There are many advantages of responsive design for website owners and these have to do with SEO, reaching a larger audience and staying in synch with the latest trends in web design.
If you are an online business owner or webmaster looking for ways to keep your website and business on top of the competition, expand your reach, increase your conversion rates and keep your users happy then getting a responsive website should be your top priority.
So now that is clear what a responsive website is and what it is not, let’s see what are the advantages of having a responsive website for your business and how to justify the investment needed to turn your non-responsive website into responsive.
What is responsive design?
For those that are not familiar with the term ‘responsive web design’, the simplest definition I can give is that a responsive web site is optimized for viewing (i.e. looks good) on different types of devices, screens and resolutions. In other words the design adapts to the available viewing space offering the user with a nice experience without having to move left and right with a scroll bar or zoom-in, zoom out in order to read the text or view an image
1) Reach more audience
There are many studies that came out since early last year (2013) showing the dramatic rise in the number of people who use their mobiles and tablets for all their online activities (social networking, shopping, researching, searching google etc).
· Appearing on smartphones is critical for local businesses. 94% of smartphone users look for local information on their phone and 84% take action as a result, such as making a purchase or contacting the business.
· 77% of users have researched a product or service on their device, and 46% of smartphone users have made a purchase on their phone
· 67% of people start shopping on one device and continue to another
· 65% of sequential shopping occasions are started on a smartphone
· 34% of people turn to the screen that’s closest when looking for information.
What does this mean for businesses? If you don’t offer your users or potential customers a good experience on the device of their choice, you may lose visitors or customers. On the other hand, if you make sure that the experience they will have on the various devices is good, you are more likely to retain them as visitors and later convert them to customers.
2) Your customers are already mobile, stay in touch with them
Most probably if you check your analytics, you will find out that already 10% – 30% of your visitors are coming from mobile/tablets and if you are not offering them a user friendly version you are losing customers.
So, the added advantage of going responsive is that it will enable you to keep in touch with your customers and engage with them on every possible occasion.
3) You have one website to maintain and one set of code
As mentioned above, the beauty of having a responsive website versus a mobile friendly version is that you only need to maintain one set of code, one set of pages for your website so any changes or new functionality you offer to the desktop version are automatically available on mobile as well.
4) SEO benefits from responsive design
There has been a long discussion in the SEO industry about responsive website and SEO. Some people say that it’s good for SEO, others believe that a responsive website is not the best solution for all businesses while Google is saying that having a responsive website is the recommended configuration for creating smartphone optimized websites.
In my opinion a responsive web site is good for SEO because:
· You have content published only once so there is no risk of getting into duplicate content issues
· Any efforts you put on SEO for your desktop version are ‘automatically’ applicable for mobile as well
· You are offering your mobile users an optimized version so you are more likely to rank higher on mobile search
· It is recommended by Google – Although that does not mean that they will favour this method over the others, they do suggest that having a responsive website is the best practice.
5) Increase conversions and earnings from ads
By going from a mobile friendly version to a responsive website you are more likely to increase conversions or earnings from ads.
Migrating 3 AdSense websites to responsive design resulted in 20-30% increase in AdSense earnings compared to mobile friendly versions.
Details of these case studies will be published in the next few weeks (so stay tuned) but the increase in AdSense is a clear indication that responsive websites increase conversions as well.
Data from our clients who are selling products online, support the above statement and this is also something we will publish with more details soon.
6) Stay in front of the competition
It’s becoming an industry standard so by staying in synch you are a step closer to your competitors (or ahead if they are not following a responsive design).
7) You are preparing now for the future
The future of the web is mobile and it is estimated that by 2025 more than 5 billion people by 2025 will use mobile phones. These are numbers and figures you cannot ignore and if you are not convinced that a responsive website can help your business now, it will certainly do in the next few years.
8) Offer a consistent design across all devices
A responsive website can help you maintain a consistent design across devices rather than serving your users with a different set of pages for each type of device that may have a different look’n’feel.
How can you make a website responsive?
It is not the purpose of this article to go into the technical details on how to make a responsive website but I can give you some guidelines and examples on what we have done for other clients.
Websites can be designed responsive from the beginning or can be converted into responsive later.
There are 2 ways to make a responsive website:
1) Use a responsive theme – if you are using wordpress there are a number of ready-made themes that are also responsive so you can buy one out of the shelf and use it.
2) Transform your existing website and theme into responsive design.
3) Create a custom design from scratch that it’s also responsive.
If you want to learn more about the specific marketing strategies mentioned in this post, our blog is a great resource for all of this information.