Nowadays, the user’s journey across the internet is a complicated one. People hop between devices accessing the web from smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, TVs, and even smartwatches. To provide the most satisfying user experience, you have to make sure that your website looks equally good on screens of all shapes and sizes. That’s why it is important to have a website with responsive design.
It’s true that the majority of online traffic is coming for mobile but desktop is still a close second, and a responsive design will help you get the best of both worlds. It maintains the integrity of your website content but adapts it to render fittingly according to the specifics of different devices, all the while making it more user-friendly.
But what does responsive design actually mean?
What Is a Responsive Design?
A responsive design makes a single website adjust to any screen size. It obviates the need to build and maintain two different versions of your site and is as simple to use on mobile devices as it is on tablet and desktop.
The responsive website is designed to adjust to the screen it is being viewed on. As a result, it looks incredible on any mobile phone, tablet, and desktop. This way, when using a smartphone or other small-screen device, the user doesn’t have to scroll horizontally to reveal hidden content, or to double-tap or pinch in order to zoom the page. The layouts change to match the screen size and adapt for better viewability as seen in the example.
Responsive vs. Dual-Version Websites
Even though a responsive design is a provenly effective strategy, there are many companies that still have two sites – their primary one, and a mobile version.
However, opting for a dual-version solution means you have to manage and update two separate websites. This will cost you almost double the time and resources and can cause various issues, as well as confusion for both users and search engines.
Here are the top reasons why a responsive website is better than building a mobile version of your existing one:
- Less time-consuming
- You update a single site
- You optimize a single site for search engines
- Saves loading time (loads 10 times faster than a mobile site)
- Works effectively on different devices
- All pages are constantly accessible
Responsive design also makes websites more user-friendly because they are easier for clients to interact with, share, and link to. Having separate desktop and mobile versions makes these processes more complicated, and, as mentioned, can lead to confusion. This can drive visitors away and make them choose competitors with hassle-free and user-friendly websites.
Mobile-First Indexing Advantages
Responsive design instantly makes your website mobile-friendly. As we know, Google’s Mobile-First Indexing has been gradually taking over the web in the past few years and is now becoming the standard. This means that only the content of the mobile version of the website will be crawled by Google and visible in organic search results.
Since responsive websites answer the requirements for the update, no changes are necessary and no shifts in performance should occur. That’s one of the reasons Google recommends using a responsive website, over a stand-alone mobile version.
Another reason is that responsive sites have one URL and a similar HTML, which makes it easier for Google to index, crawl, and organize content.
How Responsive Design Works
To make your website responsive, you have to add some additional code to your existing site. It provides instructions and performance parameters to trigger the changes, and make your layouts fluid. This way the same version of the website is served to users on different devices, only the content is transformed and rearranged for better viewability.
For example, this is how Google’s About page was set up to look when viewed on a desktop and on a smartphone.
If you are building a new website and want to make it responsive, it’s advisable to take the mobile-first approach. This means that you should set up the original layouts to look good on a small screen and once you are finished with the design, you should add the meta viewport tag, CSS media queries, and breakpoints, to scale it up when viewed on a big screen device.
WordPress users should be on the safe side, since there is a good chance that your theme is a responsive one. You can check this by testing your website on different devices or simply by trying Google’s mobile-friendliness test. If you find out your theme is not responsive, you should consider changing it to a more up-to-date one. This will improve the overall user experience on your website and can also help you to improve your ranking in organic search engine results.
Benefits of Responsive Design
Responsive design provides a better mobile experience for users and improves the general UX on pages.
If your site is not responsive you might drive away the 4.32 billion online users who prefer to browse the internet on their smartphones. This way you will lose revenue and stay behind the competition. Not only this but a responsive design is basically becoming one of the requirements for a top ranking in SERPs.
Here are several relevant reasons more to make you make up your mind:
Better User Experience
A responsive design has the power to improve your user experience regardless of whether your website visitors are using a desktop, a smartphone, or a tablet.
Also, as mentioned, if optimized properly, responsive websites load much faster than a standard mobile version. According to an analysis by Google based on multiple page-loading studies, delays can significantly impact the satisfaction of users and can make them leave and never return. The results apply both for familiar and unfamiliar pages. This means that a slow website can cost you not only new customers but existing ones as well.
Optimizing your online property to look better and load faster will make it more welcoming to visitors and provide the best experience. And when people have a positive feeling about your site this makes them more likely to return.
Another good reason to think about user experience is that Core Web Vitals are affecting ranking now. This means that when there are several pages with similar content that answers the user’s search intent, the search engine algorithm will show in results the one that’s faster and better optimized.
As mentioned, opting for a responsive website, rather than a dual-version one, means that you have only one website to maintain and update. This will save you time and finances you can invest in making the single version of your website even better and more efficient.
Simplified SEO Campaigns
SEO is simpler to implement and maintain with a responsive website, as you only have to build and monitor one campaign. If you have a stand-alone mobile site, then you’ll have to arrange two separate campaigns and invest double the efforts.
A responsive website will let you invest more time in keyword and competitor research, and allow you to focus your efforts on improving your ranking.
Flexibility and Future Scalability
Responsive design gives you the easiest and most accessible way to support the latest devices. Screen shapes and sizes change over time and no one knows how they will look in the future. With a responsive website, you do not have to worry about what will come next and redesign your site for every new trendy gadget on the market.
Responsive websites are just like liquid. They can scale up or down to best fit the screens they are viewed on. This means that as devices evolve to have different screen sizes unlike what we have seen before, responsive sites will always be ready to meet the new standards and still provide the best experience.
More Visitors and Sales
Having a top-notch mobile-friendly website and satisfying user experience will keep the visitors coming and give them more reasons to stick around.
Furthermore, the trend of online shopping is consistently growing, and currently, 54% of the worldwide online population make their online shopping through a mobile device. If your website is optimized to meet their needs and provide hassle-free mobile experiences chances are they will make a purchase and come back for more.
A responsive website can not only boost your sales but make your content more sharable and thus bring even more potential customers. People nowadays spend an average of 145 minutes per day on social media platforms, and most of this browsing they do on their phones. If you are maintaining an active social media presence, and we don’t see why you wouldn’t be, this means social networks generate constant activity to your pages from mobile devices. A slow and outdated-looking website can damage your reputation and make all these visitors question your reliability.
Responsive design allows your website content to flow freely across all screen resolutions and sizes, and renders it to look great on all devices. It also makes it unnecessary to maintain different versions of your website for mobile and desktop and saves you time, resources and efforts.
A modern-looking, mobile-friendly, and fast website is a prerequisite to growing your business and attracting new customers. It makes your online presence more solid and shows you as more trustworthy to your customers.
Of course, having a great-looking and well-optimized website is only the beginning. To make it count, you still have to fill it with valuable content and provide top-notch products and services. But a website is the digital face of your business and making it friendly, accessible, and flexible is a basis you shouldn’t go without.