Mobile Website Vs. Responsive Design: Pros And Cons

Is Your Website Mobile Friendly? (According to Google, It Better Be)

Mobile websites, responsive websites, standard websites… what’s the difference? And which one is best for your business’s online marketing plan?

Pros and Cons

For Those Who Already Have a Mobile Website…

Do you already have a dedicated mobile site associated with your business? Have you ever tried to experience its accessibility across multiple platforms?  Take a peek at the various results using this free mobile website emulator from Screenfly to compare how it looks on various mobile devices. Just type the your website in and use the tools at the top to view your site on different platforms. For instance, here is what my site looks like on an Apple iPhone 6

What you discover on the emulator tool may surprise you. If it appears that your mobile site needs updating, then now is the time. In February, Google announced a major overhaul to their mobile rankings system. April 21, 2015 was the deadline to achieve the best results. Beginning on that date, websites without a user-friendly mobile site were demoted in Google’s mobile search ranking. However, it’s never too late to implement good design practices.

Essentially, this update means you need a mobile site that is easy to use, simple, and quick to load. Of course, that is also the logical type of site any business would want to present, so it only makes sense that Google is promoting such ideas.

You May be Asking Yourself, Do I Need a Mobile Website?

Some SEO analysts have written many articles touting the benefits of a mobile site. But is it really necessary? For some industries, it is an inevitable part of their digital marketing strategy. For others, it may be less of a need…for now.

Think about these things as you decide if you will include a separate mobile website in your marketing plan:

  • How many visitors currently access your site via mobile technology?
  • In what ways are your competitors implementing mobile sites?
  • Are there any existing marketing studies for your industry outlining the need for a mobile site?

If you find that only a very small portion of visitors are accessing your site via mobile, then a mobile site may not be the best place to spend your efforts at this time. Alternatively, if you find that 25% or more visitors are mobile users, then it may be time to invest in a well-designed mobile site or a responsive site redesign.

The Case for a Responsive Website

Responsive websites are those that automatically adjust visual and textual elements to fit the user’s viewing screen. Responsive sites work well across multiple platforms including many sizes of desktop and laptop computers, as well as smartphones and tablets.

Using responsive website design allows businesses to leverage consumers no matter what technology they choose to use. In this way, a responsive website is more budget-friendly (business owners get all-in-one site instead of two separate sites with double the fees), user-friendly, and sustainable for the long term growth of your enterprise. Also, the recent Google update will recognize responsive sites as well as dedicated mobile sites using the m.domainname.com addresses.

Reworking an existing design to become responsive requires an experienced coder with considerable knowledge on the matter. Cheap responsive sites are everywhere, and can be easily spotted by those using certain devices for which the site was not well planned. Alternatively, a custom responsive website will help you achieve maximum results as users across all devices will view pleasing results when accessing your site.

Based on the evidence, it seems best to choose a responsive design above a mobile website, if a choice must be made. However, if you already have a nicely modeled dedicated mobile site and user-friendly standard site that is achieving top results, great!

Once you’ve decided the type of website you’re going to create, you’ll need to include some important elements in order to retain visitors. You can read more about retaining visitors in my earlier blog post “3 Easy Tips for Captivating Your Website Visitors” for a brief tutorial!

 

 

3 Easy Tips For Captivating Your Website Visitors

Are You Captivating Your Audience?

Maintaining a website can be as simple or intricate as you desire, all depending on your business goals and line of products/services. Generally, the more numerous or complex of product/service, the more robust the site will be.

But the real question is, no matter how large or small, is your website captivating visitors?

THAT is the key to success. Read on to discover three easy tips to reach your online audience with a great website!

3 Easy Tips For Captivating Your Website Visitors

 

Hover Effects

Have you ever noticed that some websites just seem more cool than others? Little features often make a big impact on the overall feeling of a website, adding a certain style associated with the business brand.

Buttons and/or images on a website can quickly become more interesting with a hovering effect. In the past, this effect might have been as simple as the button changing colors on mouse over. However, there are now a wide array of options including fading in or out, 3D and shadowing, or swiping motions. Text can also be given a makeover with certain hovering features such as changes in font color, size, or animation. Navigational links may also participate in the game with underlining, italics, colors, and even icons that appear.

Hover effects are a great way to help users quickly locate the mouse on the page. More importantly, hover effects also help users feel connected to the site in an intuitive, playful, and personal manner.

Tip: Check out the Lucky Fish main blog page to see an example of a hover effect where the images “light up” and zoom in upon mouse over.

Call to Action

In my 3 Website Mistakes to Avoid blog post, I mentioned the lack of call to action buttons or text. This important website component cannot be stressed enough. A call to action is VITAL for success.

Visually or textually telling website visitors what to do next is a subtle and necessary step to retention. Having a clear call to action significantly lowers bounce rates and improves conversions. Calls to action need not be complicated. Consider each page of your site and ask, “What do I want the customer to do next?” The answer may include anything that keeps the visitor engaged and advancing in the sales funnel process.

Calls to action may appear anywhere on the page, but each page needs at least one. For blog posts, this is often at the end of the text. For example, at the end of a blog article about a great food recipe, there may be a link to another recipe to complete the meal with a tasty side dish. These easy connections promote interaction. Another example would be a simple shopping cart button that says “Add to Cart” and encourages users to understand how to purchase the item.

Schedule routine website audits where you check each page for contemporary and meaningful calls to action.

Good Design

What makes a good design? Website design is really no different than any other type of design work, whether it be industrial, graphic, architectural, or landscape. The point of design is to find the best way to display something in a pleasing and understandable manner. Check out Dieter Rams design principles for a fine explanation which can be applied to website design.

Essentially, a well designed website will engage customers, make services and products easy to understand and easy to find, and promote an enjoyable experience on the site.

Is your site functioning on the principles of good design? Regular analytics review, customer or visitor surveys, and an experienced design team will all help to reveal the answer. Another option is to do an A/B split testing of certain design features to determine which website version is best.

Check out my eBook on digital marketing for a deeper understanding of how using a variety of internet marketing methods can help you captivate your audience.