As Smart Phone and tablet use rapidly increases, so does the importance of mobile friendly websites. Smart Phones and Tablets have changed not only the approach to the look and functionality of current website design, it has changed the approach to online marketing.
The fact that a responsive website can display very different targeted content on a Smart Phone or Tablet as opposed to the content displayed on a PC or Laptop. This ensures a greater level of sophistication will be applied to content as the user experience is not only targeted to a market sector, it will be profiled to the habits of the device user.
In the past, web designers had only one design layout to consider. Interacting with websites on Smart Phones and Tablets requires a very different approach to website design. Additionally, what we use each device for is changing, in fact many of us utilise more than one device, as each device has core strengths either for business use, out of office use or for rapid access to information. The ever expanding mobile market must be considered in any online marketing strategy, therefore, websites that embrace this technology by enhancing the user experience, are essential to any successful campaign. Responsive websites provide an affordable, single source solution that enables all devices to view the same website without compromising the user experience.
Mobile Search Engine Optimisation
Search Engine Optimisation is essential to any online business marketing strategy (including mobile devices), having a website that is mobile responsive is now advantageous to its rankings within the search engines. Google now penalises websites that are not mobile friendly. In fact many of Google’s recent 500 algorithm changes have been created with mobile use in mind. As mobile sales over take desktop sales, the importance of employing a mobile strategy within your SEO campaign becomes even more apparent in fact essential.
When we talk about websites and content from a design and marketing perspective it is important to consider the user experience. Getting traffic to a responsive website no matter what device the viewer is using, is only part of the equation. Converting that traffic into a purchase or enquiry is essential, therefore, with the limited viewing area and touch screen functionality of mobile devices, it is important to consider the user experience for all devices independently before we commence with the design. Good ‘Conversion Rate Optimisation’ (traffic into orders or enquiries) is essential for all viewing platforms, mobile responsive websites have made this process more difficult, but if designed correctly, more effective!
What is a Responsive Website?
Responsive website design entails coding and designing a website so that the website scales up or down in size as it profiles the content to match the device it is viewed on. This ensures no lateral scrolling is required and that the website is touch screen friendly. The website can then be viewed across a wide range of mobile devices and screen sizes. When designing a responsive website, the web designer must ensure that:
- The website content looks good on all devices.
- Navigation & functionality work on all devices.
- The website can be managed in one CMS area for all devices. This includes text, images, videos, pricing and general functionality of menus, forms and other interactive plugins used on the website.
- The website is designed with mobile Search Engine Optimisation in mind.
- The marketing strategy for each device.
- It is Recommended by Google
Google has nearly 90% share of the UK’s search engine market, therefore, to ignore Google is to commit online suicide. Google states that responsive web design is the recommended mobile configuration, and even goes so far as to refer to responsive web design as the industry best practice.
Additionally, Google prefers responsive web design because content that is available on one website and one domain name (URL) is much easier for users to view, share, interact with, and link to, than content that is available on separate mobile and desktop websites. As Google is now placing greater emphasis on mobile compatibility, the quality and volume of content and user experience as key ranking factors, it is essential to take this into account when businesses update their website.
Searches from Mobile Devices
When businesses target potential customers it is important that they consider the ever increasing number of mobile users. Currently, an average of approximately 20% of websites are viewed on mobile devices and for certain domestic markets this can be over 65% of online visits.
If businesses ignore these figures and fail to utilise mobile responsive website design, they are turning their back a large and expanding group of people. This can only have a long term negative effect on their businesses.