Isn’t it frustrating when a website doesn’t function right on a phone or iPad? Visitors are forced to pinch, pull, zoom, and tap their way through a site with unclickable buttons and poorly displayed content to find the answers they need.
When company websites do not function properly across all devices and browsers, customers become confused and irritated, which can result in a missed sale or opportunity for the brand.
To be competitive in today’s digital world, all businesses need responsive website design that attracts visitors and entices them to take the next step toward a purchase.
What Is Responsive Website Design?
As defined by the Nielsen Norman Group, responsive web design is “a web development approach that creates dynamic changes to the appearance of a website, depending on the screen size and orientation of the device being used to view it.”
With a responsive design, the content and media of a company’s website adjust to the dimensions of the device or web browser being used. No matter how customers access the site, it will appear correctly every time.
In years past, web developers would only build websites for laptops and desktop monitors. As society adopted smartphones, developers then added separate mobile versions of websites. This required the use of “m.” in front of a website’s URL. These mobile-specific versions of websites were developed specifically for phones and tablets, but only caused more work for those responsible for managing both iterations of the website.
Today, responsive website design practices allow website designers and developers to create one version of a website that serves the same HTML code to all devices and uses CSS to adapt to the layout of the page depending on the device used.
This approach reduces the development time needed for a website and improves user satisfaction across the board.
Benefits of Responsive Web Design
Aside from eliminating the need for two versions of the same website, responsive website design provides companies and customers with a multitude of benefits.
Customers never walk into a store looking for a negative experience. The same principle applies to visiting a company’s website, especially for the first time.
Customers expect a seamless website experience, regardless of what device they’re using. It’s been reported that it takes users approximately 50 milliseconds to develop an opinion about a website. And 57 percent of internet users will not recommend a company with a poorly designed mobile website experience.
With mobile devices projected to have boasted 63 percent of all Internet use by the end of 2019, a responsive website design ensures that customers have a straightforward, easy-to-navigate encounter with a company’s brand online, regardless of the device they use.
Improved Search Rankings
Google’s search algorithm favors websites designed with mobile users in mind. In addition to site speed and content context, mobile usability is one of the top-ranking factors among the almost 200 criteria used by RankBrain. And, as of 2017, Google’s mobile-first index crawls the mobile version of a website, rather than the desktop version, to determine search rankings.
By prioritizing the mobile experience for users, businesses demonstrate that their website provides a well-thought-out encounter for visitors and Google’s bots alike. This, in turn, leads to visitors staying on a website longer and interacting with more of the site’s content. As a result of responsive design, other improvements leading to better search rankings include:
- Lack of Duplicate Content. By having one website and not a separate mobile site, a brand doesn’t have to worry about duplicate content diminishing search rankings for various keywords and phrases.
- Faster Speed. In general, responsive websites load faster than unresponsive sites due to the coding practices in place.
- Link Building. Rather than having two separate websites and, therefore, link-building strategies, all links will point to the mobile AND desktop websites since they live on the same URL.
Greater Local Exposure
Because 94 percent of people with smartphones search for local information on their phones, having a responsive website design approach will also improve local search rankings for a business.
Using a well-organized website strategy and responsive design, users will be able to quickly find information about local businesses online. Since 61 percent of mobile searchers say they are more likely to contact a local business with a mobile-friendly site, a responsive website must display contact information clearly on all devices and browsers.
A Cost-Effective Investment
Marketers are always looking for sound investments that advance their overall strategy and business goals. Short-term expenditures such as paid ads or TV commercials cannot always guarantee long-term results.
A responsive website design, however, is a critical long-term investment for every aspect of a marketing strategy. Without a responsive website, companies will need to build an entirely new website each time Google updates its search algorithm or industry practices change. Instead, making a change with a responsive website is as easy as updating the code and editing website content accordingly.
This practice essentially future-proofs a company’s website as new devices come to the market. Since responsive website design uses CSS to adjust to the dimensions of the device being used, your website will look perfect on every new device.
With an improved and consistent website experience across devices, users won’t feel the need to hop off and search for another site that meets their needs or provides easy navigation. A responsive website design — combined with relevant website content, high-quality imagery, and a seamless user-flow — is primed for conversions.
In 2021, 53.9 percent of all eCommerce transactions will be generated via a mobile device. Companies will miss out on sales and subscribers because of an unresponsive or outdated website design that doesn’t function properly on a customer’s phone or tablet.
Prioritize Responsive Website Design
Between providing visitors with a seamless website experience and improved search rankings, responsive website design is the new normal. Mobile-specific websites are outdated and cause headaches for business owners and visitors alike.
In the market for a new responsive website design? Search our rankings and find the perfect responsive website design agency today.