Now that Google’s mobile update is upon us, businesses worldwide are scrambling to get their websites updated to be mobile friendly in the eyes of Google. Google update or not, it’s 2015 and your website should be mobile friendly. Now that this is common knowledge, the question becomes: What is the best way of making your website mobile friendly?
Over the past five years, two methods of building a mobile-friendly website have emerged as the dominant options. The first is called Responsive Design and the second is called a Dedicated Mobile Website. Let’s review each briefly.
Responsive Design means that the elements on a webpage respond dynamically to the size of screen on which they are being displayed. Let’s say your website has four columns of information. On a computer, you see the four columns laid out next to each other horizontally across the screen.
If your website is responsive and you’re viewing the site on a smartphone, the columns will be aligned vertically, one atop the other. You can view the changing of element layouts on a responsive site by grabbing the corner of a browser on a computer and dragging it to shrink the width of the browser.
Dedicated Mobile Websites
Having a dedicated mobile website means you actually have an alternative version of your website that is designed for smaller screens. Dedicated mobile sites are usually condensed versions of a website containing only the critical information that people are looking for when searching on a mobile device, such as hours of operation, your business’s phone number, or your business address.
When a user visits your website from a mobile device and you have a dedicated mobile website set up, a script in the code of your website recognizes that the user is on a mobile device, so it quickly re-routes them to the mobile website.
So Which is Better? Answer – Both!
Both Responsive Design and Dedicated Mobile Websites have their pros and cons, but we usually side with Responsive Design because it’s more practical to manage one website than multiple sites. That being said, we do recognize that most people searching for our clients from mobile devices are looking to quickly get in contact with them, so we create a dedicated mobile homepage that features nice big click-to-call and click-to-email buttons. Also included is a button to “View the Full Website”, which takes them into the responsive design.
Another crucial issue that the dedicated mobile homepages address is load time. At the end of the day, someone searching for company information from their phone could care less whether the site is responsive or dedicated mobile, they just want the information they’re looking for to load as fast possible. Research shows that if the information doesn’t load within three seconds, the user will bounce back to the search results and try somewhere else.
We’ve found that layering a dedicated mobile homepage on top of a responsive design solves the major issues of:
- Only having to manage one website (dedicated homepage content is managed via a plugin within the site)
- Removing distractions from the mobile experience and leaving only the critical info/calls to action
- Loading homepage as quickly as possible
- Providing users access to the full website in a mobile-friendly format
For more information or a quote to have your website rebuilt with responsive layout and a dedicated mobile homepage, contact us today!