small to mid-size budgets responsive design makes this possible, all the while eliminating the need for mobile sites, expensive apps, and unnecessary additional maintenance costs.  There’s also the benefit to your organization’s SEO efforts; a responsive site provides a single set of content for Google to index increasing the chance of a higher placement on the SERP. For anyone who values SEO, a mobile-friendly site is a necessity.

Want a quote?  Contact us today.

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