If people visit your website on their phone, do they just get a miniaturized version? How about on their tablet? Responsive web design makes sure each visitor has a good experience at your site, regardless of the device they’re using.
If you’re like many small business owners, you have little knowledge of how websites work. You either hired somebody to do it or you bought a website template and figured out how to make some simple changes to fit your brand.
But the coding of your sites means nothing to you—You don’t have to be a website program but you do have to understand responsive design.
What is Responsive Design?
Unlike most techno terminology, the definition is in the term. Responsive, in web terms, means the same thing as in your own life. If you’re responsive to your customers, you listen and react to what they say or do. The same holds true with your employees and your family.
A responsive website reacts and makes changes based on a host of factors. The most notable is screen size. A responsive webpage changes image and font sizes, as well as moves elements around to fit the screen of the user.
If they’re viewing the site on their phone, the website has a design optimized for a mobile phone screen. On a tablet, the site will look slightly different and on a computer screen, even more different. Pretty cool, isn’t it?
Is it Really That Important?
Yes, but don’t take our word for it—let the stats do the talking.
According to Pew Research, 81% of American adults own a smartphone and of those, and currently (2020) 50% of Internet traffic is mobile.Another indication of phone use: 78% of Facebook users access the service exclusively by smart phone.
Still not convinced? If you’re the type that browses the web on your mobile device, you’ve surely found yourself looking at a microscopic rendering of what somebody calls a website. You zoom in but after about 10 seconds of pure, unadulterated annoyance you go somewhere else hoping that your eyes are not permanently crossed. If that website was responsive, that story would have never played out.
As a business owner, you have to make sure that when your customers come to your site, their experience is positive. If your site causes even the smallest bit of stress, they’ll leave.
How about now? Are you convinced? Your website HAS to be responsive. If you’re just launching your first website, it’s likely the developer your choose or the website builder tools you use on your own will create a responsive site. (But check to be sure!) But if you have an older site that hasn’t been updated, it’s time to make it responsive and mobile friendly.
More Reasons to go Responsive
Google Loves it!
Nobody really knows how Google decides which websites are worthy of its front page but there’s no doubt that Google loves responsive design. Here’s what the company said:
“We recommend webmasters follow the industry best practice of using web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices using media queries to decide rendering on each device”.
That might seem a little to techy but this simply means that your site should be responsive. Yahoo and Bing also prefer it.
It’s Cheaper than the Alternative.
A little over a decade ago, the mobile web was becoming the next big thing. At first, developers were creating two websites—one for traditional computers and one for mobile. If you wanted to view the mobile site, you placed an “m” in front of the site and there it was. (Remember “m.yoursite.com?”) Technology developed allowing websites to automatically know the device accessing it and could automatically switch to the mobile version but now, there’s no need for two sites.
Responsive design is saving companies major bucks because responsive design is built into the site design. Nearly all new website templates have it and developers can easily include the code in most cases. The alternative is to “save money by not upgrading and watch your customers click away without giving you a chance.
Your Customers Want it!
The customer is always right, aren’t they? If more than half of your customers came to your store and said they wanted a certain item, you would get it, right? Your customers are coming to your site from their mobile devices. They might have found a link on Facebook or other social media platform but what if (gulp) you paid for online advertising and they came to your site but couldn’t read it? What an awful waste of marketing dollars.
The Good News
It’s probably not difficult to make your site mobile. If it’s a small, not-so-complicated site, simply buy a new template, install it, and make some tweaks. Platforms like WordPress make this very easy. If you aren’t a tweaker, hire somebody. You can probably get the bugs worked out for a couple of hundred dollars or less.
If your site is custom made or has a lot of functionality that doesn’t make a simple template change possible, a good coder won’t have much of a problem adding the responsive programming in a short period of time.
The change isn’t likely to exhaust your technology budget but even if it does cost more than you hoped, the money you’re losing because your mobile customers can’t see your website is probably far more of a hit.
Don’t wait—get responsive. You’ll see an increase in your website traffic.