You have probably heard the words “responsive website” or “responsive design” several times, but may not be completely clear on what it means. That’s about to change.
On a responsive website, the content repositions to fit the screen it is being viewed on. This means that a website will be easily viewed and navigated on any device whether it be a tablet, phone, laptop, desktop, etc.
Why does responsive web design matter?
Mobile use is growing every day. Consumers want to have the world at their fingertips and want that world to be informational, always up-to-date, and fast. They want the websites they visit on a mobile device to be quick loading and easy to use.
Customers are searching for you on their mobile devices and your website needs to be ready for them. Don’t let your website lose traffic and sales because it’s not mobile friendly.
Don’t websites automatically fit the screen?
Unfortunately, all websites do not automatically format to fit the screen. If you don’t have the proper website set up, your text may be hard to read, your buttons may be too small to click, contact info may be difficult to access or read, and users will leave.
How can I tell if a website is responsive?
On your computer, change the size of your window. If the content repositions, your website is responsive.
The image below is a comparison of a website that is not responsive and not mobile friendly (left) and one that is responsive and mobile friendly (right). Websites that are mobile friendly have text that is easy to read, images that load quickly and are easy to see, a navigation that is easy to manipulate, and buttons that are easy to click.
Image Source: Tech Crunch
Does Google care if I have a mobile-friendly website?
Yes. YES. YES!
Google’s algorithm is complex and ever-changing. Mobile is big and Google wants to give searchers the results they are looking for, where they’re looking for them. This means giving searchers results on their phones. Which means these results need to lead to websites that are easily viewed and navigated on phones, ie. mobile-friendly websites.
“Starting April 21, 2015, Google Search will be expanding its 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 Google Search results.”
Still need some convincing?
Is it just Google?
Nope. Take a look at what Bing has to say,
“Mobile-friendly webpages are key to satisfying on-the-go information needs, so it is important to optimize sites for an increasingly mobile user base.” – Bing
Put Your Website to the Test
Is your website easy for customers and potential customers to use on their mobile devices? Find out.
First, test your website’s mobile friendliness from a user’s perspective. Put yourself in the shoes of your customer and try out your website on different devices.
- Is your text easy to read?
- Do your images load quickly?
- Is your navigation easy to see and use?
- Are your buttons and links touch friendly? Can searchers click on them without needing to zoom in?
- Is your contact info easy to find?
- Does your website require horizontal scrolling? (Ideally, it shouldn’t)
If you answered “yes” to the first five questions, and “no” to the last one, then great! You’re in great shape. If any of these questions gave you a suggestion for an improvement you can make, that’s great too. It means you now know how to make your website even better.
Next, test your mobile friendliness from a search engine’s perspective.
Google wants you to succeed. They want you to provide them, and thereby their searchers, with awesome, mobile-friendly web content. So use their tool to test your website.
If your website is not as mobile friendly as you’d like it to be, you may want to look into responsive design.
So is responsive web design right for your business?
Only you know what’s best for you business, but based on the research we’ve done, the information we’ve given you, and today’s trends, we highly recommend it.
Also published on Medium.