People are using mobile – from smartphones to tablets – for just about anything that they can do on desktop these days. That’s internet surfing, email, online shopping, social media engagement, and so on. As such, it has become necessary for any business that wants to make it online – particularly e-commerce sites – to have a mobile friendly website.
This necessity can be met by designing separate sites for desktop and mobile. But what about one site that could efficiently be used on both desktop and mobile? It exists. It’s called responsive design and you can have one with any quality WordPress theme. In fact, web design and responsive web design are now synonymous in WordPress.
In this article we’ll take a look at the advantages of having a responsive web design, and more specifically, how it could improve user experience, search engine optimization (SEO) and increase conversion rates.
Mobile Is Taking Over
If you’re in a public space, take a look around you and notice that just about everyone is glued to a mobile device. Let’s take a look at some mobile usage statistics from KPCB US and global internet trends 2015 report to get a better understanding of mobile penetration:
- Mobile digital media time in the US is now at 51% compared to desktop at 42%.
- Americans spend 24% of their time on mobile.
- Vertical viewing (mobile) has increased from 5% five years ago to 29% in 2015; while desktop/laptop have remained steady.
- Mobile usage is rapidly growing in e-commerce marketplaces.
The data is clear: you’ll miss out if you’re not focused on providing a good mobile experience.
What Is Responsive Design?
Responsive design means that a website automatically adjusts to any device, and all content remains the same across all devices without impacting site performance.
In other words, as a user switches from their desktop to iPhone, Android, Kindle, or any other device, websites automatically adjusts for resolution, image size, and structure. A responsive site robotically responds to the user’s preferences.
Besides the fact that responsive design completely eliminates the need to design different sites for different devices, there are other reasons why it’s important for your business.
Why Is Responsive Design So Important?
There are three main reasons, among many, why responsive design is so important:
Google Prefers Responsive Design
Google, the most popular search engine in the world, values responsive design over all alternatives. And since responsive sites have one URL and HTML across all devices, Google can more easily and efficiently crawl and index a responsive site.
Another reason why Google prefers responsive design is because it tends to provide a better user experience (as discussed above). It can also make link sharing easy and tends to reduce bounce rate – factors that contribute towards SEO.
Improve the User Experience
Users do not want to resize text and images several times over, or scroll in different directions on a screen to read your content. Data backs this up.
According to an Experience Dynamics infographic, 61% of users who don’t immediately find what they’re looking for on a mobile site will quickly move on to another site. Moreover, 52% of users claim that a bad user experience made them less likely to engage with a company. It’s clear that users prize responsive design. Designing a responsive site shows them that you value their time and business.
Increase Conversion Rates
Mobile shopping is on the rise, making it more important for online businesses, particularly e-commerce sites, to develop fully responsive sites. Let’s look at some stats.
81% of shoppers research online before making purchasing decisions, and 63% of them complete purchases related to their mobile research. Furthermore, two thirds of mobile consumers are looking to make a purchase the same day. These stats provide an insight into how impactful a responsive site can be to your conversion rates.
A fully responsive site can keep your users engaged and increase their chances of purchasing. Furthemore, it could give you valuable insight into how your mobile users are interacting with your site, which offers an invaluable opportunity to optimize and further boost conversion rates.
It’s practically impossible for any online business to succeed without a responsive website, and it’s only going to get harder. The exponentially increasing amount of mobile users demand it, Google recommends it, and it will ultimately affect your bottom line.
Ready to implement responsive design? Here are a few resources to help you get started:
- Ten Practical Tips to Implement Responsive Design
- Responsive Design Best Practices for Big Projects
- Responsive Web Design: 50 Examples and Best Practices
What are your thoughts on responsive design – is it integral to creating a positive user experience on the web, or overhyped and unnecessary? Let us know in the comments section below!