Article Published: April 23, 2014
Article Published: April 23, 2014
By Matt Loht, Partner / Owner, Matthew James Creative
For the first time in the United States, mobile internet traffic surpassed desktop usage in January of this year, and it’s easy to see why. Everywhere you look, someone is on their smartphone or tablet. The devices range in so many sizes and resolutions they are almost impossible to list. The old classic model of building a “main” website for desktop computers then supplementing it with separate mobile solutions such as an edited down mobile site version or app of your site is a strategy of the past. While this was effective on some levels, it required additional development resources and costs. The content also needed to be maintained on several platforms, which only made things more complex and expensive. Plus, it’s frustrating for users who want and expect simple access to the full site and its content, without constantly pinching and scrolling.
Don’t get me wrong, some companies need separate solutions such as apps, which do provide a faster, more robust architecture that is ideal for specialty content and solutions. Consider an airline flight itinerary planner, or a major news outlet story browser and reader with integrated media players. But for 95% of the of websites out there these solutions are an unnecessary expense.
The best solution for companies who want to receive the highest, longest lasting ROI on their new website, is to design and program a web solution for all devices. Specifically, think about mobile users first and what content is most important, then make it responsive for tablet and desktop computers alike. A responsive design is a single web property having the ability to dynamically change its size and layout based on the device being used (regardless of hardware or software platform). No matter what device the end customer is using, a responsive design insures the site is optimized and will provide the best experience.
Since a responsive website caters to and is optimized for the specific device a visitor is using, the overall experience with your company is improved and the user is more likely to stay on your site, follow your sales funnel and less likely to leave and end up on your competitor’s website.
More often then not, if a visitor lands on your site on a mobile device and the site is not mobile optimized, they will end up having to pinch to zoom or scroll around to find what they need and they will just get frustrated and move on to something else (i.e. “bounce”). By having a responsive design, the site will adapt to whatever device visitors are using, providing a better experience. In turn, they’ll likely click around and visit more pages, decreasing your bounce rate in the process.
Search engines don’t favor responsive sites over any of the other accepted approaches to smartphone optimized sites in search results. They do however demote non-mobile friendly smartphone sites from ranking well on mobile devices. Having a responsive site will help you rank above your competitors that still have an old, outdated, non-mobile optimized site.
A responsive design allows for an optimal viewing experience with consistent branding on any device. Complete, consistent website content on every device is easy to view and navigate for increased visibility and sales.
Having a responsive design provides a single website that is fully compatible and easy-to-navigate for your visitors, as opposed to multiple sites or apps for different devices. That means your upfront development costs could literally be cut in half. The same goes for your maintenance costs. Even though it might be a significant investment up front to redesign your site(s), you’ll be saving money in the long run.
A responsive design allows you to gain a competitive advantage over your competition. Prospective customers who are visiting your competitors’ antiquated sites will get frustrated and you will be there to convert them into your own customers simply because you are providing rich content in an easily viewable manner.
Today, it is essential that websites are engineered to be viewed across multiple devices. Prospective customer behavior is changing to a nearly exclusive mobile platform. You can have the best products in the world, but if visitors get frustrated trying to view and read about them on an antiquated site, they will bounce and possibly end up on a competitor’s site. When you optimize your website with a responsive design you are saving time, reducing development costs, increasing visibility and opportunities for sales.
Matt Loht is an internet strategist, Partner and Co-Owner of Matthew James Creative, a hybrid, full-service advertising agency and web development company located in Pittsburgh, PA. Matt leads MJC’s interactive, web-based solutions and custom SEO & SEM strategy teams with 12 years of internet experience. MJC produces innovative web-based solutions with pioneering database functionality and tactical search visibility for industrial, manufacturing and medical brands. Matt can be reached at 412-508-8086, firstname.lastname@example.org or via www.matthewjamescreative.com.