If you haven’t undergone a website redesign in a few years, you might find yourself wondering why it’s a big deal. The big deal can be summed up in one word: responsiveness. Responsive web design has become the standard over the past 3-4 years, and if you haven’t updated your site yet, you are missing out.
Mobile Purchasing Habits
According to the 2014 xAd/Telmetrics Mobile Path-to-Purchase Study, consumers now spend more time on their mobile devices than their computers, and more than 1/3 of mobile users specifically turn to their mobile devices to research purchases. Two-thirds of those shoppers go on to make a purchase, and 65% want to complete their transaction that day. Mobile is, quite simply, THE critical platform for conversions in 2014.
Responsive vs. “Mobile-Friendly”
You might wonder why your old site isn’t measuring up – you’ve looked at it on a mobile phone, and it looks okay, right?
There are a few critical differences in mobile design. Responsive web design came into existence about 4 years ago – before that, designers practiced “mobile-friendly” or “mobile-optimized” design. Mobile-friendly design means that the site can be viewed on a mobile device (it does not, for example, use non-mobile technology like Flash) – however, everything may appear smaller on the mobile screen and not all the touch-screen elements will work. Mobile-optimized design means that the entire site has a special format for mobile users – typically, these sites feature large buttons, simplified navigation and a smaller number of graphics. Think of any site that has an “m.site-name.com” version as well as a “regular” desktop version.
And then there’s true responsive web design. Responsive design is built for a perfect mobile experience – it’s the forethought, not the afterthought. The design is fluid, so that only one version is built, but it displays perfectly regardless of screen size. Elements that require more finesse can be altered via stylesheets, allowing for the site to have different styling on a cell phone or tablet, or whether it’s being viewed horizontally or vertically.
Google Loves Responsive Design
Among other benefits, Google has a distinct preference for responsive sites, because it is easier for their bots to crawl and index the content when there is only one copy of a site. When you have multiple versions of the same site, Google must index each version separately and still display the results in a meaningful fashion, which complicates their algorithms for accurately classifying duplicate content, among other things.
Additionally, responsive sites have an improved user experience – no one is ever left viewing the wrong site on the wrong platform (which is typically as unpleasant for a desktop user sent a mobile-optimized URL as it is in the reverse direction). Happy users means lower bounce rates (always a plus!), and lower bounce rates mean that Google’s job is easier when it comes to helping sites rank on mobile searches. In short – a good responsive experience helps your SEO.
A Win-Win-Win Situation
Overall, the responsive experience is better – for the user, for search engines and for your bottom line. Giving your customers the best possible experience online increases the likelihood of repeat purchases – why lose a hard-won fan to a less-frustrating site than yours?
If you haven’t undertaken this crucial next step in your site’s evolution – now is the time. Ignoring this growing consumer segment means losing potential customers. Can you really afford to chase off business? If you’re ready to take it to the next level – and stop losing opportunities – get a free responsive design quote from WebiMax for your new website today.