It’s probably no surprise by now that mobile internet usage has been skyrocketing over the last few years. According to a Morgan Stanley report, mobile internet usage matched desktop usage in 2014. Even with this compelling evidence, the vast majority of business websites are still not mobile-friendly. This is not only causing a headache for users, but also a loss in business opportunity.
In this post, we explain why having a responsive website is so critical to your marketing as well as some key considerations to keep in mind when designing a responsive website.
There are two major methods for creating mobile websites: responsive design and mobile templates.
Responsive design requires you only have one website that is coded to adapt to all screen sizes, no matter what the device the website’s being displayed on.
In contrast, a mobile template is a completely separate entity requiring you to have a second, mobile-only website or subdomain. Mobile templates are also built for each specific site, not per screen size. This can cause some issues, as we will discuss below.
Responsive design, a term originally coined in a 2010 A List Apart article by Ethan Marcotte, has been by far the most popular and widely used method for designing a mobile website.
Here are some of the undeniable reasons your website needs to be responsive.
1) Mobile usage is exploding.
Over 20% of Google searches are performed on a mobile device.
In 2012, more than half of local searches were performed on a mobile device.
In the United States, 25% of internet users only access the internet on a mobile device.
61% of people have a better opinion of brands when they offer a good mobile experience.
25.85% of all emails are opened on mobile phones, and 10.16% are opened on tablets.
2) Positive user experience is a must.
If you don’t have a responsive website there’s a 61% chance they will leave immediately and go to another website (most likely a competitor).
If they have a positive experience with your mobile website, a user is 67% more likely to buy a product or use a service.
3) Blogging and social activities bring mobile visitors.
55% of social media consumption happens on a mobile device.
4) Responsive design is preferred for SEO.
In June 2012, at SMX Advanced, Google’s Pierre Farr went on the record to declare that Google prefers responsive web design over mobile templates. Having one single URL makes it easier for Google bot to crawl your site as well as reduces the chance of on-page SEO errors. For these reasons, responsive sites typically perform better and are easier to maintain than a separate, mobile-template site.
5) A speedy responsive website is key.
According to the Google PageSpeed Developers, standards recommends that the content above the fold on a mobile device loads in under 1 second and the entire page loads in under 2 seconds.
Curious about how well your current website is performing on a mobile device? Google Developers has this nifty little tool to check your mobile site’s speed.
6) Responsive adapts to future devices.
One of the big benefits of responsive design is that the size of the template is designed based on screen size, not device. This means that no matter what size screen someone is viewing your website, it will display properly for that screen size.
So, in the future, as new devices (TVs, watches, glasses, etc.) are being used for web browsing, your responsive site will still look beautiful. Moving forward, it will be extremely critical that your website provides mobile users an easy-to-use experience. Having a mobile website is no longer simply a nice feature — rather, it is now a necessity and literally impacts the growth of your business.