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!