So in last few weeks there was a flurry of activity over the announcement that Google is going to optimize search result for mobile-friendly websites. My friend texted me in a panic. I sent her straight to Google’s mobile-friendly test.

am-i-responsiveI didn’t blurt out, “Haven’t you DONE that yet?” I know how hard it is for people who built their website several years ago, haven’t got round to it, not sure what it actually means etc. Here, for my friend, and for you, I will try to answer some questions simply, to persuade you to GET A RESPONSIVE WEBSITE ALREADY. Really. There are just no more excuses.

Here it is from the horse’s mouth:

“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

So, what exactly IS a responsive website?

Responsive design refers to a technique that enables websites to change their layout and content based on the device being used to view them. The design literally responds to its environment. For example, if your site uses responsive web design, a visitor who opens it on a smartphone or tablet will see a layout that is optimized for that device’s smaller screen.

How do responsive websites work?

Whenever a someone visits your website, their phone, or tablet, or laptop, or desktop transmits a tiny packet of information that reveals its screen size. Responsive websites know (through something called a “media query”) how to use that tiny packet of information to rearrange elements, adjust sizes, and make other changes in how they display menus, design elements, and content. The important thing to remember is that no matter no matter what device your customer is using, they’re still seeing the same website. It’s just rearranged and adjusted to provide the best possible experience of your website, on any device.

Google Prefers Responsive: Responsive sites are more efficient for Google to bot-crawl the site,  index, and organize all the content that is online making it SEO-friendly.

What’s the difference between mobile and responsive design?

Responsive design requires you only have one website that is coded to adapt to all screen sizes, no matter what the device the website’s being displayed on. In contrast, a mobile template is a completely separate entity requiring you to have a second, mobile-only website or subdomain. Mobile templates are also built for each specific site, not per screen size. This can cause some issues.

One Website is Better: Having 1 URL makes it easy for users to interact with the website and having 1 website to maintain is easier than managing multiples sites that are mobile-ready.

The benefits of going responsive

A responsive website looks good no matter whether you’re looking at it on a phone, tablet, or desktop. A good user experience can translate to more visitors, more sales, and a stronger overall web presence. Making your website responsive is a small price to pay for a big return.

  • Increase conversion rates
  • Optimize the user experience
  • Improve SEO
  • Stay competitive

Just take a look at the stats:

US population using internet 87%
US online traffic on mobile 53%
waking hours spent on mobile 16%

Endnotes: Most of the useful stuff in this blog came from Michele Steinmetz. If you’d like to know what we can do to help you solve this issue, set up a free consultation and we’ll talk you off the ledge.

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