What Is a Responsive Website, and Do I Need One?

Posted by David Chism | Mon, Jan 26, 2015

 What Is a Responsive Website, and Do I Need One?

What is a Respon­sive Site

Have you received emails or been asked by design­ers and mar­keters if your web­site is respon­sive” or has a respon­sive lay­out? Do you won­der what on earth they are talk­ing about and why it mat­ters? In the years ahead, you will con­tin­ue to hear the word respon­sive” used in to describe web­sites, so we all should learn what it means!

A short answer is this: a respon­sive web­site basi­cal­ly responds and adapts to a visitor’s device and screen. So if he or she is view­ing your web­site on an Android 5″ screen, the web­site will resize itself to fit a 5″ screen. There will be no need to pinch to zoom in or out, because the text, forms, links and pic­tures will all be easy to view. Now, if that vis­i­tor decides to search your web­site on a 27″ iMac, the web­site will then respond to the larg­er screen size. To sum­ma­rize, a respon­sive web­site is just one web­site for all devices instead of hav­ing a desk­top and mobile ver­sion. Pre­vi­ous­ly, when a web design­er want­ed to have their web­site be easy for peo­ple to read and respond to on their mobile devices, they would have had to make a mobile web­site. Nor­mal­ly you would see an m” in front of your com­pa­ny URL: i.e. m.yourcompany.com.

responsive-chism brothers

Respon­sive on iPhone 6+

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 11.25.54 AM

Respon­sive on 15″ Macbook

mobile site-lakeside

Mobile Site

Screen Shot 2015-01-26 at 11.19.58 AM

desk­top site

The prob­lem with hav­ing two web­sites (mobile and desk­top) is that it was/​is hard to update two sites. If you made a copy change or added a new page on your desk­top, you’d have to do the same (man­u­al­ly) on the mobile ver­sion as well. This makes it con­fus­ing for search engines, too. Google in par­tic­u­lar wants to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble search and expe­ri­ence as pos­si­ble for its users.

Do You Need a Respon­sive Website?

Just about all of the web­sites being built today use a respon­sive lay­out. It is now the #1 stan­dard for web design. Google has also been hint­ing to mar­keters that they would pre­fer respon­sive design, and this makes a lot of sense con­sid­er­ing what I men­tioned above: they want a great user expe­ri­ence. So if your web­site is not cur­rent­ly respon­sive and you still have two sep­a­rate web­sites (desk­top and mobile) you def­i­nite­ly need to begin the process of bud­get­ing for an update to your site. It will help, not hin­der, your search results in the long run to have 1 qual­i­ty built respon­sive website.

And if this short post above has not con­vinced you to bud­get for a respon­sive web­site in the very near future, a final word of cau­tion if you let your site stay where it is: Google will soon begin to penal­ize sites that con­tin­ue to have two sep­a­rate sites (mobile and desk­top) or where redi­rect pages do not work prop­er­ly. So play it safe, and do not let your busi­ness site be left behind.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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