If you manage your own website or if you have a website for your organization, you have probably thought about having a site for mobile users. In today’s technology world, this is becoming more and more important. People are using mobile phone web browsers to not only search for information, but to visit their favorite sites. This usage is increasing by the day. To ensure your site is ready for these tech-savvy visitors, you need to consider Responsive Web Design.
To help you decide if Responsive Web Design (RWD) is right for your site and your business, we have compiled some of the most common and important questions about RWD and how it can affect your business.
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive Web Design, RWD, is the practice of designing a website so that it displays based not on hard sizing data in the website’s code, but on the environment through which the user interacts with the site. A Responsive website will have a specific look and function on a desktop computer. On a tablet device, the look and some functions may change. On a mobile phone device, the site and functions will change again. In this way, the best web design is created, using one URL, for every device a user may choose.
Why do you need a Responsive Website?
To answer this question, ask yourself, what is the purpose of your website? Do you have a site that will attract mobile users, or would you like to attract more mobile users?
Creating a Responsive Website means that you have one stop for all of your visitors, no matter what type of device they choose to use. You ensure that your mobile users have just as pleasant of an experience with your site as your desktop users, meaning they will be happy to return. You also increase the number of people who will be able to visit your site by making it a device responsive site.
Can I update my existing website to be a Responsive site?
If you already have a non-responsive website design, you can update it to be responsive. As your web design company, we will review your current website and make recommendations about layout and design to help optimize your site’s responsiveness. You will not have to start from the ground up, but you should do a few things to get ready for the changes.
- Review your content. Make sure that all of your information is up to date. Shorten sentences and break up bulky paragraphs. This will help optimize content for RWD.
- Highlight the relevant information so that we can ensure it is positioned for optimal viewing on mobile devices.
- Be open to input about changes to format, images, and sizes. We may also make recommendations about content changes to ensure the information is optimized for mobile reading.
What if my website has elements that cannot be responsive? Can I still have a Responsive Web Design?
Some types of websites will have elements that cannot be responsive. However, we can review the options for your site to help ensure your visitors have the best experience. We recommend making the whole site responsive and then repositioning the non-responsive elements. This means that your desktop visitors still have easy access to those non-responsive elements, but they do not interfere with how mobile users access the site.
Can I just create an alternate site for mobile and tablet users?
The not so simple answer is, yes – if. If your desktop site has features that overwhelmingly cannot be made responsive – for example some game websites; if you know that your mobile users want a different experience from your site than desktop users – this is rare; andif your primary purpose for your site is e-commerce – which often functions differently on mobile devices, then yes, you can create an alternate site using mobile web design conventions.
Unfortunately, few websites fit all of these criteria. If yours does not, you should consider a web page design that is device responsive. A responsive web page layout is cost effective and convenient – you have only one domain to maintain and update, saving you time and money. It is also consistent for your users who only need to worry about one URL and will have the same experience across all devices.
Consider banking websites. When users began accessing their accounts through online banking, banks had to meet the challenge of offering a wide variety of account services to their online customers. When customers began migrating to mobile devices, the banks had a new challenge. Many of the features available on the desktop cannot function on mobile devices for a variety of reasons. Unfortunately, many banks have been slow to shift website features to maximize responsiveness, and the result has been frustrating for their customers. Most rely on mobile applications and mobile site versions.This adds costs to the bank for maintaining multiple sites and marketing different access methods.
Will Responsive Web Design harm SEO?
The short answer is no. When it comes to looking at how SEO and Responsive Web Development converge, you have to consider some factors. Will a search engine rank responsive and non-responsive websites equally? Do mobile users input different search terms on their mobile devices versus their laptop devices?
The bottom line from the questions, however, is that no, Responsive Web Design does not have a negative impact on SEO strategies. In fact, by giving users a more consistent experience across multiple devices, you actually improve your overall SEO performance. Remember, SEO is more than just using a few keywords in your text (you can include mobile-specific terms very easily in your keyword usage). If your users are happy with your site, they are more likely to join, like, and share. If you have site membership, you have customers on your email marketing lists who revisit your site frequently. If they Like and Share your site, your exposure on social media grows. This exposure means new customers.
Responsive Web Development is the future of web site design. As more users move to mobile devices, more companies will want and need to reach them. If you are responsive to the habits and needs of your customers and visitors, they will respond by visiting your site, clicking your links, and purchasing your products and services. That only helps to grow your business.