Would You Waste Your Time On Content You Can't Read?
In 2018, mobile responsive websites are no longer an optional extra. They are a necessity.
Have you ever accessed a website on your mobile phone only to discover that it is unreadable? That is without squeezing, pinching or scrolling the screen.
The menu links and buttons are tiny. After a few seconds of frustration you give up and leave the site. You might decide to visit it later on your desktop computer, but most people don’t bother.
Now imagine you are the owner of the site in question. In all probability you missed out on a new customer, and your website is to blame.
Why? Because it is not responsive.
What Is A Responsive Website?
A website with a responsive design is a site that is able to adapt to the screen it is being viewed on, regardless of the device used. The website automatically adapts to give the user a fluid and flexible layout which adjusts according to screen size. This is particularly important for mobile phone viewing, where screen space is limited.
Let’s say you have a non responsive site with a four column layout on the home page. This will look fine on a desktop computer.
However on a mobile screen the columns are squeezed into a space that is about 2.5 inches wide. The content is almost unreadable without zooming in manually with finger and thumb.
On mobile responsive websites the columns are stacked vertically when you view them on a mobile phone. The content in each column fills the screen in turn as you scroll down.
Why Is It Imperative That You Have A Responsive Site?
Because Google says so! Although there are other search engines, Google dominates the market and effectively sets the rules.
Google first introduced recommendations in 2015 that related to responsive web design. At the same time they began rewarding sites that were fully optimised for mobile platforms. The company now uses mobile friendliness as a ranking signal in search results.
More recently, Google has begun implementing mobile-first indexing strategies. Mobile-first indexing uses the mobile version of a site for ranking and indexing, as opposed to the desktop version.
There is now no question that mobile responsive websites are a must for businesses that value search engine rankings.
However, there are several other practical reasons why a responsive website is a better option.
It Will Help Increase Your Sales Conversions
Over 70% of mobile searches result in action of some sort.
Granted, that action may not be an immediate purchase. However, it could be a phone call to your business or a visit to your brick-and-mortar premises. Whatever the outcome, the mobile search has still increased your potential to make a sale.
It’s Easier To Manage One Website For Multiple Devices
Before the responsive design era, some businesses would design a separate version of their site for phones. This is still an option, but one that is now less popular due to the work involved.
A responsive website spares you this trouble. You also save time and money if you decide to rebrand your company. Or maybe you want to refresh your current design or update the page copy.
SEO is another consideration. If you have separate desktop and mobile websites, you will have to run separate SEO campaigns for each. One campaign is challenging enough. Running two SEO campaigns is a difficult and complex task. It will also take up more resources and involve greater costs.
Your Brand Image And Customer Engagement Will Suffer With A Non Responsive Site
The best way to illustrate this is with a hypothetical story.
A young Generation Y Millenial decides to try the pizzas in a store he’s heard about in the next suburb. It’s a family run business and his friends tell him the pizzas are great and it’s worth the trip.
He finds the store’s website on his phone (remember – he doesn’t use a desktop computer) and decides to check out the menu. However the site is not responsive and the menu is too small to read. So he tries to phone them.
Unfortunately, the phone number is just an unlinked image at the top of the screen, meaning he can’t click to dial.
Undeterred, he thinks “This is annoying, but I might drive over and have a look anyway”.
Guess what? There is a map on the site, but it doesn’t allow him to get GPS directions or voice instructions.
You know how this ends, don’t you? He opts for Dominoes instead. In a minute or so he’s ordered and paid for his pizza using his phone, and his food is on the way.
The moral of the story?
If a customer struggles with your website on their device, your business will probably go down in their estimation. If they feel you don’t care about website user experience, they may feel that you just don’t care at all.
Your competitors will win and you will lose.
There is no question that mobile responsive websites are cost effective, more efficient and also help to convert and retain more clients in the long run.
If your site is not responsive, talk to us about it. All sites we build are responsive as a matter of course.
Michael is the founder and principal of Media Dreams, and is a former partner in a public accounting practice. He has a working lifetime of advising small business owners and has owned several himself.