For a brief moment, think about all of the internet searches you do on a daily and weekly basis. What are you using to search? A mobile device or your desktop computer? If you’re like most, you probably do the majority of your searching from your phone or tablet on the go, or while relaxing on the couch at home – convenience, right?
In fact, in 2017, mobile users accounted for over 52% of total online traffic! (Source: Statista). Whether you’ve already embraced the mobile-friendly revolution and happen to be looking for more justification, or you’re determining if it’s worth the effort to move your current site over to a responsive design, in this article, we’re going to explore why it’s essential both now and going forward for your business to make the change.
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The Difference Between Mobile-Friendly & Responsive Designs
Before we get too far, it’s important that we first clarify the difference between “mobile-friendly” and “responsive” websites. Often times, these terms are used interchangeably and both play a major role in rankings and user experience, but they aren’t entirely the same. The true difference between the two comes down to the layout of information.
With mobile-friendly sites, the code has been designed to literally shrink an exact copy of the website as it’s seen on a desktop computer and fit it into the limited real estate of a mobile device. This usually leads to a poor user experience and results in the bothersome task of pinching and zooming in order to navigate around. On the other hand, responsive websites are designed to restructure content so it’s displayed across all devices in an aesthetically pleasing, easy-to-read format. Though a little more complex than mobile-friendly sites, this creates a positive user experience while allowing them to navigate the full site with ease. In short, all responsive websites are mobile-friendly but not all mobile-friendly websites are responsive.
5 Ways a Responsive Website Benefits Your Business and Customers
To ensure your business website renders properly to your entire audience, no matter where they are or what device they’re using, it’s best to go with a responsive design. Here’s a deeper dive as to why:
1. Customers Expect a Good Experience
Think about the last time you visited a website that had a poor mobile layout. How long did you stick around? The answer is, probably not very long. These days, internet users care almost as much about the experience a website provides as they do finding the actual information they’re after. If you don’t believe it’s that important, a recent study found that 52% of online users are less likely to engage with a company if they had a bad mobile experience (Source: Social Media Today).
On mobile devices, because of the reduced screen size, users are searching for information in easily digestible sections that also look visually appealing. This is especially true if they’re conducting research or completing work that requires them to bounce back and forth between devices. In fact, 90% of users switch devices while completing an online task (Source: Huffington Post).
2. Search Engines Care About Website Design
If you’ve been running a business website for any period of time, you’re no stranger to the strong-handed search engine updates that get rolled out on a fairly regular basis. In 2015, Google released a notorious update that prioritized websites with a “mobile-friendly design” (under which “responsive” also falls), giving them a boost in rankings.
Google has even stated that they prefer responsive websites over those with both a desktop and mobile version (Source: Social Media Today). At the end of the day, Google understands internet users are shifting more and more to mobile devices rather than desktop computers, and they want to ensure people are getting the best experience possible. In recent months, it’s even been speculated that Google will eventually move over to a “mobile-only” indexing model, replacing the current system which they’ve had in place for more than 20 years.
3. Gain an Advantage Over Competitors
The world of business has always been dog eat dog, but even more so online. These days (and going forward), to stand out to consumers, brands are going to have to go above and beyond in the way they create experiences for buyers. If your competitors don’t have a responsive website design and you do, their visitors are more likely to become your paying customers.
In fact, only 56% of small businesses have a website design that is mobile-friendly (Source: Clutch). Roll out the red carpet for customers and welcome them to your website with a strong, positive user experience that saves them from the disappointment they may have dealt with at your competitor’s website. Mobile retail sales are projected to account for more than 50% of total eCommerce sales by 2021 (Source: Statista).
4. They’re Easier to Manage
Rather than having to worry about building a desktop site and a mobile-friendly site, responsive designs are built to do everything in one. This way, you don’t need to meticulously alter the layout of text, pictures, and videos depending on the device your visitors are using. Responsive websites also have faster loading speeds than non responsive designs, which will help with your rankings, something that was directly recommended by Google (Source: Google).
In addition, having two separate accounts requires two separate marketing campaigns. With time as one of your most valuable resources in business, it’s simply not feasible to actively manage the marketing campaigns of two separate websites. More so, if you don’t handle marketing, it doesn’t make financial sense to pay a company double the amount for one job!
5. Responsive Websites Are “Future-Proof”
As the internet becomes more accessible to people around the world, more than 1.2 billion people are accessing it from a mobile device, accounting for 78% of total digital time spent (Source: Social Media Today). The online world is notorious for dishing out fast changes and drastic updates that can throw your website off-track and interrupt business, and by switching over to a responsive design, you’re gaining immediate benefits and protection from the “mobile-only” model Google and other search engines are likely to be moving over to at some point in the future.
Not only will search engines be making changes, but the devices we use to access the internet as well. Cellphone companies are constantly pushing for larger screens and new devices are always being introduced. Going forward, it only makes sense to use a website structure that already accounts for the changes of the future.
Mobile responsiveness is just one aspect of having a successful business website. For more help with creating a killer website for your business, download our free eBook below: