Responsive Web Design or Separate Mobile Site Design?
Which ever way you look at it, there is no getting away from not having a website which is adaptable to a mobile device. People using their mobile phone to access the internet is soaring and is due to take over website viewing on desktops by 2014.
So, what does this mean for your business? If you don’t have a site that is easily viewed on a mobile device such as tablets and smartphones then you will have a disadvantage compared to your competitors who have a site which has been developed for such devices.
From a user experience point of view, (ie your potential customer viewing your site), on a mobile phone which is not designed to be viewed on that particular device the chances are they will have a frustrating experience and leave your site immediately to carry on searching for a site they have a better experince.
Should I have a mobile version of my site?
A mobile version of your site is a separate site created for a mobile device which redirects your users to this version of your site because it recoginises that your user is using that particular device. The thing to take note here is that this is another site altogether which means when you update your main site your mobile site would have to be updated separately. This is already a downfall of having a mobile version of your site. The other disadvantage is that you could potentially be hit by a penalty for duplicate content. As your mobile site will be on a separate URL ie www.mysite.com and www.m.mysite.com or www.mysite.mobi this can be seen as a different site with the same content which Google doesn’t really like and will penalise your sites by pushing them further down on search results. This is definitley something we can all do without.
So isn’t that the same as a responsive web design?
No. A Responsive website is designed all in one. For example, if you are reading this blog on a desktop PC, minimise your browser and change the size by expanding and decreasing. You will notice the site adapt to the size of the screen which is what happens when viewed on any device. The URL you will also notice remains the same so is NOT redirected to another mobile version of your site.
As you can already imagine the benefits are huge. Your customers have a better experience because the site adapts to the device your site is viewed on therefore less of a bounce rate. You spend less time and money updating your site when needed because you are only updating one site. Google likes you because you avoid the danger of duplicate content and more and more sites are opting for responsive web design which means your site will remain up to date with web design trends as well as trends in user experience.
The latter point is probably the most important as that’s who our focus as a business owner should be on. No matter what your business is, be it charity, e-commerce, trade, professional, restaurant or anything else for that matter, your website is your sales person online providing a first point customer service experience. In order to provide a first class customer experience on mobile devices you will need either a separate mobile site or a responsive website. A clear winner out of these two options is a Responsive Web Design. Get in touch with Leicester Web Designers for more information on Responsive Web Design