Responsive design is the new standard when it comes to mobile-friendly websites, and with good reason. It's good for the visitor, it's good for search engines, it's good for the site owner--in other words, it's good for everyone.
Before we look at why, let's take a step back and learn a little about responsive design.
According to Wikipedia:
Responsive web design is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices.
So what does that mean?
Responsive design is basically a method for building a site with built-in code that:
- Detects what screen size a visitor is using to view a site; and
- Resizes and re- formats the site to fit that screen size.
You've probably seen responsive websites as you've browsed the Internet in your everyday life, though it's seamless to visitors. If you see a site on a mobile phone or tablet where you don't have to scroll left to right to see the full width of the site, it's probably responsive.
In fact, the site you are viewing right now (SVM's site) is responsive. If you are reading this on your desktop, take a second and look at it on your phone. What differences do you see? That's responsive.
Since 2013, SVM's standard for building sites is to build them responsively. Together with our development team, we've made a custom Drupal platform/framework that's responsive out of the box. It helps us create beautiful responsive sites that follow consistent best practices, at no added cost to our clients.
Now let's take a look at why responsive is important.
SVM footed the bill for the development of our responsive platform. We made the investment for four key reasons. If your site isn't responsive yet, these are the same reasons why now is the time for you to invest in your mobile strategy.
- Mobile Traffic is increasing. Some may think that b2b sites don't need to worry as much about their mobile strategy as b2c sites. While it is true that b2c sites often have a higher percentage of mobile traffic than b2b sites, the ratio of mobile to desktop traffic for all sites is increasing. We monitored it for our clients prior to building our platform, and in many cases, we were seeing upwards of 20% increases in mobile traffic year on year. This is only going to increase as time goes on. Do you have a tablet? Do you have a smartphone? Your customers do, too. Make sure your site is ready.
- Better SEO. Mobile sites can create SEO issues if you aren't careful. The biggest benefit here is that with responsive design, you only need to have one version of your site live at all times. This contrasts with earlier mobile site models, where a desktop version would detect that a user was coming from a mobile device, and redirect them to a separate subdomain or subfolder where mobile-optimized content was located. If handled correctly, this setup can be SEO friendly too, but there is a greater risk for duplicate content, thin/shoddy content, crawl problems, etc. The one-site responsive model is better for SEO. Even Matt Cutts says so.
- Better user experience. One surefire way to achieve a good visitor experience is consistency. If you pair consistency with good content and design, you're golden. As mentioned in (2), responsive design allows you to have one version of your site instead of two. If properly planned and executed, every visitor to your site regardless of device will have a consistent, optimized experience, and they'll be able to see all your content without pesky left/right scrolling. Plus, you'll only have to worry about keeping one version of your site optimized with good content. Trust me, your customers (and your team) will appreciate it. You'll be rewarded with higher mobile conversion rates.
- Be better than your competitors. If you create a good experience for your site visitors, they'll notice. If your competition isn't on board with responsive design, it will create a competitive differentiation. While responsive is definitely the new standard in mobile sites and strategy, it isn't yet widely adopted--especially in b2b. Make the switch now, and you'll be ahead of the curve.
Have you seen any particularly good responsive sites lately? How has your experience played into your own site's mobile strategy? I've love to know!
Thanks for reading!