Have you ever happened upon the term “responsive design” when researching how to improve your web presence? Responsive design is a phrase that gets thrown around a lot in small business marketing forums and pops up frequently on marketing blogs, but what is it, really, and why does it matter so much to small businesses wanting to expand their online presence and perform well in today’s digital world?
What Is Responsive Design?
A website with responsive design has been constructed in such a way that all of the content is viewable to a user regardless of whether they are accessing that site via mobile phone, desktop, tablet, or on any other platform. Responsive design allows for the optimum user experience across all these varying platforms and on screens of any size because the website is automatically adapted to the best-fit for the device, layout and screen size of the user accessing it.
Put simply, if your website is built with responsive design, it will be unified and easy to navigate every time, from every device.
Why Does Responsive Design Matter?
According to the Pew Research Center on Information and Technology, as of Feb, 2018, 77% of Americans have a smartphone of some kind. In addition, nearly three quarters of U.S. adults now own desktop or laptop computers, while roughly half now own tablet computers.
There is way too much traffic coming from these varying devices for businesses to ignore, and internet users are expecting websites to perform better, regardless of the device they are using to access the internet. Here is where responsive design can help:
- Better User Experience: Customers expect that their experience when accessing your business website is the same from anywhere, regardless of whether they’re on their PC at work, using their mobile phone, or on their personal tablet. Walk into any Starbucks around the world and your experience should feel the same as when you step in the door to order at your local store. Responsive design takes this same concept and provides this level of consistency for website users. No matter at what time or from where a website is being viewed, with responsive design it will always appear clean and easy to navigate. There is no pinching or zooming required – font size, images, layouts, and clickable buttons adapt instantaneously. Users are going to be far more likely to stay on your website if it is attractive and easy to use, and more likely to return if their experience is the same every time.
- Higher SERP Rankings: Want to improve the SEO strength of your website? Build your website with responsive design. According to Pierre Farr, a Google Webmaster Trends Analyst, Google rewards sites that use responsive design with better search engine rankings over those that just optimize for mobile because it is simpler for the search engines to crawl one URL as opposed to the multiple-URL, code-based approach that separate desktop v mobile versions require. Plus, with a better user experience, people will stay longer on your page, sending the search bots the message that you’re a worthwhile website, improving your rankings and helping you get found by more and better traffic, and so on.
- Improved Loading Time: Incorporating responsive design will also improve your website’s loading time. No one has the time or patience to wait for clunky, cumbersome websites to load! In fact, according to Kissmetrics, 47% of visitors expect a website to load in less than 2 seconds, and 40% of visitors will leave a website if the loading process takes more than 3 seconds. If you don’t want to drive away visitors before your website has even loaded – damaging your credibility and your rankings on the SERPs – you will need to get on board with responsive design.
- Demonstrate Credibility:If you want your business to be taken seriously, you have to keep your website current. At some point, you’ve had to access a website that was not optimized for mobile and did not utilize responsive design. In order to be able to see the content on that website, you likely had to zoom in, scroll (and maybe scroll and scroll some more), and then pinch and hover over the exact right spot to try to get to the information you needed. Do you remember how frustrating that was? If you don’t want to cause your customers, or potential customers, that level of frustration, responsive design is the solution.
- More Efficient: A responsive design website is all around easier to manage, as there will be no need to create and maintain a separate site optimized just for mobile. Website owners sometimes try using tools that are supposed to convert a website from desktop to mobile, but for every change and update to your site or any content you share on social media, you then have to ensure those links work seamlessly when viewed from both desktop and mobile. Maintaining two sites in this way is too much work and leaves too much potential for error. Responsive design will simplify how much time and effort you have to spend on maintaining your website, so you can get back to running your business instead!
How Important Is Responsive Design?
If you want to improve your online presence and reach new customers, incorporating responsive design on your website should be among your top priorities. You’ve put a lot of effort into developing your brand and creating relevant, useful content online, and that content should appear as polished on every screen size as it does when you’re viewing it from your desktop at your office.
It’s also important to understand that the reason someone accesses your website from varying platforms matters. Someone may be researching your product or service on their mobile device now because they have an immediate need and are ready to respond to a CTA or be ready to purchase. If your website performs poorly at that moment, you may never get a second chance with that lead.
Want To Build A Website For Your Business With Responsive Design?
At EmoryDay, we provide businesses of all sizes the marketing support needed to realize their full potential. Whether you are looking to incorporate responsive design in your current website or want to start developing a web presence from the ground up, our team is here to help. Contact us today to learn more.