Search Engines, Social Media channels, and Offline Marketing attract website visitors. Useful and usable websites transform visitors into readers and ideally into clients.
Although there are many important characteristics of a useful website, this post will focus on the importance of your websites ability to be viewed on different computing devices. As mobile phone and tablet usage continue to skyrocket – so does the need for your website to cater to these visitors.
Years ago, the best websites were simply about looking beautiful. However, in 2014, having a just a beautiful desktop website is not nearly as important. It needs to be functional right away, especially for mobile readers. One of our clients, Sell My MetroWest Home receives 50% of their traffic from a mobile device (read the blog about it here). In all honesty, I NEVER thought it would be that high.
Morgan Stanley actually made this prediction in 2010 (Data Source: Business Insider)
Unfortunately, many websites today simply don’t work well on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. They either shrink down to the point of being unreadable, or require an ungodly amount of scrolling around to see what’s going on. Almost no one will stay on a site like that, but more often than not, most websites suffer from this problem.
What if a mobile visitor visited your website right now? What would be their instant reaction? Would your logo clearly visible? Could they obtain your phone number, request more information, or visit your social media channels?
Data Source: Google Research
While there are apps out there, such as DudaMobile, which can make a “mobile-friendly” version of your website, there is actually another, better way. It’s called “responsive design.”
Essentially, you want your business to have a website with a design that responds gracefully to the user’s screen, no matter what their screen resolution or the size of the screen might be. This way, whether a visitor is on a desktop, a laptop, or a mobile device, the site layout responds accordingly to make things easy to read and access. The best part to having a responsive design website, done correctly, it will have a lower cost of maintenance than a non-responsive website. This is because you won’t require the dual creation of content and dual effort that having both a mobile site and a desktop site would require.
You will see a desktop, laptop, tablet, and mobile phone. Each device is displaying the same page from the same website, but automatically formatting the content of the page to that device. With Responsive Design, you only have one website to maintain. Each time you create a page or a blog post, the code behind the scenes reacts on the fly to the size and width of the current screen.
If you are more tech-minded, you can learn why Google prefers Responsive Design.
Right now, responsive website design is not exactly main-stream. Only about twenty percent of businesses currently employ it for their websites. A lot of businesses may not realize just how much potential business they are losing. You don’t want someone to visit your website on a mobile phone and have it unable to be read or interacted with well. Best chances are that said visitor will then go to a competitor’s website that they can interact with better. Not only could you lose that business, but it can hurt your business’ reputation, as well.
However, if you have that responsive website that fits their screen right away, you’re well on your way to making potential customers that you may not have otherwise had. Not only that, you may be able to steal away visitors and potential business from competition with websites that don’t utilize responsive design.
Our recommendations for your Responsive Design Website:
- Keep it simple – Have crisp clear graphics that look pleasing in large to small sizes.
- Many mobile users are just looking for a phone number, a way to contact you, or just a quick answer – put this information in an obvious easy to reach place.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel.
- Have an easy online contact form on just about every page. Keep to the basic fields like First Name, Phone, and Email.
- Keep to 3 levels deep max.
- Have a “breadcrumb” on deep level pages so the user can navigate back to the top level pages.
- If something in your “desktop” design can’t play on a mobile phone – hide it.
- A leaner design will decrease load time – a visitor will only wait an average of 7 seconds before leaving.
Follow these tips and be ahead of the curve…
Beat your competition online…
Making your website visitors happier…
Turn visitors into contacts, or even better, clients!