If you’re a business owner or a developer working for a startup, chances are you’ve put a lot of thought and effort into your company’s website. You’ve researched keywords and phrases to optimize for. You’ve proofread your web copy multiple times and double- and triple-checked all your links.
But, did you adequately optimize your responsiveness?
Responsive web design is a big trend for businesses right now, but it’s also often misunderstood. If you aren’t an experienced web designer, you may not be sure what a responsive website is. Even if you are familiar with responsive web design, you may be unclear on exactly what its benefits are.
Put simply, website responsiveness refers to how well a specific site adapts to different-sized displays. A highly responsive website will adjust things like font size and graphics proportions to fit whatever screen it’s being viewed on at the moment. This is what allows the same site to look clean and readable on multiple devices, from smartphones to desktops.
As you’ve probably guessed, website responsiveness plays a big role in mobile optimization. To understand the importance of optimizing your responsiveness, keep reading.
What Is Website Responsiveness?
Before we go into detail explaining why website responsiveness is so important, it’s a good idea to make sure you understand exactly what it means. Although we offer a basic description of web responsiveness in our introduction, that definition only scratches the surface of what responsive design is all about.
Responsive web design is a way of building websites so they automatically scale their content and elements to fit the screen they’re being viewed on. When a website is designed responsively, images are prevented from appearing wider than the screen width, for example. It allows a website to automatically optimize its appearance based on any screen size.
The responsive design probably plays the largest role in making websites look good on mobile devices. When mobile users visit a website that hasn’t been optimized for small screens, they’re forced to zoom, pan, scroll, and resize the page constantly to see everything.
Websites like this are hard to navigate and result in high bounce rates and deeply dissatisfied users. They make finding information prohibitively difficult because elements and content are spread out so much. As a result, you could be losing potential customers if your website isn’t responsive.
On properly optimized, responsive sites, all the visual elements are adjusted automatically to fit mobile displays. Best of all, making your site responsive eliminates the need for a separate, dedicated mobile website.
When seasoned entrepreneurs talk about things they wished they’d done differently when they were starting, one thing that gets brought up is failing to take advantage of relevant technology when their business was small. This can be as simple as underestimating the importance of SEO factors, like website responsiveness. You can avoid regrets later by making sure your site’s responsiveness is optimized now.
Why Responsive Templates Aren’t Always Enough
If you’re setting up a website using WordPress or another site builder, you may assume that you can install a responsive template and call it a day. While it’s true that most WordPress site templates are mobile responsive, that doesn’t mean they automatically display well on mobile screens. Often they’ll require some additional tinkering before they’ll look good.
Of course, website templates have questionable value anyway. They often look cheap and generic, much like obvious stock photos can. But it’s important to understand that, even with a responsive template, you’ll probably have some work to do to make it truly mobile-friendly.
No matter what kind of business you have, it’s often best to build websites from scratch with responsiveness built-in.
Benefits of Optimizing Your Website’s Responsiveness
You now know what responsive design is and why templates don’t always do a sufficient job on their own. Next, let’s discuss the specific reasons why it’s so important to optimize your site’s responsiveness.
Enhance User Experience on Any Screen
This benefit is fairly self-evident, and we’ve touched on it already in this article. But it’s worth repeating that one of the greatest effects of responsive design is improved user experience.
As a business or website owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the minutiae of web development. There are hundreds of SEO strategies to try and thousands of ways to create content. Between all of these little details, it’s easy to overlook the most important part: your website visitors.
If your website is ugly or difficult to navigate, it doesn’t matter what you’re selling or how great your content is. Users aren’t likely to stick around on a poorly designed site, and even if they do, they won’t enjoy it.
This is the most important reason why responsive design is a must. Besides improving your mobile browsing experience, it also provides a more consistent and streamlined experience on any device. It’s what your audience deserves.
Enjoy Improved SEO Efforts
Every web developer knows that search engine optimization is important. Without proper SEO, your site is unlikely to be discovered by people using Google and other search engines. But when your site is optimized for search discovery, getting traffic can become a breeze.
Google has been actively promoting responsive and mobile-friendly websites for a few years now. If your website is responsive and beautifully designed, it’s more likely to rise to the top of search results. Without an excellent, mobile-friendly design, Google probably won’t rank it very highly.
There are two reasons for this: first of all, unresponsive websites have a high bounce rate when viewed on mobile devices. Since the majority of search traffic comes from mobile devices, that’s a significant problem for SEO. Second, Google favors well-designed sites in general, making any improvement in user experience good for SEO.
Get More Traffic From Mobile Users
It’s safe to say that, if your website never looks quite right on mobile devices, your customers will quickly learn not to visit your site from their phones. Since people generally use their phones a lot more than their computers, that can cause you to miss out on potential traffic.
More importantly, if someone is discovering your website for the first time while browsing on their phone, they probably won’t come back if your website is hard to use on their device. Most people won’t give you a second chance later once they’re back on their PC. If you lose them the first time they visit your site, you’ll probably lose them for good.
Make More Sales
Since more people browse the internet from their mobile devices than from their PCs, it’s safe to assume that they do more shopping from their mobile devices, too. In any case, you can’t afford to miss out on the sales you might be making if your site was mobile responsive.
The problem with unresponsive shopping sites isn’t just that they’re hard to use on mobile. They also make your site look outdated and unprofessional, which can discourage wary buyers. People are suspicious of websites that look like they haven’t been updated in a while, so yours needs to look up-to-date and fully optimized to make many sales.
Decrease Loading Times
Even if you have a great website with excellent design and valuable content, slow loading times can dramatically hinder its success. Conversely, increasing your website’s speed is one of the best things you can do, both for SEO and user experience.
The great thing about responsive websites is that they tend to have excellent loading times. This is because responsive sites are made with fluid grids and lightweight elements. These tend to load faster than fixed web pages with heavy content.
This is just one more thing that makes having a responsive website better than using separate sites for desktop and mobile users.
People typically don’t like to wait more than a few seconds for a webpage to load. Faster loading speeds should result in lower bounce rates and increased user satisfaction.
Get More Social Media Shares
Did you know that having a responsive website could result in more social media shares for your website?
This is one of the lesser-known advantages of responsive web design. The reason you may see more social shares with a responsive site is that responsive social media buttons make it easy to share from any device.
When a responsive website has responsive social media share buttons, it makes it easy for visitors to share embedded links with their networks, even on small displays. In turn, you could enjoy more exposure to larger audiences. This increased exposure should result in more leads and sales down the road.
This even has some impact on SEO. When search engines see that your site has increased engagement from social media, they could rank your site higher.
Save Money by Using Just One Site
Another practical benefit of responsive websites is that they’re often cheaper. It costs less to own one site than to host two separate sites for desktop and mobile browsing.
Without a responsive site, you would be forced to operate two versions of the same website. That cost comes into play both on the web development end and the web hosting and security end.
Of course, building one responsive website does cost more than building a single unresponsive site. But that’s simply a result of putting more quality and features into a single site. Over time, if not right away, you should see that your costs will be lower with a single responsive site.
Set Up and Make Changes Quickly and Easily
One great aspect of responsive websites is the seamless experience they provide to users. No matter what device or browser your audience is visiting from, they’ll always have access to the same content on your site. This is because you’re only building and updating a single site, so you don’t have to worry about discrepancies between desktop and mobile sites.
Another benefit of this seamlessness is that setting up and maintaining your website is faster and easier. Setting up a single responsive website takes less time than building two versions of the same site. As you start getting traffic to your site, maintaining and updating content becomes easier with a responsive site, too.
Having two websites for separate browsing platforms requires you to invest more in security and support. There’s more room for error and more features that have to be tested.
A single responsive site takes the complexity out of website management. It unifies everything into a single seamless experience.
Optimize Your Responsiveness With Nizek
User experience is one of the most important aspects of effective web design. And remembering to optimize your responsiveness is an integral part of improving your user experience. But as you’ve seen, responsive design impacts many aspects of your business online, particularly where search engine optimization is concerned.
It’s not hard to tell that you need responsive design to stay competitive online. But where can you go for help if you’re feeling stuck in your web design efforts?
Fortunately, Nizek can help. From websites to app development, contact us to see how we can boost your business.