As of 2018, over half of all search engine queries were mobile. Are these important mobile users seeing the best version of your site? Everyone knows it’s important to design your website for mobile. As a result, some businesses are making the jump to a dedicated mobile website. This might have worked in 2010, but not in 2019. In our world of devices and screens, responsive design is the norm. A dedicated mobile website just isn’t enough to convert your mobile users. That’s why a dedicated mobile site is out, and responsive design is in.
Why mobile sites are out
Before the popularity of the smartphone, businesses could limp by with a desktop-only version of their site. Today, however, businesses have to develop their site for smartphone users—and fast. To understand why mobile sites don’t work, we have to understand the differences between dedicated mobile and responsive design.
Dedicated mobile website
Dedicated mobile sites are specifically designed for mobile phones. These sites have an entirely separate URL from the desktop version of the site. Most developers add “m.” or “mobile” to the URL to distinguish the two sites. A mobile website is usually a subset of what’s available on the full desktop version, typically with limited features and content.
Responsive mobile website design
Responsive design, on the other hand, is a single site designed to render on multiple devices. The site automatically adjusts to fit the user’s screen size. On a responsive site, the different layouts contain the same content. The content is simply rearranged and displayed differently according to screen size. For example, a site might render as a single column for a smartphone but in three columns on a desktop. User needs and devices have changed over time. However, that doesn’t change the fact that responsive design still reigns supreme.
Cons of a dedicated mobile site
Although it may be easier to build a dedicated mobile site, it’s far from the best idea.
Limited content and function
Mobile sites are more limited. To account for varying screen sizes and device capabilities, developers often dumb-down a site. Mobile sites eliminate functionality and even content for the sake of fitting smaller screens. The problem is that users are on multiple devices. They see your site from their smartphone, iPad, and desktop. Don’t give them an inconsistent experience with a dedicated mobile site.
Double the work
A mobile site is on a completely different URL than your full site. That’s double the maintenance for your IT staff.
Search engines don’t like redirects. However, when you set up a dedicated mobile site, that’s exactly what you’re doing. Redirects cause big delays and dramatically increase load time. As a result, both users and search engine crawlers will have a hard time staying on your site. The crazy thing about dedicated mobile websites is that they use components of responsive design. After all, it’s impossible to design a mobile site that will fit all screens. Many mobile sites use responsive design to fit various screen sizes. If you’re already using components of responsive design, why not go further and create a site with better performance?
The advantages of responsive design
Responsive design is the best way to build your mobile website.
Cater to user behavior
Responsive design is tailored to how people use the web. Because buyers switch devices several times before they buy, they see your site in multiple formats. Responsive design ensures users get a consistent experience. Otherwise, you risk losing user trust and a dip in conversions
One and done
Responsive design supports all screen sizes with just one implementation. Don’t build a dedicated mobile site that you’ll have to maintain. Invest in a site that’s designed correctly from the start. No matter what the future brings, your site will easily translate to different screens.
If you want to boost your search engine rankings, responsive is the way to go. A dedicated mobile website uses an entirely different URL. If you redirect users to a new URL, you’re losing the SEO juice from your main site. Responsive design gives users a much better experience. And, as Google has said, user experience matters for your search rankings. Implement responsive design so users can access the content they need, the features they love and enjoy a seamless end to end experience. No matter their device.
Responsive design for your mobile website
Responsive design has so many benefits for both your business and mobile users. Design for how your customers interact with your site. Give your users both content and function with intentional, responsive design. Need a hand with your responsive website design? You’re in the right place! Give Hype Digital a ring to design your conversion-friendly website.