If you want your website to remain relevant and show up in a local mobile search, you need a responsive design website. In an effort to improve the user experience for those conducting a mobile search, Google recently released a new algorithm that will impact how websites show up when a smartphone or tablet is used.
More importantly, it will impact which websites show up at the top of the search results and which ones are buried on page three. Websites that stay the same, regardless of the device being used, will more than likely take a backseat to the mobile-friendly variety. Having a responsive design or mobile-friendly website, therefore, is critical for your business.
How can I tell if my website has a responsive design or is mobile friendly?
The best way to answer that question is to have you pull up your website on a computer, smartphone, and tablet. If your website looks the same on all three devices, you have a standard, fixed website. On the other hand if your website looks entirely different on your smartphone, and you were redirected to a mobile site, you have a standard desktop site and a mobile-friendly website. If, however, your website has the same basic design elements but they are displayed differently based on your device, you probably have a responsive design website.
The pros and cons of different types of websites.
A standard fixed website may have an amazing design and a ton of fancy features when it is viewed on the computer, but it is still outdated. The mere fact that your website doesn’t change for a smartphone means that when someone conducts a mobile search, they will have a difficult time navigating through your website or reading the content. Additionally, these sites can take longer to load, meaning that more people will abandon your site, rather than exploring it. There are very few who can get away with not having a mobile site. For example, if you know for certain that none or very little of your website traffic comes through a mobile search, you may be able to delay the switch. Even for this crowd, those numbers will begin to change since half of all searches are now conducted on mobile devices.
A mobile-friendly website is often hosted on a different domain and is a mobile version of your website. They typically are very linear and without any interesting design elements. Instead, they tend to have buttons and symbols along with brief text. Mobile-friendly sites are about function over beauty, but they can get the job done. The reason many people select this type of site is that they can leave their old desktop one in place. However, there are some challenges with SEO since you have to do more work to get each site to rank due to it having a separate URL.
A responsive design website is the best type of website because you can have all of the bells and whistles that you want to be associated with your desktop site, while making it easy to read and navigate on a smartphone or tablet. The way that the site appears will change based on the device that someone is using, but all of the elements will remain. Typically, this is done by stacking text boxes and images on top of each other instead of seeing them side by side. A benefit of a responsive design website is that as new screen sizes are released, the site will be able to adjust accordingly. This type of site improves the overall user experience and your ranking.