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In years past, modern design dictated creating an entirely separate web portal for mobile users. This would mean your company or brand would have two versions of your website, one for desktop users and the other for mobile.
This also meant you’d need to maintain two separate websites. Whatever you update for the desktop version, you’d also have to update on the mobile version. Not only is this tedious, but it can leave a gap between the mobile and desktop experience.
There is another way — and it’s better and more efficient. It’s called responsive design.
What Is Responsive Design?
With responsive design, the website layout will adapt based on the display size and resolution of the device users are browsing on. Essentially, this means you can provide the same experience to both mobile and desktop users.
All the content on the page, including images, text and various elements are the same no matter what device you’re browsing on. Everything will automatically shrink — or stretch — to match the device resolution.
Responsive design is fairly easy to implement, too, and since you don’t have to maintain several versions, it is cost-effective.
But going responsive used to be a choice. That is no longer the case. In fact, if you don’t implement a responsive design there are several consequences you may face.
Search Rankings Will Suffer
In April 2015, Google introduced a major update that ranks websites based on their mobile-friendliness and responsiveness. Therefore, sites that do not use a responsive design will drop lower in search result listings. As we all know, lower search rankings can lead to less traffic and less exposure for your brand.
The only update that affected search results more was the so-called Panda update in 2011, which altered the ratings for 12% of all websites. But, the recent change is just as important.
Responsive websites also tend to load faster, which means they usually have better performance than traditional sites. This is important because 74% of consumers will only wait for five seconds for a web page to load before they get frustrated and leave. In addition, 71% of users expect mobile web pages to load just as fast — if not faster — than websites on their desktop computers.
You can see it’s not just Google that cares about optimal performance and design. It’s your audience as well.
Brand Reputation and Trust Will Falter
Customers expect you to cater to their needs as much as possible. While it would be easy to dismiss this as narcissism or entitlement, it’s been this way for decades. To truly wow your customers, you need to go the extra mile for them.
But “going the extra mile” doesn’t necessarily mean in a physical sense. This can be done with something as simple as delivering a responsive website for your mobile browsers.
Did you know that 80% of all Internet users own a smartphone and use them to browse? So, it’s not a small or niche portion of the market you’re catering to when you consider mobile responsiveness. It is, for all intents and purposes, your entire audience.
Customers that have a poor experience on a brand’s site lose trust and interest in said brand. We’ve seen it countless times before, and it is why companies invest so much time perfecting their online presence. This includes an experience on both a mobile and desktop version of a site.
Don’t ruin your company’s reputation, and don’t lose the trust of your customers.
One Site Can Increase Your ROI
It’s obviously more efficient to manage a single site as opposed to multiple versions, and the reasons for this are straightforward. But what you may not know, is that compacting your site into one, responsive version can boost your ROI.
The most obvious reason is that managing a single portal is more cost effective. But it also means that mobile and desktop users will receive the same experience. They will be shopping on the same online storefront as well as browsing the same wares and market goods. They will have access to the same tools, discounts and promotions.
With a responsive design, there’s nothing different — aside from the layout which doesn’t change, but merely adapts to the screen size.
Mobile Shopping Is Growing
It’s not just mobile use in general that’s growing. More people are now using their smartphones and mobile devices to shop. In fact, 80% of consumers regularly use their phones to shop online, while 70% of shoppers use their mobile phones when visiting a brick-and-mortar store during the holidays.
In other words, it’s not just about delivering an optimal experience to mobile users. That’s important, yes. But it’s more about offering the full experience. Customers should be able to do the same things on the mobile version of your site as they can on a desktop version, including purchasing goods or services.
A responsive design will allow for this multi-platform experience, without requiring additional resources on your part.
Customers Like Responsive Sites Better
During a CareerBuilder study, it was discovered that click-through-rates increased by 21 to 24% for a responsive site. This ties in with the idea of boosting your ROI, too. Happier customers and increased engagement translates to higher traffic and more business for you.
Mobile users prefer responsive design namely because it offers a similar experience they’re used to getting on the desktop version of a site. Going responsive not only helps your customers but it ensures your business’s survival on the web.