Responsive websites have become a transformational element for a business’s online presence in today’s multi-screen society. With the rise in mobile user and increasing focus of search engines rankings on mobile websites, having a responsive website design has become crucial than ever before.
The evolving focus of search engines on mobile-friendly websites and user experience has further added to the need of having responsive website design. This article elaborates the meaning, need and benefits of responsive website design.
Before digging into the advantages associated with responsive website design, it is crucial to understand the concept of responsive design.
Responsive web design refers to the ability of the website to adapt to the size of the screen on which it operates. The website design is configured to automatically reformat its general appearance to suit the user’s device and enhance their site experience. It is important to note that responsive website design is not the same as a mobile-friendly website. A mobile responsive website is only optimised to the screens of mobile devices for better mobile user experience. When displayed on devices with higher resolution like laptops or desktops, the user might face some technical glitches or navigational issues. On the contrary, adaptive web design will have the same appearance on a mobile as on a desktop/laptop.
The evolution of technology over the years has resulted in a stratospheric rise in different computing devices such as desktops, laptops and mobile devices like tablets or smartphones. In 2019, 48% of internet usage was solely dominated by mobile device users (Statista.com). In addition, the introduction of Google’s Mobile Index using the website’s mobile version to rank in search result pages have made multi-platform optimisation vital than ever before. In the wake of such high usage of wide-ranging devices with varying sizes of the screen across the globe, having a responsive website design has become an absolute necessity.
Easy Maintenance and Effective Cost Management
Handling different versions of the same website take more time and money on account of regular updates. Different version creates confusion for SEO’s in terms of relevancy of content as both the websites contain the same content but possess different URL’s. This results in the lower-ranking of both websites.
Avoiding the content duplication requires separate SEO strategies and campaign for both the versions. Since it becomes too expensive, most businesses resort to updating the desktop site and using a canonical tag on their mobile sites. The canonical tag communicates the search engine that the mobile site is the master copy of the leading web page avoiding duplication penalty but lowers the ranking of the mobile website.
A responsive web design eradicates the need for having multiple versions of a website for different platforms. This means one needs to handle a single website, which significantly brings down the time and costs put in creating a website for your business and running it. It saves a company from having two different SEO strategies and allows it to direct their resources on other important areas like researching, content development, marketing, A/B testing etc.
Enhanced User Experience
The aesthetics and usability of a website have a crucial impact on users experience. Unresponsive websites put the website designing efforts in vain by distorting the appearance of websites on devices for which they are not optimised. For instance, a mobile website will display haphazardly on a desktop while the desktop optimised website will have issues on mobile devices. The issues can be navigational like the user has to scroll endlessly through the pages to get the information they seek or visual like jumbled texts and unaligned images. Such chaotic experience tends to drive the consumer away, increasing the bounce rate.
A responsive webpage design optimises the website for seamless user experience on any device they chose to use, which creates a positive brand perception. When customers experience easy access on all platforms, they are likely to stay and even return for more business in the future. In addition, such websites are likely to load faster and ease social sharing due to a single link. Thus, a responsive website can increase conversion rates by crafting a bespoke user experience.
SEO Ranking Gains
The incoming of Google’s Mobile Index using the website’s mobile version to rank in research results has made mobile responsive websites vital than ever before. In the past, Google used to rank websites based on its desktop version. After recognising the issues faced by mobile users, Google came with Mobile-First Indexing to primarily crawl, index and rank websites. This has made website responsiveness a boosting factor for your search engine rankings.
Since responsive websites eliminate the need for maintaining the different website for desktops and mobile devices, Google can better crawl, index and organise content from single URL. In addition, it reduces the bounce rate by enhancing the user experience and increases the audience through social share plugins. Responsive sites are likely to increase the click-through-rate by 21-24% as compared to any other versions (Ashok Sharma, Dzone.com). All these factors together aid in uplifting the SEO rankings of a website. Check out the article on common SEO mistakes to avoid to increase your SEO rankings.
In essence, responsive websites help in optimisation of content and pages display across different screen sizes and resolutions. It will allow your business to save time and money in website design and development. In addition, adaptable website design will enhance the SEO rankings by curating a seamless user experience by adjusting the webpage to a device’s screen size and resolution. Thus, responsive website designs have become a need of the hour and have the potential to bring great business profits through saved costs and increased web traffic ad rankings.