Responsive Website Design Series: Part 2
In the second part of our series on responsive website design, we are going to look at the key points on why it’s so important to have a responsive website. If you missed the first part, ‘What is Responsive Web Design?’ – you can catch it here.
Probably the most important factor of all, having a mobile friendly site is now a Google ranking factor. So much so that sites are marked up as mobile friendly in Google results. There’s a quick and easy way to see if Google thinks your site is mobile friendly, using their very own Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply pop your website address in to the tool and it will give you its verdict in a matter of seconds. Get the thumbs up, and you’re good to go.
However, if Google reports that your site is not responsive, you are missing out on traffic.
A high percentage of your traffic will be from mobile or tablet. In the Apple-coined “post pc era” Google have reported that over half of all searches performed are on tablet/mobile. Therefore, if Google doesn’t think your website is responsive, its not going to rank your pages highly on over half of all searches performed.
Of course, theres more to life than Google, but the principles are the same across the majority of popular search engines.
User Experience and Accessibility
Sites that are not mobile friendly tend to work one of two ways on mobiles and tablets:
- The site will display as it would on your computer or laptop. That doesn’t sound so bad, right? Unfortunately thats not the case. As a phone/tablet tends to be a lot smaller in size, all that content will be squeezed up on to your screen, meaning a lot of pinching/pushing/scrolling around, just to navigate around a single page. Add in the fact that site navigation between pages will mean constantly scrolling up or sideways to find the menu, and you’re putting together a pretty negative experience for the user.
- The site will break. This is especially the case if you have an older site which might be using technologies that are not compatible with mobile devices (Flash as an example). Depending on how your site is coded it may take a very long time to load, or even not load at all.
If your site is difficult to use, or even worse, doesn’t work properly, it will instantly decrease trust in your brand and users will take their business elsewhere.
As an ever increasing number of web interactions are on mobile phones, responsive website design has become paramount for another reason: mobile data. When using your phone or tablet on a cellular connection, the size of the site becomes extremely important. The bigger your site is, the longer it takes to load over slow cellular connections. This is detrimental to your conversion effort in two ways. Firstly, if your site takes to long to navigate or even initially load, users will quickly skip back to the search engine and visit your competitor. Secondly, if your site uses up a whole chunk of someone’s data allowance, they aren’t going to be particularly happy.
For bricks and mortar businesses its just as important, if not more so to get this right. If your next potential customer is out and about in your town and is looking for local businesses in your sector you want them clicking on, and staying on your site, until they get the contact details or directions they need.
With a very quick overview of the points above, hopefully you will agree that having a responsive website design should be top of your list when it comes to your marketing to-dos. If you need any further help or explanation on the points above, or are ready to update your website to make sure its mobile friendly, please get in touch.