Why a responsive web design is a must have for mobile websites

Internet usage has reached, indeed passed, a tipping point.

In early 2014, more users worldwide accessed the web from a mobile device than a desktop. Recognising this growing trend, Google has introduced a “mobile-friendly” label to mobile search results highlighting websites that provide a better user experience on smaller screens.

If you don’t already have a responsive web design – one that provides an optimal user experience, irrespective of device – it’s now more critical than ever to ensure your website incorporates a responsive design.

Source: Global Web Index

What is a Responsive Website?

Not all websites are created equal. A site that functions perfectly well on desktops or laptops can be reduced to illegible hieroglyphs on a smartphone screen. Unless it’s been developed as a responsive website that is. In other words, a website designed and coded to work across a multitude of platforms, devices and resolutions.

A responsive web design will fluidly and seamlessly adapt to the environment in which it’s accessed. One website only, rather than one that needs to be reformatted for iPads, Kindles, SmartTVs, laptops or desktops or any other yet-to-be-created device you haven’t anticipated at the time of development (Apple Watch anyone?).

Design it once and a responsive website will automatically format itself, when opened, to fit its environs.

How can a responsive web design influence your Google ranking?

In late 2014, Google announced a preference for responsive websites which is the biggest hint you need to ensure your site incorporates a responsive design. With over two thirds of all global searches conducted via Google (rising to around 95% in Australia), having Google as your advocate is pretty much essential.

Why is Google so keen on responsive web design? Simply, like you they want the end user experience to be as favourable as possible. Removing software uncommon on mobile devices (such as Flash), incorporating text that’s legible without zooming, automatically formatting pages to the device’s screen size so there’s no need for horizontal scrolling, and providing enough room for links to stand alone to be easily tapped are just some of the criteria their bots will assess when assigning your site a “mobile-friendly” ranking – or not.

To put it bluntly, your ranking will now depend upon having a great mobile website. Google has been quite explicit stating "we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results". And as this worldwide rollout of Google’s “mobile-friendly” label for mobile search results has now been implemented in Australia, a responsive web design is more critical than ever.

Source: Global Web Index

What other benefits can you expect from a responsive website?

If you’re managing a desktop and a mobile website at the moment, not only will you be managing two separate URLs and HTMLs, you’ll be duplicating effort across sites and potentially running into indexing issues with Google bots. There are numerous benefits to developing a responsive website, key outcomes including:

  • End user satisfaction: ensuring prospective and existing customers are happy in their interactions with your website, irrespective of their chosen device, positively influences everything from brand satisfaction to purchase potential.

  • Cost efficiencies: managing just one site (rather than multiple versions) will result in operational cost efficiencies, particularly content and development costs as well as streamlined SEO activities.

  • Better Google indexing: with only one site to crawl, Google’s bots won’t need to index multiple versions of the same site, and as it will believe your responsive design will provide a better end user experience, it will rank it as a “mobile-friendly” site.

  • Keep ahead of your competition: even with the clear business necessity for a responsive website many businesses are still slow in reacting to the need for a mobile website, allowing any company with a responsive design to stay ahead of their competition.

Komosion is at the forefront of responsive web design. Talk to us about how you too could develop a responsive website.

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