What Exactly Is Responsive Design?
A responsive web design essentially means that the pages of your website get reformatted depending on which device they are being viewed from, in order to provide an optimal user experience. So, if a person is visiting your website from a desktop computer, it will look different than if they were viewing it from a smart phone or tablet.
Here’s another way to think about it. In a very simplistic view, you need two things to create a website: HTML and CSS. Think of HTML as the bricks and CSS as the paint. HTML makes up the foundation and walls of the house, and CSS makes it look great.
So, with responsive design, you can use the same bricks for all types of devices, and simply change the paint based on the size of the browser/device.
Benefits of a Responsive Website
Google Loves Responsive
In June 2012, Google went on record saying that it prefers responsive web design over mobile templates. And since the vast, vast majority of internet searches take place on Google, it’s always a good idea to pay attention what Google recommends.
Better for SEO
A large aspect of SEO is building the authority of a website. A responsive website allows you to focus solely on one single site/domain. Whereas if you have a separate mobile version of your site (m.example.com), you have to build the authority of that site from scratch. Being able to focus SEO efforts on a single domain leads to a nice boost in search engine results.
It makes a lot of sense. As a professional SEO, I firmly believe Google seeks to provide the best results for a person’s question. If someone is searching from a smart phone, Google would logically give preference to a site that is mobile-friendly, providing that person a better user experience.
More and more people search from mobile devices
Google officially stated in 2015 that searches from mobile devices have officially surpassed desktop searches. That number will only continue to increase. With this in mind, it is imperative that businesses design their websites with the mobile user in mind. Not doing so is a recipe for trouble.
Faster page load speed
From an SEO standpoint, the speed at which a web page loads is an important ranking factor. Just as important, it has a big impact on user-experience as well. We’ve all been there. We’ve clicked on a search result, and the page loads at a snail’s pace, so we jump ship and move on to the next website. It’s a lost opportunity. Responsive sites allow for a much quicker page load, leading to improved SEO results and better overall user experience.
Higher conversion rates
It’s one thing to get a person to visit your site. It’s a whole different story getting that person to take the desired action. If you visit a website that is not mobile-friendly, it can be a very frustrating experience. You have to zoom in, scroll, zoom again. You click the wrong link. You get frustrated…and you leave. Or you get overwhelmed right off the bat and leave. Whereas a responsive web design lays everything out in a very strategic, organized way. If the user can easily navigate to where he/she wants to go, it is much more likely they will convert. That just makes good business sense.
Responsive adapts to future devices.
The pace at which technology is evolving is astounding. One of the big benefits of responsive design is that it’s based off of screen size, not device. So, as newer and newer smart phones and tablets enter the market, your website will still look great because it’s based off of screen size, not the type of device. Down the road, as new devices such as TVs, watches, glasses or what-have-you, enter the market…you’ll simply need to add a fresh coat of paint.