By now you’ve almost certainly heard about responsive design, but if you’re like many business owners, you may have dismissed it as yet another buzz word that you’ll look into when you have some spare time.
Except you probably won’t find time for that until it’s too late because, as business owners, we’re always juggling dozens of priorities at any given time.
Mobile responsive web design, or just responsive design for short, is a method of designing a website to transform based on the screen size of the device it’s viewed on.
No, not like that.
In some cases, this may be as simple as showing or hiding elements based on screen size, while more advanced responsive design will change the layout entirely and serve different media. For example, a website might serve smaller images or even omit video entirely on mobile devices because of smaller screen size, reduced bandwidth, and potential data charges to visitors.
You might think responsive design isn’t important—that your customers don’t care.
If so, you would be wrong.
Responsive design isn’t just the latest online fad. It’s the result of the meteoric growth of mobile technology, including both smart phones and tablets. Today, there are more mobile devices than people, more Google searches take place on mobile devices, and mobile traffic even exceeds desktop traffic in general.
This means your website need to have an effective user interface, function properly, and load quickly on mobile devices.
Don’t take my word for it though, listen to Google. Last year, they announced a new algorithm that favors mobile friendly websites, and this February they eliminated their ads displayed in the right sidebar for a better mobile experience.
Responsive sites also have lower bounce rates which is used by Google as a ranking factor. (Lower bounce rate = better ranking.) And knowing what screen sizes visitors are viewing your website at enables you to create a better user experience to keep them on your site longer and increase conversions.
Responsive design can only become more important in the future because the number of mobile devices will continue to grow and people will use them while out, as well as at home and work.
Responsive design isn’t going away, so you need to get on board if you don’t want to be left in the dust. Benefits include:
- better user experience
- faster site speed
- longer time on site
- improved organic ranking
- increased conversions
Is your website mobile responsive? Google has a handy tool to check, but that’s just a starting point. Ideally, you need a few people who aren’t familiar with your website to test it on several mobile devices both horizontally and vertically to be sure.
If your website is not responsive, you have two options; if you take your brand seriously, hire a firm to design a custom responsive website for you, or if you’re on a shoestring budget, you can buy a premade responsive theme and do all of the work yourself.