Responsive Website Development: More than just Geek Speak
How many times have you said to a friend, “just Google it,” or used your smartphone to quickly find the answer to one of life’s pressing questions? Whether you’re looking for local businesses, store hours, or need to know how far Earth is from Mars, the mobile web has you covered. But how often do you find yourself frustrated by websites that just aren’t built for access on-the-go? Pinch-to-zoom gets old quickly when you’re trying to read tiny text. Thankfully, there is a solution – responsive website development.
Whether you’re familiar with the term or not, you’ve probably used responsive websites on your tablet or smartphone. In a nutshell, responsive development is the implementation of multiple design layouts for a single website to account for the various screen sizes people use to browse the web. The width of the screen on individual devices determines the actual layout of the design – it “responds” to the user’s screen preference.
In most cases, you’ll see the same same content that you would find on the desktop version of the site, but organized in a format which is easily accessible from any device. As a result, you get a web experience that displays effectively regardless of the device you’re using. When done right, it can be just as easy to navigate the site on your smartphone as it would be on a desktop computer.
Here’s a quick video displaying how responsive design actually works based on the device size:
Why is responsive design so important?
In early 2014, the Internet landscape saw a massive shift when mobile web traffic exceeded desktop traffic. This means that more people are searching online from phones than computers.This shift isn’t a just passing fad – mobile Internet usage continues to climb and shows no sign of slowing down.
In April of 2015, Google (the industry leader with nearly 74% of all website search traffic) began penalizing search rankings for websites that are not mobile friendly. In an attempt to provide users with more relevant content and better search experiences, Google changed its algorithm to automatically display mobile-friendly sites higher in rankings than those sites that are not yet upgraded to a responsive design. This transition impacted many businesses, as they saw their search traffic drop significantly.
Perhaps you’re wondering if this is an issue for your website. You can start by pulling up your website on your phone. If it feels clunky, difficult to navigate, and hard to read, you probably need a responsive website conversion. Also, if you have Google Analytics set up on your site, you can see the breakdown of devices that are accessing your site. Most likely you’re seeing your mobile website traffic grow. (Click here for a step-by-step overview of how to look up this information.)
It doesn’t have to be a complicated process to convert your website a mobile-friendly format. If you need guidance or help getting started with making your website mobile friendly, contact a North Star Marketing team member today to learn more about the process. (You can even contact us from your phone through our responsive website!)