Hewlett Web Design

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Should my Website be Responsive?

Since the iPhone hit the market, more than half of US consumers have purchased a smartphone, and the vast majority use their phones to find businesses when they’re on the go. How does your site look on a smartphone? Responsive Web Design (RWD) is just one way in which my team keeps our clients connected to their customers – wherever they are.

Factors to be considered

Mobile devices have changed the approach used by developers toward website design and user experience. Prior to the rapid growth of phones and tablets with advanced web-browsing capability, web designers had only one basic issue to contend with – keeping the same look and feel of their websites in various desktop computer browsers.

However, interacting with websites on these smaller devices is not the same as doing so on desktop computer displays. Factors such as click versus touch, screen size, pixel resolution, support for Adobe’s Flash technology, optimized markup and many more have become very important while creating websites with Responsive Design techniques.

Recommended By Google

With nearly 70 percent search market share, when Google speaks, search marketers listen. Google states that responsive web design is its recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice.

This is because responsive design sites have one URL and the same HTML, regardless of device, which makes it easier and more efficient for Google to crawl, index, and organize content. Contrast this with a separate mobile site which has a different URL and different HTML than its desktop counterpart, requiring Google to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site.

One Website, Many Devices

One of the most appealing aspects of responsive web design is that a responsive website can provide a great user-experience across many devices and screen sizes. This is an important characteristic, since it is impossible to anticipate all the devices and screen sizes searchers will use to access your site. A site that works well regardless of these variables will provide a better and more consistent user-experience than a separate mobile site that is designed for a specific device and screen size.

Easier to Manage

Having a separate desktop and mobile site requires having separate SEO campaigns. Managing one site and one SEO campaign is far easier than managing two sites and two SEO campaigns. This is a key advantage a responsive website has over a separate mobile site.

That being said, there are benefits to having a mobile-specific SEO strategy, such as optimizing for keywords that are more likely to be searched when someone is on their smartphone. For example, a couple searching  for a restaurant may use the search term "nearby", using the device's GPS locator functions.

So, Why Implement Responsive Web Design?

Providing accessibility and a high-quality user experience to a growing market of mobile users is critically important. In 2012, Google published a study about smartphone users. The results demonstrated:

  • 75% of people prefer a mobile-friendly site
  • 61% will turn to another site if they don’t find what they’re looking for quickly
  • 67% of mobile users say that when they visit a mobile-friendly site, they’re more likely to buy a site’s product or service
  • 48% said that if a site didn’t work well on their smartphones, it made them feel like the company didn’t care about their business

These results demonstrate the necessity of providing users with a high-quality user experience across mobile devices and justify the implementation of RWD.

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