5 Eye Opening Benefits of Responsive Web Design
What Is Responsive Web Design?
Have you ever visited a website on your mobile device or tablet and found yourself zooming in/out or changing the aspect of your device just so that you can read the text or see the whole site?
Well, you are not alone.
This is an example of non-responsive web design, and this scenario has been experienced by 96% of mobile internet users. Responsive web design is when a website, including its images and text, automatically resizes (or responds) to the device on which you are viewing it. The result is that you have a beautifully functional website on all devices; phone, tablet, or desktop.
Kayla Knight of Smashing Magazine may have summed up responsive web design best:
“Design and development should respond to the user’s behaviour and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation.”
Whilst you do not have to be aware of the technology behind such website magic, the result is achieved via a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and complex use of CSS media queries (sorry for the technical mumbo jumbo). It is important to remember that responsive web design is not simply having a mobile version of your website (e.g. m.yourbusiness.com). In fact, as you will learn below in many cases a mobile version of your site can be a disadvantage.
Let me explain.
Below, you will read the 5 eye-opening benefits of responsive web design for small businesses.
1. SEO Benefits: Higher Search Engine Rankings
Quite simply, Google prefers responsive web design.
They said so, and they are kind of a big deal.
As reported by Search Engine Land, Google has suggested the superiority of responsive web design, as opposed to a mobile version of a site, is a consequence of 2 primary reasons:
Each page of the website has only one URL, rather than a desktop and mobile version of each page. This improves user interaction with website content (discussed further below).
Improved efficiency when Google evaluates your site as it doesn’t have to “crawl” multiple web pages.
Accordingly, a representative from Google has suggested that responsive web design gives your website “the best chance of performing well in our search results”.
2. Social Media Benefits: Improved Engagement and Sharing
There are clear benefits social media benefits of responsive web design. They are best illustrated with some statistics to illuminate the mobile social media landscape. Research reported by Unified Social has shown that mobile users are:
Nearly twice as likely to share content on social networks than desktop users (7.7% vs 4%)
66% more likely to retweet on Twitter
3 x more likely to share content on Pinterest
39% more engaged in Facebook fan page posts
I knew that mobile social media shares were higher but I didn’t know that it was double!
Thus, it is imperative that your content is delivered efficiently and beautifully to both mobile and desktop users. Furthermore, all users will be accessing the same content on the same URL, and you won’t have desktop users accessing a mobile version of your website.
3. Conversion Rate Benefits: More Customers and Sales
What are small business websites for if not improved sales?
In a research report from Google, What Users Want From Mobile Sites Today, it was clear that a mobile friendly site converted more visitors into customers. Users reported that when encountering a mobile friendly site (as compared to non-responsive) they were:
74% more likely to return
67% more likely to buy!
What was even more concerning was the consequence of a business not having a mobile friendly website. When users encountered a business website that was not responsive, it was reported:
48% felt frustrated and annoyed
50% stated they will use the business less (even if they like them!)
52% were less likely to engage with a company
Quite obviously, if your business is not utilising responsive web design – you are leaving business on the table.
Think that these statistics are all theoretical? Here are 14 examples of real business that improved their conversion rates with responsive web design.
4. User Experience Benefits: Happier and More Loyal Customers
Consider the website experience that I discussed above, in which you were required to zoom in and out, up and down, left and right on a website that was not optimised for mobile.
It leaves a bad taste in my mouth. And I know it’s not just me.
Social media on smartphone | Central Coast web design
Social Media Examiner reported on the improved user experience that responsive web design provides, and they suggested:
78% of users want to find what they’re looking for in just one or two clicks
64% of users only want to scroll up and down on a business’ mobile site (i.e. not zoom in and out or scroll left and right)
People want convenience, not a challenge. I am certain that the improved user experience will also contribute to the benefits in SEO, social media, and conversions rates as discussed above.
5. Development Benefits: Faster Development with Lower Costs
When it comes time to develop or update your website using a responsive web design framework means faster development and lower costs for your business.
Maintaining a responsive website means that your web developer is only required to work with one piece of code for your small business website. In the event of one website for desktop and one, or even multiple, mobile website versions the web developer will have to work with and update each of the sites – increasing the involved amount of work, time and subsequently dollars.
Given the evidence for superiority of responsive web design presented above, it could be suggested that these may be extra costs for your business for no gain.
What Should I Do Now?
This is a choose your own adventure:
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To discuss your businesses requirements for a mobile-friendly or responsive website contact us
June 7, 2019
November 5, 2017