Are you planning for a new website this year or wondering if your current site needs an update? If so, in your research you’ve no doubt heard about the importance of a responsive Web design. How is this different than your desktop site or even your mobile site, if you have one? Let’s take a look at the difference and how websites have evolved over recent years.
The Shift to Mobile-First Design
With many passing design trends and the evolution of technology, websites have come a long way in a very short time. Users have become more discerning and demanding of how the sites they visit look and function.
The following dominant design practices have consequently become not just obsolete, but potentially harmful to your practice:
- Fixed-width desktop designs - Render differently in each browser (and their versions). The large size creates slow load times for mobile devices and requires users to scroll and zoom in to read content.
- Adobe Flash sites or animation elements - Require users to update their plug-ins to use the site properly.
- A separate mobile site - Mobile-friendly, but because it's a smaller fixed-width, doesn’t work with every screen size. This also creates double the work for your maintenance on content, design, or SEO updates.
- A designated mobile app – Will lose potential visitors from search because users are required to take an extra step to download the app, rather than browse your site directly.
Today’s websites work with users’ technology and browser capabilities to deliver a positive user experience for all. Furthermore, a cohesive Web presence benefits not only consumers, but also your practice's marketing budget.
Add to these changes the fact that mobile browsing continues to increase. In 2014 it surpassed desktop traffic for the first time in history, with statistics predicting a continuing increase. Many of our clients today see almost half of their website traffic coming from non-desktop traffic. And if this isn’t enough to get you thinking about a mobile-first design, Google is now penalizing websites that are not mobile-friendly in its search rankings.
From Google: “Starting April 21 (2015), we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”
Responsive Web Design
With this knowledge, it is critical for businesses to have a responsive site with mobile-first design to succeed now and going into the future. How will you be prepared to meet the needs of so many screen sizes and anticipate even more changes?
Responsive Web designs are based on a fluid grid that adjusts to your user’s screen size. This method moves away from using a fixed-width design and instead uses Media Queries to recognize and respond to different devices. This means one site can be implemented across all devices. Text and images are sized appropriately and content becomes stacked into columns in order of priority, with an easy-to-access collapsible menu. It becomes a perfect website on any device.
A responsive design not only gives your visitors the best user experience on your website, but benefits your business as well. By reaching all of your potential clients, you increase your audience, leads, and conversions. In fact, according to a study by the Aberdeen Group, responsive sites achieve 11 percent more conversions than non-responsive sites on average. All of your SEO efforts can be focused on a single site, with unified strategy and tactics across devices. Responsive design is key to keeping up with your competitors and establishing market share.
A responsive Web design gives you a great competitive advantage over other businesses that are limiting their reach with an outdated website.
Ready to Start Planning Your Responsive Website?
If you’d like to learn more about a responsive Web design for your business, contact Page 1 Solutions online or call (303) 233-3886 for a free evaluation of your website and marketing strategy. You can also download our free eBook, Win with Multi-Channel Digital Marketing, to learn how a responsive Web design is the critical foundation of your online marketing efforts (seriously, it’s so important, it’s in chapter 1!).
By Andrea Techlin, Internet Marketing Consultant, Page 1 Solutions