Five Reasons Why You Need a Responsive Website Design

| February 8, 2014

responsiveThis blog presents 5 reasons why you need a responsive website design, including expanded reach, SEO benefits, reduced cost, content more readable, etc. At one time, all you needed was to have a single-platform website. Then along came mobile browsing, and the stats available indicated that you needed a mobile (.mobi) site. With the arrival of the iPad and other tablets, responsive website design is the go-to option to have. Responsive website design automatically adapts to the screen shape, size and other parameters of all web-enabled devices, and there are a number of reasons why you need this for your faith-based small business, church or ministry website.

Reason #1: Mobile is Huge – and Getting Bigger Between 2010 and 2012, the share of web traffic coming from mobile devices (smart phones and tablets) grew by 163%, and a mobile data forecast from Cisco predicts that by the end of 2013 there will be more mobile devices on earth than people. Mobile now accounts for 12% of U.S. users’ online content consumption, and the numbers are growing. According to Google trainer, Ty Schlegel, “Google searches on mobile devices are on pace to overtake searches on desktop computers in the next 18 months.” This means that if you want to reach people with your message, your website needs to be available on mobile devices without the typical problems associated with loading and viewing of regular web pages on a small screen. These include:

  • Difficulty reading the text
  • Image display issues, and
  • Eternal scrolling to reach the navigation buttons

Reason #2: Your Content is More Easily Readable If you’ve ever tried to read a non-responsive blog post or web page on your smart phone, you’ll know how difficult it can be. If the page is static, you’re able to view a couple words at a time, and end up scrolling from side to side just to view a line of text. On the old .mobi sites, the text would typically display at what the device felt was a readable size, but you still had to scroll down forever to view it all, and images were often reduced to one or two to resolve loading issues. With responsive website design, however, tapping the screen optimizes the content for the device, and you can “pinch” or “unpinch” a section of the view to zoom in or out. These options make the website eminently more readable than either the computer-based site, or the old mobile site was able to be.

Reason #3: One Site Costs Less than Several Few websites are designed for mobile only, which means you either have to forfeit the mobile traffic, or you need to design two (or more!) different sites. Sure, most web design platforms have offered auto-creation of mobile sites for some time, but they still require a fair bit of work to make them look right. The biggest drawback to having separate sites is remembering (and finding the time) to update both every time you add content to the site. By having a single, responsive website design, you can:

  • Create the site once
  • Perform each update once only, and
  • Don’t need to worry about the growing variety of devices used to access it

Reason #4: There are SEO Benefits You know from one of our former posts that search engine optimization (SEO) is an important outreach strategy, and that it’s critical for driving traffic to your site. Responsive website design helps improve your searchability for a variety of reasons:

  • Search engines like Google want to send users to sites they want to view. Stats show that if the performance of a website on mobile devices frustrates users, 61% will return to search for another site. The engines will take note that there could be a usability problem and stop sending them to that site.
  • Duplication of content, as you know by now, is a big no-no for search. Having one or more mobile sites, as well as your regular site, means either you publish the same content in more than one place, which lowers your ranking, or you change the content for each of the sites – which increases your costs and effort.
  • Mobile ranking – Google has said that it gives sites that are optimized for mobile higher rankings in search.

Reason #5: You Reach More Users See Reason #1 – as mobile usage continues to grow, without a site optimized for the plethora of devices in the market, you simply won’t have the same reach as you would if you have just one that’s optimized and uses a responsive website design. And this doesn’t only apply to a youthful target market, although three-quarters of Americans under the age of 43 use smartphones to access the web. Seniors are joining the ranks of mobile users in droves, with 69% of Americans over the age of 65 years now owning a mobile device, while 53% of them now use the Internet. These stats indicate that regardless of your target audience demographic characteristics, if you want to reach them you must be available on mobile. Technology continues to change. Going forward, responsive website design is an important part of your online strategy.

Category: Marketing

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Email | Website | Terri Melvin is co-owner of the Christian Marketing Institute, a website design, internet marketing and online community learning destination for Christian business professionals.