So you know that you need to get rid of that dinosaur that you’ve been referring to as your website, but things have changed a lot since you last purchased a website. What has changed/what is responsive? And why should you use responsive? Will my marketing suffer if I don’t choose a responsive web design company? This is the heart of what this post is about and I will briefly cover these questions.
Fixed Width vs. Responsive
For years, people only viewed websites on a computer monitor. Viewing on a computer monitor only meant that a website could be built with what is called fixed width CSS parameters. However, with the inclusion and rapid growth of mobile devices and their popularity, a new era was born and websites were not keeping up. Because phones were loading websites that were designed for computer screens, users were having a “pinch and zoom” experience on mobile devices and it was not a good user experience at all. So, along came responsive design.
Responsive design uses what are called media queries to determine the width of the screen that the website is being viewed on. Once it knows the size it can display the site appropriately, as has been pre-configured by the web developer. As the screen gets wider, the elements on the page realign to best fit the screen width, so the same website will work on mobile, tablet, PC, and even TVs.
Responsive Boosts User Engagement
What are the real benefits of this new technology for websites on mobile. Well, considering that about 50% of all internet usage is now mobile, marketers are able to target an additional 50% more people. That alone is great, but it really comes down to why people are using their phones 50% of the time and the simple answer is “convenience.” In our every increasingly busy lives, we experience many online interactions on the go, sitting in the waiting room, standing in line at the coffee shop, or even in the elevator. Companies that do not use mobile will not benefit from a significant boost in user engagement.
Effects of Responsive Design on SEO
Finally, there is the aspect of how mobile/responsive changes the game for SEO. Google issued this statement: “Starting April 21, 2015, Google Search will be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal” (source). So, according to Google’s own website, companies who do not make their sites mobile-friendly will experience a decreased ranking in their search engine algorithm.
If you believe that your site is user friendly, but you are not sure or you want to see how Google views your sites mobile/responsive parameters, then they do have a tool that allows you to check your site. This tool can be found here: Mobile Friendly Test Tool.
To answer the last question from earlier, yes choosing a responsive web design company is a must for your marketing. Getting a good website that is Google/SEO friendly and user friendly is now imperative. As new devices emerge, the importance of responsive design becomes increasingly important.