You may be familiar with the phrase ‘responsive’ in relation to websites. This is the term used to denote a site which adapts its layout and content to the viewers’ platform i.e. mobile, tablet, desktop or laptop. Sites like this have been around for quite some time and if you’ve launched a website in the last 12 – 18 months it should certainly tick the responsive box.
So why is it important to have a responsive site?
Firstly – usability. By offering your customers a more engaging mobile experience you’ll keep them interested for longer and they’ll find it easier to navigate through your site – no squinting to read small text or pinching and pulling the screen to constantly zoom in or out. I’m a sufferer of banana finger syndrome (a terrible condition) and find it impossible to click on the small links prevalent on non-responsive sites – always guaranteed to make the blood boil!
Here’s a fast fact; in January 2014 37% of UK web traffic was from mobile devices*, a figure that’s rapidly on the increase. In fact the Bramham Horse Trials website (designed by Thrive) sees a whopping 62% of traffic coming from mobile at peak event season.
Secondly (and of equal importance) – visibility. Search Engines, in particular Google, will penalise sites that aren’t responsive. In case you’re wondering, a separate site designed specifically for mobile won’t help, it will hinder because of the duplicate content. After all why have two websites? Just have one that does the job properly! Google will in turn reward you for having a responsive site – it’s recognised as an investment which will enhance the users’ experience.
Unsure if your website is responsive?
The obvious thing to do is access it from a tablet or mobile – remember, you should see the visual elements of the site re-position themselves for improved usability. If you’re still not sure, ask your digital agency to confirm your site is responsive. Still not sure (or convinced!)? Use Google’s handy webmaster tool to check your site – https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/
What to do if your website isn’t responsive.
Don’t panic! Whilst it’s pretty darn important the sky won’t fall in. Talk to your current agency and discuss the feasibility of turning your site into a responsive one. Remember – any site developed in the last 12 – 18 months should be, and if it isn’t you’ve probably got some questions to ask and some good room for negotiation.
It’s worth noting that the design of your site may mean it’s difficult to work with responsively – see if it’s possible within the constraints of the current framework. If this isn’t looking likely you should consider adding a website overhaul to your marketing plan.
I hope that’s a useful insight into why a responsive website is so important. Naturally, the team at Thrive would be delighted to impart further advice or help scope out a responsive website solution to fit with your digital marketing strategy – which of course we can help with too!