Responsive web design is trending these days as new companies embrace all that this trend has to offer and older companies jump on the bandwagon and redesign existing sites in the hopes of keeping and/or increasing their customer base. However, it is never a good idea to rush headlong into a change you don't fully understand. Following is a basic explanation of what responsive web design is followed by the main pros and cons of using it.
What is Responsive Web Design?
As the name implies, a responsive website design is a design that can adapt its shape to any screen size. This ensures the website will look good not only on a computer but also a tablet and smartphone.
What are the Pros?
The most obvious advantage of a responsive website design is that it allows mobile web users to view a website with ease. This is extremely important as recent estimates show that a whopping 93% of all internet users get online using either a mobile phone or tablet. What is more, the overwhelming majority of these individuals note that they expect a seamless experience and brand consistency. Businesses can no longer get away with focusing primarily on a website that is only set up for laptop use and then create a different mobile phone website for mobile internet users.
Another reason why it's a very good idea to have a responsive website design is that Google is now using mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. Put in simple terms, a website that does not look good on a mobile device will not earn a good rank on Google's search engine.
What is more, creating a website with a responsive design is neither difficult nor expensive. Entrepreneurs who don't have a lot of money to invest in website design will find that hosting companies such as Weebly and WordPress offer free responsive templates to its users. Companies that opt to pay for a unique responsive design will find that doing so is cheaper than designing a separate website for mobile use.
What are the Cons?
Given the above explanation, it would seem like responsive website design is the very best option for all business websites. However, there are some important disadvantages that a business owner will want to consider:
- A responsive website design doesn't display well on computer using Internet Explorer 8 or an earlier version. This could pose a serious problem for companies whose target audience tends to use older IE versions.
- It takes a little longer to load a responsive website than it does to load a non-responsive one. Those who design a separate mobile site can create one with smaller image files and less content than the regular website in order to attract users who don't want to wait longer than a few seconds for a site to finish loading. A responsive website design, on the other hand, simply scales files for easy viewing without resizing them.
Responsive Web Design is not the Magic Bullet
Responsive website design has a lot to offer but it's important to bear in mind that it's not the only key to reaching mobile customers. One common yet potentially deadly mistake that many business owners make is to put a priority on displaying the information they want mobile customers to see on a responsive website instead of asking themselves what information a mobile internet user would be interested in viewing.
It is important to realize that mobile internet users often have different intentions when viewing a website than those who view the same website at home. Mobile internet users are often looking for a business that is close to them or checking online product prices at a store in order to find the best possible deal. They may also be looking for product reviews while shopping to see if a particular item is a good buy.
Most companies will find that creating a responsive website design is the fastest, most efficient way to reach customers of all ages and walks of life. It is also the simplest way to comply with Google's new algorithm changes and thus ensure that your site earns or retains a good Google placement.
At the same time, it is unwise to simply settle for a responsive design if a large portion of your target audience is mobile internet users. Look at your website statistics and talk to your clients and employees to see how you can give mobile internet users what they need and are looking for.
You may also want to get professional help to create a winning website design that will showcase your business in the best possible light. At Brandgy, we offer a variety of website design services that can help you reach potential and existing customers effectively and in a cost-efficient manner. Get in touch with us at your convenience to find out how we can help you create, redesign and/or manage a successful business website.