Last year, mobile overtook desktop for website access; more users are looking online from their smartphones or tablets than from a desktop computer. If your website does not have responsive design, users will not be able to utilize your site from their mobile devices — and this could have disastrous consequences for your bottom line.
Learn what responsive web development means, the effects it has on SEO, and how it benefits your business.
What is Responsive Web Development?
Too many websites are built for desktop and laptop viewing, then scaled down so mobile users can only access a fraction of the features built into the website. Rather than give mobile users a lite version of the website, responsive web development ensures that web users can access the full site content regardless of the device they’re using. When someone checks a website on their phone, then views it from their laptop, they’ll see the same content and design.
The hallmarks of responsive web development include:
- Fluid grids – A fluid grid layout that uses percentages instead of pixels allows web content to be scaled up or down to fit the device size
- Flexible media – Scaling media and using the overflow feature allow media to display correctly on any size screen
- Media queries – Media queries detect the device type accessing the website then serve up the right version of the website for the device, adjusting style features accordingly
The Relationship Between Responsive Web Development and SEO
Google recently switched from desktop-first to mobile-first index. This means that Google checks your mobile website, and not the desktop version, when determining your rank. Only if there is no mobile version of your site will they review your desktop website. If you want your website to rank highly, so users encounter it first, responsive web development is a must.
Not only can responsive web development help you avoid a Google penalty, it can boost your SEO in several key ways. With a responsive website, you’ll enjoy:
- Higher usability score
- Better customer experience
- More conversions, e.g. sales
- Faster page load time
- Decreased bounce rate
- No duplicate content penalty
- Easier social sharing
Since Google looks at the speed your pages load, the number of social shares you have, and your site’s usability to determine your page rank, you’ll outrank your competitors all while helping your users find what they need.
The Benefits of Responsive Web Development
Switching to responsive web development has many benefits for you. Not only is a responsive site ranked higher in Google, but it is more attractive to users.
Studies show that mobile users are five times more likely to click away from a website that isn’t optimized for mobile devices. Even though they can pinch to zoom in on your web content, users do not want to. They’re more likely to abandon their search or look for a competitor who offers a mobile friendly website. As a result, you lose out on business. With mobile search projected to continue its growth rate, you’ll feel the effects the longer you hold out — if you aren’t already.
Since mobile accounts for more searches than desktop, your website needs mobile traffic to receive a high ranking in search. If you switch to responsive development and your top competitors haven’t switched, your site will overtake theirs in search results and you’ll get a more prominent search placement. A higher search ranking steers new leads to your business, which can increase your revenue.
Having a responsive site is easier for your IT department or your freelance web developer. Now, you’ll only maintain the one responsive site, rather than both a desktop and mobile site. You can ensure consistency across your web presence, worry less about maintenance and upgrades (since you have only one site now), and even pay less for website maintenance.
When you take the time to plan for a responsive web design, you’ll wind up with a carefully curated website that’s organized well and easy to use. This can make your customers happy, while reducing confusion. When customers can’t find what they need, they’ll go elsewhere. When your website meets their needs, they’ll be happy and they’ll buy more products.
2017 is the watershed year for responsive web development. If you haven’t gotten on board by year’s end, you stand to lose traffic, customers, and revenue. Find a web developer who understands responsive design and can help you transform your site.