In 2015 Google made an announcement. The company informed business owners that it would be boosting the rankings of websites that were mobile-friendly. In other words, traffic would be sent to websites that featured a responsive design. Since that time, responsive design has only grown in importance. It’s no longer an option. Let’s discuss the biggest benefits of responsive web design. But first, what is responsive web design?
What is Responsive Web Design?
Responsive web design is an approach that ensures websites are built to detect the size and orientation of the visitor’s screen and change it’s layout accordingly. You see, before responsive design, developers weren’t really concerned with the device people were using, only the resolution of the visitor’s screen. This meant that if users were not viewing the site on a standard computer monitor, they would have to zoom in and out to get the full user experience. They may not be able to see certain elements of the page at all.
However, as mobile computing on smartphones and tablets became more widespread, developers needed to make things a bit more convenient for users. Now, no matter what device you’re using, most websites can adjust to your screen. Websites can scale up and down in size – from the largest desktop monitors to the tiniest smartphone screen.
1. Expands Your Audience
If you’re like many business owners, you probably assume that most people will be viewing your website from their desktop computers. So there’s a good chance that you put a lot of time and energy into designing for these users. Unfortunately, this can lead to your missing out on a ton of traffic! According to Search Engine Land, more than half of all searches are from mobile devices. Sure, you may be attracting a lot of desktop users to your site, but what about the other 60%? If you want to expand your territory and audience, responsive design is not an option.
2. Users Spend More Time On Your Site
There’s a direct correlation between user experience and how long visitors remain on your website. The easier it is to navigate, the more time visitors will spend. This means that if your website is not displaying properly on mobile phones or if users are having to zoom in and out on their tablets to navigate to the next page they won’t be there for long. If you want higher conversions and the best ranking from Google, it’s essential that you increase your average time spent on site. Your website needs to be responsive.
3. Gain a Competitive Edge
While many business owners have started to realize the importance of responsive design, there are some who haven’t made the switch. Perhaps they don’t have the budget to do an overhaul of their website. Perhaps they aren’t keeping up with technical changes in digital marketing. Or maybe they have a gut feeling that their audience doesn’t use mobile devices. Whatever the reason, if these are your competitors, this is the perfect opportunity to gain a competitive edge. When your target audience visits their website and finds that it’s not easy to navigate, they’ll likely search for another, more user-friendly site–yours.
Once upon a time, responsive design was viewed as more of a bonus characteristic than a necessity. However, as technology progresses, we’re beginning to understand the impact web design can have on our marketing campaigns. We’re now realizing that we can’t focus on a single device. When creating the ultimate user experience, we must design with each of them in mind.