In today’s world, just about every single business has some form of online presence. This means that simply having a website is not going to be enough for your company if you want to beat out your competitors. You need to find every advantage that you can to ensure that your website is visited more than the others in your niche. Studies have shown that even small, subtle changes can result in huge increases – or decreases – in viewership. While there are many things that you can do to improve your website, this article is going to focus on just one strategy – Mobile Responsive Web Design.
What Is Mobile Responsive Web Design?
Over the past several years, we have seen a sharp increase in the number of people who access the web from their mobile devices. In fact, studies have shown that the number of people who primarily use their mobile device to get on the internet has surpassed those that use a desktop computer. This is a stark change from the trends of the past, where practically all web browsing was done from a computer. The problem that this presents for company owners – and the people who design their websites – is that a site is going to look much different on a mobile device than it would on a desktop. The screen is smaller – and usually vertical rather than horizontal. If you designed your website to look great on a desktop, it will most likely not be effective when it is viewed on a mobile device. This can lead to a poor user experience, and as a result, you can end up losing potential customers. The answer to this is Mobile Responsive Web Design.
With Mobile Responsive Web Design, the structure of the website transforms based on the the device it is being viewed on. This means that no matter what device someone is using to look at your website – be it a mobile phone, tablet, laptop, desktop, or even a watch – they will get a great user experience. Before the rise of responsive web design, users were forced to look at sites that were built to be viewed on a desktop through their mobile device. This could make the site hard to read, links hard to click on, and forms hard to fill out. As we said earlier, there is so much competition in the online world these days, that having a site that is not optimized for user experience is going to lose customers.
You may be thinking “Is Responsive Web Design really that important?”, and that’s a fair question. Is it really worth it to re-do your entire website? How many visitors are actually leaving simply because the website is a little hard to use, or hard to look at? To answer that, let’s look at some statistics.
For starters, according to Kissmetrics, 47% of consumers expect a website to load in under 2 seconds, while 40% of consumers will abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
This means that you could be losing customers before they even get a chance to see your site. By using Responsive Design, you are making a website that is built for that specific device, and therefore will load more quickly. Another statistic says that 79% of consumers are less likely to purchase from a site again if they are dissatisfied with a website’s performance the first time around. So now not only are you losing potential customers, but you are losing customers who liked you enough to try you out, but now will not be coming back. According to the Nielson Norman Group, the average person will decide within the first ten seconds whether or not they want to continue browsing a particular website. If a website is hard to read or hard to use, you will make their decision within these 10 seconds an easy one. As the numbers show, Internet users are highly critical. Having a website that is not optimized for different devices is likely causing you to lose more than just a few customers.
Now that we’ve established how important using Responsive Web Design is, you probably want to know how to implement it. There are several ways that you can go about this. If your site is a few years old, and you were thinking about redoing it soon anyway, then you might as well build a new site from scratch, implementing these techniques from the beginning. For those of you with an existing site that you would prefer not to change, adding Responsive Web Design to it can be difficult. For this, you are probably better off adding a subdomain to your website – one that is dedicated to mobile users. Then you can set it so that whenever someone accesses your site from a mobile device, they are redirected to the subdomain for your site (say “m.yoursite.com”). You can then build a website on your subdomain, using Responsive Design, and have it look similar to your main website. Lastly, if you host your site on something like WordPress, you can either install a theme that uses Responsive Design, or look for a plugin that will alter your existing site. There are plenty of options out there, so take a look around and see what works best for your situation.
Making sure that your website is at its best for each and every user is one of the biggest challenges facing businesses and web designers today. There are so many options out there, that if your site is not the best it can be, your potential customers will simply look elsewhere. While there are many things that you can do to make your site the best it can be, one of the biggest is using Responsive Web Design. The amount of people using the internet through a mobile device is only going to grow in the future, so by setting up your website now to adapt to its surroundings, you are giving your business the best foundation for success.