If you’re not doing what you can to reach out to mobile users, you’re handing your competition all kinds of business. As highlighted in a recent post on the Google Mobile blog, it’s more important than ever to create mobile-friendly websites. Apps and mobile themes for websites are popular solutions, but they generally miss the mark in terms of keeping visitors happy. Learn more about the importance of creating mobile-friendly websites and how responsive web design can help below.
Survey Shows that Users Give High Marks to Mobile-Friendly Sites
The Google blog post that’s mentioned above revolves a survey that was conducted on behalf of Google by Sterling Research and SmithGeiger. The survey asked approximately 1,000 smartphone users about their mobile browsing habits. The results are nothing short of striking, and the consensus couldn’t be clearer: Mobile Internet users expect to be greeted with mobile-friendly websites. When they encounter sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices, they take their business elsewhere.
Lessons Learned from the Survey
The Google survey is full of eye-opening information. A few key highlights include:
- 74 percent of those surveyed said they are more likely to return to sites that are optimized for mobile devices.
- 96 percent of respondents said they have encountered sites that clearly aren’t designed for mobile devices.
- 36 percent of those who encountered non-mobile-friendly sites said they feel they wasted their time by visiting them.
- 50 percent said they were less likely to give their business to companies that don’t have mobile-friendly sites, even if they already like those businesses.
- Approximately half of those who responded said companies that don’t have mobile-friendly sites don’t care about their businesses.
- 52 percent of those who responded said they were less likely to engage with companies that don’t have mobile-friendly websites.
- Two-thirds of respondents said they were more likely to make purchases from mobile-friendly sites.
- 61 percent of the people who were surveyed said they click away if they don’t see what they need on a mobile site immediately.
Are Mobile Themes Viable Solutions?
In an effort to provide mobile-friendly websites in the quickest and most cost-effective way possible, some companies turn to mobile-themed websites. Based on what the Google blog post shows, however, this is hardly a worthwhile solution. Mobile themes are woefully generic. Upon arriving on a mobile-themed site, visitors have a hard time determining what it’s all about. If they can’t figure it out right away, they’re unlikely to stick around. Such sites rarely convey a company’s brand in a meaningful way, so they fall flat in terms of providing information about a business.
The Limitations of Mobile Sites and Subdomains
For a while, the only way to keep computer users and mobile users happy was to create separate versions of the same site. In other words, you had to create one version for computers and another version for mobile devices. Separate subdomains were needed as well. This isn’t an optimal solution either, and it’s largely why responsive web design was developed in the first place.
One of the main drawbacks of having a mobile version of a website is that it requires twice the administrative overhead. There are essentially two sites to keep up and running, so the workload is doubled. Mobile versions of websites are usually lost in the shuffle, so they are typically out of date and rarely contain a whole lot of useful information.
Responsive Web Design: An Optimal Solution
Don’t waste your time by creating a mobile version of your website. Try responsive web design instead. With responsive web design, the same HTML and URLs are used across all platforms and devices. CSS is used to change the way in which a site is rendered from one device to the next. Flexible layouts, grids and images allow a single site to look great on any device. With the intelligent use of CSS, responsive web design automatically responds to users’ preferences and accommodates all devices with ease.
The Top Benefits of Responsive Web Design
If you’re not sold on the benefits of responsive web design, consider these benefits:
- Easier Sharing – Have you ever tried sharing a link from a mobile site on a regular computer? It usually doesn’t translate very well. With responsive design, the same URL renders perfectly on any device, which makes it easier to share links.
- More Appealing Designs – Trying to open the mobile version of a site on a computer, or vice-versa, is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole; it just doesn’t look right. With responsive web design, one set of code produces a gorgeous site on any device.
- Fewer Pages Mean Stronger Rankings – If a mobile version of a website is used, traffic is divvied up between several more subdomains and URLs. As a result, it’s more difficult for a page to develop a strong ranking on the major search engines. Responsive web design eliminates this issue and makes it easier to climb up the search engine rankings.
- Apps aren’t Indexed – It’s fine to use an app to promote your business, but you should use responsive web design to create a mobile-friendly site too. After all, apps aren’t indexed by the major search engines.
Exceptional Examples of Responsive Web Design in Action
As responsive web design becomes more popular, it’s easier to find than ever. Some sites do it better than others. Three top examples include:
- The Boston Globe – Try opening this site on your smartphone, and then open it on your computer. It looks just as incredible across all devices, so it epitomizes what responsive web design is all about.
- Grey Goose Vodka – This site exemplifies the way in which typography, photography and navigation can translate well across several devices through responsive web design.
- HeathLife – This site for a popular park in London renders just as beautifully on a large computer monitor as it does on a smartphone or tablet.
If we are to learn anything from the preceding information, it’s this: The only way to appeal to as many visitors as possible is by having a mobile-friendly site, and the easiest and most effective way to do that is by using responsive web design.