Should my website be responsive?
24 February 2015

Should my website be responsive?

If you keep yourself up-to-date in online marketing or are the person responsible for maintaining your company website, then no doubt you will have come across the latest term in usage regarding a website’s design and build – responsive design. This article covers the topic from a client’s perspective, answering the topical questions that our clients are coming to us with regarding this subject.

What is responsive web design?

Responsive web design is a web design approach aimed at creating websites which provide an optimal viewing experience (including easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling) across a wide range of devices from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones.

Does my website design need to be responsive?

To answer this you should first take a look at your website across different devices such as mobiles and tablets. Is the website still functional? Can prospective customers still easily access the most important information? Are the visitor paths you aim to draw people into and business aims of the original website still met?

Next study the statistics behind the users that visit your website. This may be collected by a service such as Google Analytics and your web design company should be able to give you access to them. By looking at how many visitors are accessing your website via a mobile phone or ipad you can assess how important a responsive web design is to you and your business at this precise point in time.

With research predicting that by 2015 more people will access the internet via their phone than their computer, even if you conclude that a responsive website design is not currently a priority, to future proof your website a responsive design should be something to consider when you next think about a redesign for your website.

What are the advantages of having a responsive design versus a separate mobile website?

With Responsive Design, your web design company will create one design that will automatically adapt itself based on the screen size of the viewing device used. This approach offers several advantages over the traditional method of maintaining separate mobile and desktop based websites.

  • A responsive design will save you time and money as you don’t have to maintain 2 separate websites, one for desktops and one for mobile phones.
  • Responsive Web Design is the best approach when it comes to your website’s SEO (search rankings). As every page on your website has a single web address you don’t have to worry about situations where some web sites link to your mobile site while others link to your desktop site which would reduce the number of back links to each.
  • Your Google Analytics reports will give a much better picture of your web site’s visitors and usage as the data from mobile and desktop users will be consolidated.
  • The same will be true for the social sharing statistics (Facebook Likes, Tweets, +1′s) since the mobile and desktop versions of your web pages will no longer have different URLs.
  • Responsive web site designs are easier and therefore cheaper to maintain as they do not involve any server-side components. You just have to modify the underlying CSS of a page to change its design on a particular device.
  • Earlier design methods where 2 separate web sites were maintained looked at user agent strings to determine the mobile device name and the browser that is making the request. This is not always accurate and as the number of devices and mobile browsers grows daily this matrix has become very difficult to maintain. Responsive Design doesn’t care about user agents.

Do you need help with an assessment of your current website or with the development of a responsive version of your website? We can help! Call us on  01509 852 188  for a free consultation.

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