Responsive web design is a way of designing a website in such a way that the content, images and site structure provide a seamless viewing experience for users of different devices.
Since April 2015, Google's algorithm have been incorporating the mobile friendliness of a website into its ranking factors. Google essentially scans your site then rates it based on load times. If load times are horrible, or a site is not mobile friendly, it could drop in organic search results.
Given this significant change to Google's algorithm, it has become inevitable for website owners to optimize their websites for mobile users.
Although companies have the capability of creating a separate mobile website to cater to mobile visitors, having a responsive website is a more efficient and cost-effective solution. Not having a mobile responsive website can make companies lose out on a sizable percentage of the fast growing audience.
According to Search Engine Land, Google confirmed what appeared to be true: that mobile searches now outnumber those that take place on desktop in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.
This means that mobile marketing, through Facebook Ads, for example, can be most effective and successful if the website itself is mobile responsive. Below are a few reasons why companies should consider adopting mobile responsive websites.
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1. Mobile Usage is Rapidly Increasing
According to statistics by Smart Insights, more than 20 percent of Google searches are currently being performed through mobile devices, and that 57 percent of users are multi-screening, that is accessing websites on both mobile and desktop devices.
Furthermore, the year 2014 is when the number of mobile users accessing Internet services surpassed the ones using a desktop. In the UK, 58 percent of its population own smartphones with consumer sites receiving approximately 30 percent of their traffic from mobile devices.
The reality is that the number of users accessing websites and searching the Internet via mobile devices continue to increase. These users expect to enjoy an optimal viewing experience regardless of the website they visit, and in case your website isn't mobile responsive or your mobile website is rather difficult to use, they will quickly leave your site for another one that offers a better experience.
A responsive design ensures that your visitors can easily navigate your site using any device, which in turn results in satisfied users as well as increased conversions.
2. Google Prefers Responsive Design
A responsive website design is the preference of Google because it does not create two copies of the same website, a mobile version and a desktop version. Rather, it creates a single site with the same URL and HTML that can adapt, fit and retract to accommodate different types of devices.
Such a website is appealing for a number of reasons. First, it provides the user with optimal experience because the user can access a single URL and the site adapts automatically to fit the screen size of the device.
Furthermore, it is more efficient to Google because it doesn't require them to crawl multiple sites in order to assign accurate indexing properties. Therefore, your site will most likely rank higher on Google, something that will make your mobile marketing campaign more successful as well.
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3. It is Efficient and Easier to Manage
Consulting for smaller companies such as SarasotaProstate.com in Florida to larger Fortune 500 firms such as IBM.com worldwide, managing two websites (desktop and mobile versions) is less efficient and at the same time costly compared to having one website that is mobile responsive.
Smaller companies have the luxury of utilizing WordPress pre-built themes that are responsive while the larger companies have exponential resources on hand, but both have the ability to choose one design to meet the needs of the user, which helps level the playing field.
The cost for a small business owner to launch a mobile ready website can be as low as $100. There are many developers that build outstanding looking themes for as little as $75.
Having two websites means you'll have to do everything twice, from PPC campaigns to routine site maintenance. Therefore, having a responsive site will meet the needs of mobile and desktop users equally, saving you on additional resources.
In terms of mobile marketing, it will be cost-effective and the site will fit into any device making it possible for your online campaigns to be successful.
4. Responsive Website Design Increases Conversions
Google notes that you are likely to lose 61percent of visitors if your mobile website is difficult to navigate. However, if the users enjoy a positive interaction with your site, they are 67 percent more likely to convert.
Current statistics also show that 71 percent of consumers use their mobile devices to search for different products online while 27 percent of them have already used their mobile devices to purchase products, and continue to do so.
What does this mean as far as mobile marketing is concerned? It means that by providing an optimal and seamless user experience, the chances of increasing conversions are substantially higher. A mobile responsive site doesn't need redirection, which in turn increases load times. This means that a user searching for a product or service on your website will find it easily and faster.
It means that by providing an optimal and seamless user experience, the chances of increasing conversions are substantially higher. A mobile responsive site doesn't need redirection, which in turn increases load times. This means that a user searching for a product or service on your website will find it easily and faster.
The current statistics show pretty clearly that there is a major shift from desktop preference to mobile. More and more consumers are browsing online using mobile devices instead of desktops.
For small business owners around the globe, there are multiple resources available to turn their old web design into an eye-catching mobile-ready solution for their visitors.
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So what are your next steps as a small business owner? What should the next steps be to start gaining ground on large competitors?
- 1. Upgrade Your Site - This doesn't mean you need to spend thousands of dollars on a redesign. I mentioned WordPress because it's open source, which means it's free to use. Once you have WordPress running, it's time to find a responsive theme. There are many resources available online from basic responsive themes or you can purchase a high-end design for around $75. Most themes come with setup instructions that allow you to get up and running in no time.
- 2. Test Your Site - Two sites that I love to use for testing purposes are Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix. Google will provide you with just enough information so you can fix certain elements of your site to make sure it's fast and responsive. GTMetrix is for the more advanced user. They provide results on exactly what elements on your page are causing issues if any.
- 3. Fetch as Google - Using Google's Search Console, you can now have Google scan your site and then submit that page or the whole site, to Google for indexing. After completing those steps, it's time to sit back and wait. Will you surge past your competition because you have a mobile friendly site now? No, but you should see an increase in a few spots at least, especially if you're in a niche where your competition has outdated and unresponsive websites. A few spots can mean a few hundred additional visitors. And we all know that means an increase in revenue!