With over 20% of web user on mobile devices it’s vital your website is responsive
More people browse the web from their mobile device than ever before. With technology becoming more advanced, it’s no wonder so many people are turning to their smartphone or tablet for their every need. So what happens when your website lands on their device and they can’t see it properly, let alone navigate it? They close it and your site stays as it is; invisible. There’s no hiding that smartphones are growing in size. With such dominating trends, you will want your website to follow suit – and if it means staying on top of your industry – why wouldn’t you?
Not too long ago it was common practice to develop two versions of a website: one for desktop and laptop computers and one for mobile phones. The URLs of the two versions were different. In fact, they were two stand-alone websites, which meant designing two websites to provide mobile users with a good navigating experience.
The importance of Responsive Web Design
Today, there is another solution; one that will make your website look outstanding on all devices, and cost a lot less money. This solution is called Responsive Web Design. This unique design detects the type of device you are using and adapts to it automatically. This means the user will get a seamless experience every time. If your website has responsive web design, you don’t have to worry about odd devices with strange resolutions or new smartphones with various width-height ratio. All elements of your website will take the perfect shape and fit the screen effortlessly.
There are millions of users who access the web from their desktop computers or laptops. Mobiles also make up a significant percentage of these users, which means responsive web design is more important than ever before. Estimations show that 20% of the Google search queries are performed on some sort of mobile device, be it a smartphone or a tablet. Moreover, the younger generations of internet users access the web exclusively from a mobile device. This is huge and is growing every minute. Websites designers have no other option than to comply and deliver these demands. Doing this will make your site as user friendly as possible and ensure it is easy to find and navigate.
Another important reason for switching to this modern way of programming is that Google itself endorses and prefers responsive websites. With the same URL and the same HTML code for all versions of a website, it is much easier for search engines to crawl and index all pages – which mean more chance of your website being seen!
A responsive website can increase your conversion rates. If a mobile user accesses your website but can’t find their way around quickly and efficiently, they will soon get irritated and give up. By controlling where each element gets displayed and making sure they are in the best possible spots at all times, you will increase the stats on your site, and keep your users.
How to code for a responsive website
The secret of responsive web design is media queries. This is lines of code that tell the website to check the display type, size or resolution. It then follows different paths of source code for each of them.
Every great web developer has a strategy. Mine is the ‘mobile-first’ responsive design. The first thing I check is if the device is a mobile. Once that is established I then move to desktops. This is how web developers avoid a huge amount of data loaded onto mobile devices, which might be on expensive data plans. The bigger the data that has to be loaded, the more a user will have to wait until the page loads – this can be extremely frustrating!
The processors of mobile devices are far less powerful than on desktop computers or laptops, therefore the mobile-first strategy can help improve the loading speed on mobiles sufficiently. The resulting code is simple and easier to manage. This may result in smaller maintenance costs for your website. SEO will also be positively affected, since the code will be maintained short and to the point, without lots of instructions that could have been avoided through logical thinking. The more organised your code is, the easier it is for search engine crawlers to realise what your pages are about and rank them accordingly. This is how a responsive website can climb in the SERPs by simply providing a more accessible and readable code to search engine spiders. However, you will also need your content to be SEO friendly, so please see the SEO section of my site.
A website that loads faster and allows search engine crawlers to index it better can stay ahead of competitors who aren’t being smart and following the modern trends in web design. The reduced development and maintenance costs makes it more favourable to switch to a responsive website sooner rather than later, especially in those industries where the core consumers are young people. People who access the web from their mobile device don’t have the patience to wait five or ten seconds for a page to load. Older generations may still remember the dial up times when we all had to wait what seemed an eternity to get online, but fortunately times have changed. Websites that don’t load fast enough will lose the race in favour of their smarter competitors that do. So, don’t take the rowing boat when there’s a speed boat at your disposal!
Be smart and update your site today!