This month, our marketing resolution is to go mobile! Have you taken the time recently to check out your website? How long has it been since your website was last updated? Take a few minutes and perform a quick evaluation on a variety of screen sizes. Test your site out on a laptop, desktop, large monitor, tablet, and mobile phone. How does it look? Is it mobile-friendly? Can you view all of your content without pinching? Is the text legible without zooming in or having to pan across? If you answered “no,” to any of those questions, it might be time to update your site.
If your site is not mobile-ready, now is the time to focus on creating a strong web presence that can be viewed on every device. In this day and age, our mobile presence is as important, if not more important, than our desktop presence. If you’re not sold on the need for mobile design yet, take a look at these surprising statistics:
- In 2014, mobile web usage exceeded desktop usage. (Search Engine Watch)
- U.S. mobile internet usage increased by 73% last year. (StatCounter)
- Smartphone penetration in the U.S. is now 74.9%. (MarketingLand)
- 60% of consumers exclusively use mobile to inform their purchase decisions. (Search Engine Watch)
So, now the question is which approach is best for creating a mobile-friendly web presence. At Millennium, we believe that responsive design is the most effective way to create a great web presence on a variety of platforms. There is often a lot of confusion about what exactly responsive design or responsive web design (RWD) is. It might seem like mobile apps, mobile sites, and responsive sites are all the same, but their definitions are quite different:
- Mobile App – A mobile app is a separate app that must be downloaded through an external distribution platform such as the Apple App Store, Google Play, or the Windows Phone Store. Mobile apps require an app developer and are a separate entity from your website. They can be costly to design and maintain.
- Mobile Optimized Site – A mobile optimized site is not responsive. In fact, it is a second mobile-friendly site that will display when it recognizes that a user is accessing the site on a mobile device. Mobile optimized sites are separate sites that need to be updated individually, and they often contain less information than the desktop version.
- Responsive Site – A responsive site truly “responds” to the user. The site itself will display differently based on the device used to access the internet. The same content will display on every device from Smart TVs to mobile phones, with the content shrinking or expanding to accommodate each screen size.
Why is responsive design the right choice? Responsive design offers a number of great benefits compared to mobile apps and mobile optimized sites. Here are some of the most important factors that put responsive design at the top:
- Improved User Experience – A responsive site creates an optimal viewing experience, no matter which device a visitor is using. With responsive design, your users will no longer have to pinch, zoom, and pan to view and enjoy your site’s content.
- Google-Friendly – As the most popular search engine with the largest share of online search by far, Google often sets the industry standards and best practices. Google recommends responsive design as the best website configuration.
- One URL and Codeset – A responsive site has only one URL, compared to a mobile optimized site which has a separate mobile URL. With one URL, it is easier for search engine bots to crawl and analyze your site, which can benefit your search rankings.
- Easier and More Efficient to Update – If you often add, remove, or change content on your site, a responsive design can be a real time-saver. Responsive design only requires one codeset of HTML, meaning that it is easier to maintain and update compared to having a separate mobile site or app.
- Increased Reach and Decreased Bounce Rates – If your site is not mobile-ready, you run the risk of losing potential customers who are looking for you on their mobile devices. However, when your customers can easily view your site and find the information and products they are seeking, you will often enjoy lowered bounce rates and higher conversions.
- Simplified Analytics – With one site designed responsively, you can consolidate your analytics into one reporting suite, allowing you to see and understand your results more effectively.
As you can see, a mobile presence is vital to your website’s success, and responsive design is the best way to create a cohesive look that is viewable anywhere. Are you ready to move forward with this marketing resolution? Contact our talented web design team at (301) 725-8000 to discuss your needs and learn how we can bring your web presence into 2015!