How to determine whether or not you need a “responsive” website.
In the era of new media, it is more important than ever that your digital strategy be up to par. You have to worry about search engine optimization, social media and the ever present (and growing) mobile experience. According to statistics provided by Google, more than 50 percent of U.S. users have smartphones, and nearly 90 percent of these users access the internet from their phones one or more times per day (not including app usage). So these people are actively searching the Web on their phones and could discover your site or brand. The question at hand is how do we direct these mobile users toward meeting your conversion goals?
A trendy solution to concerns regarding mobile Web experience is a “responsive” design for your website. A responsive website, in simpler terms, is one that automatically adjusts between a desktop and mobile. Unlike the traditional solution of building a separate mobile website, a responsive design allows you to have a single website. This means no longer maintaining separate sites, and providing the best experience possible for the users, regardless
of their browsing devices.
Although responsive design sounds like a fix-all answer to the mobile experience, it is not without its caveats. The development and maintenance complexity of a responsive website is far greater than a traditional website. As a client, you can expect to be quoted 75 to 100 percent the cost of a desktop website. But there are three other options to responsive design that can be considered:
- Create a Dedicated Mobile Website – While this will often incur a similar or equal cost to a responsive website, the primary benefit to this approach is the 100-percent-tailored-to-mobile experience.
- Make a Mobile App – This is a complicated discussion in its own right, but it’s important to evaluate the need before venturing into the mobile app creation process. For more insight on how to determine if a mobile app is right for you, refer to my article dedicated to the subject: “So you think you want an app?”
- Do Nothing – There is no point in staying with the trends if it doesn’t make sense for the business. Gut inclinations can be motivating, but bottom lines are defining. If your audience engagement isn’t suffering on mobile devices, then you may not need to consider a responsive update at this time.
In digital advertising, we benefit from having very accurate and immediate analytics at our fingertips. No one can tell with certainty whether or not you need a responsive website, or even a mobile website, but your analytics
can show you if you need it or not.
Mobile advertising and the mobile Web is an ever-growing, ever-evolving target. It is important we make sure our businesses and brands stay relevant in this exploding content consumption medium. However, at the same time, it is important we understand how to apply these trends in a way that produces a return on investment. Responsive design is hot, but it may not necessarily be for you. There are other ways to make an impact in the mobile space. Evaluate internally or consult with an experienced partner on how best to position your brand in the mobile space, because one thing is for certain: people will be searching for you on their phones.