How many times a day do you pull out your cell phone to complete a Google search? Chances are, if you’re anything like me, you probably average 3-5 searches on your phone per day. Statistically, we use our phones now more than ever. When was the last time you opened your laptop or sat down at a desktop computer to complete a search query? Let’s make that question a little more difficult: When was the last time you used a desktop or laptop computer to perform a search on Google outside of work?
Do you remember what mobile web-surfing looked like when smartphones first started to gain popularity?
You would have to pinch the screen to change the size, scroll from left and right to read all the text, and your patience would wear thin. Back then, it was easier to walk into the office or family room and just use the desktop or pull out a laptop to do internet browsing. Man, have times changed?!
So how did we fix it?
Web designers and other professionals began working on a solution for mobile browsing. The first step to making websites easier to view on mobile devices was the “mobile-friendly” phenomenon. These changes allowed a consistent website experience across all devices because developers would create two separate websites: one for desktop & one for mobile. The mobile website would trigger on mobile phones and tablets on a subdomain (i.e. mobile.momentum3growth.com). The websites didn’t have special features or incredible functionality, but they were easier to use on smaller screens.
People actually still choose to purchase mobile-friendly sites, but the percentage is small. A few reasons you might consider a mobile-friendly site are:
- Your mobile audience is small
- Your site is simple and mostly text & image based
- Your images are small so they don’t have long load times
We are still in this phase now. Technology evolved since “mobile-friendly” was hot and we now have what is called: Responsive Design. At the beginning of the Smartphone Takeover, there were only a small handful of mobile device options, but just a few years into the new way of living, the industry exploded. The requirements for a website to work appropriately for an iPhone was significantly different than that of a Samsung Galaxy or even a Motorola model. There are at least 10 different screen sizes to consider between cell phones and tablets.
Responsive websites allow the page to respond or change automatically to fit the needs of the users and the device that they are viewing it on. For example, a website may appear on a desktop using a 3-column layout, but when you open it on your Samsung Note9, you’ll see the website displaying a single column display.
A simple way of determining if your website is responsive is adjusting the size of your browser on your desktop—if the website adjusts to fit the new screen size, then the page is responsive.
Does Responsive Website Design Have an Effect on SEO?
The answer to this question changed recently. In 2018, Google changed its ranking algorithm to look at a website’s mobile version first. If sites are not optimized for mobile (either mobile-friendly or responsive—responsive being the best option), they would lose their high-ranking position.
Luckily, Google gave web design agencies and SEO experts plenty of a heads-up that this change was in the works. Google isn’t usually too forthcoming about their changes and expectations for Search Engine Ranking, but this time they were and we are all very thankful. SEO experts had time to work with their web development teams to make sure their mobile site was fully optimized and functioning in such a way that the Google Robots would be pleased.
Your website is designed to take visitors on a digital journey. Visitors expect their journey to be seamless and frictionless as possible. The easier time they have on your website, the more likely they are to convert to your product/service.
Since the news of Mobilegeddon (the funny nickname for the Mobile-First change) released, there has been a widespread panic in the SEO community and the business world for owners with non-responsive or mobile-friendly websites. It was time to make a change and it was important to do it quickly. The problem is, several business owners with websites weren’t aware (and maybe still aren’t aware) of SEO tactics or the need to update their website to a mobile-friendly design which may have resulted in a decrease in internet leads because of placement in the SERPs.
So What Now?
If you were one of the unlucky business owners who wasn’t working with an awesome agency like Momentum3 Growth, then don’t worry. There is still time to save your website and reach all of your goals.
Here’s the thing, your website will offer more to a larger audience if it’s responsive. Having a responsive website will remove the questions regarding how mobile users are able to interact with your website and remove the guesswork about what devices your viewers use the most.
The truth is…even if your website is mobile-friendly like we described from Phase One, you can still benefit from a website face-lift.
Are you still questioning whether you should upgrade your website to responsive design? Here are 4 reasons we think you should choose responsive:
- Increased Traffic from Mobile Users:Once upon a time… back during Phase one, web developers would create two versions of the same website. One for mobile and one for desktop. With responsive design, there is no need for multiple versions allowing you to retain your mobile viewers no matter what.
- Lower Maintenance Costs:Back when Phase One was the world we lived in, you would have to pay for maintenance on multiple versions of your website. With responsive design, you only have to maintenance one version and it applies to multiple devices and platforms.
- A Seamless User Experience: Unresponsive websites distort the way your webpage is designed when viewed on smaller than average screens. Text and images will be jumbled and misaligned. If a user had to experience such a struggle when they go to your site, do you think they would come back? Probably not. With a responsive website, you don’t have to worry about the quality your users will receive when they land on your page. The benefits you will accrue in the long run will be worth the extra time it takes at the beginning of the design process.
- A Responsive Website Improves Your SEO Efforts: Like we discussed before, Google gives extra credit to a mobile-first design. The Almighty Google thinks a responsive website is superior to one that is only mobile-friendly. We should listen to Google… They drive 96% of mobile traffic so if they want responsive design—you should give them responsive design.
Momentum3 Growth is looking forward to working with you to design the perfect website for your business. We believe in responsive design, collaborative SEO efforts, and seamless user experience. If you are looking to remodel your existing website or create something brand new, review some of our work and request a quote today!