As mobile website traffic only continues to grow, companies can no longer procrastinate about having a responsive website.
Responsive website design has long exited the “early adopter” phase. Internet users now fully expect websites to intelligently respond to whatever device they’re using.
We’ve come quite a long way, haven’t we? Did you ever imagine that you’d have an Internet browser on your TV? Or even stranger, your fridge? (Count me out on that one BTW).
When I first started making websites some 17 years ago, the world was a different place. The term “smartphone” didn’t exist. If your dumb phone had any internet at all, it was so sluggish that you’d rather just wait for desktop access.
When web developers created a website there was really only one main dimension… I vaguely remember targeting 980 pixels. You basically had to ask, “what are the most common monitor dimensions” and then target the lowest common denominator.
But that was yesteryear, today is different.
As I linger on the subject, here are my top 3 reasons why ALL public-facing companies should have a responsive website.
Reason #1 – Your Users Expect a Responsive Website
It’s very tempting to disregard the experience of visitors on your website. After all, you’re not there. You don’t see their problems and frustrations. It’s easy for website issues to be out of sight and out of mind.
But I promise you, not having a responsive design is hurting your brand.
If your users have to pinch and zoom constantly while using your website, how on earth is that helping you? If 90% of the websites that they use look great on their phone, your company will look old school. Don’t encourage your prospects to go somewhere else because you keep putting off this issue.
Reason #2 – Google Rewards Responsive Website Design
Did you know that Google has over 200 considerations when deciding how to rank a website? Is it any wonder that mobile-friendliness is high on that list?
Google has a simple mission with each internet search: give the user the best and most relevant content. But unresponsive content is by nature low quality because the user experience is negative.
More and more, Google seeks to remove the gaming ability of their search platform. Instead of allowing cheap tactics like keyword stuffing and purchasing backlinks, Google wants to rank content higher because it’s truly useful to real, breathing humans.
Bottom line: if you want Google to be happy, make sure you’re prioritizing user experience. A good starting point is to make sure your company website is built responsively.
Reason #3 – Maintenance is Easier
I talk with a lot of marketing directors- especially in seasons when we’re doing a good deal of outreach. One of the common mistakes I see to get around a non-responsive website is to essentially create a second, mobile-specific website. Many times, folks simply install a WordPress plugin to automatically create the separate mobile site.
Unfortunately, this can often create a maintenance headache as you’re now in reality managing two websites.
With a truly responsive web design, there is one website, period. 95% of the time, if the website is built properly, the content simply looks great no matter the device, and there’s zero content replication.
How to Make Your Website Responsive
Unfortunately, in most cases, you can’t retrofit an old website to be responsive; you simply have to start from scratch. The reason for this is straight-forward- we’re talking about the structural system of your website. It’s comparable to wanting your house to have steel framing when it was built with wood framing.
Fortunately, all may not be lost. If you like your current design, it’s possible to rebuild your website while keeping the old design intact. Instead of having to go through an extensive design process, you can instruct your web developer to keep the website as it is, but to rebuild it to be responsive.
At our firm, we do these responsive rebuilds relatively often. Because there’s not much to think through from a responsive design perspective, these types of projects typically go pretty fast.