Have you pulled out your mobile phone or tablet to find a place to eat, do a price comparison on a product, or click on an interesting link only to find that the site you landed on was too small to be read with the human eye? After multiple attempts at pinching and resizing, even the most patient website visitor can throw in the towel and look for another website (i.e. your competitor) to find what they are looking for.

With statistics indicating that mobile web browsing will overtake desktop browsing by the end of 2014, it is clear that having a mobile friendly website is critical to the success of many small businesses. (Source: Smart Insights)

Here are some additional statistics from a Google/Nielsen Life 360 Mobile Search Moments Study you should know:

  • 77% of mobile searches happen at work or home (where a desktop or laptop is present).
  • 3 out of 4 mobile searches trigger follow up-actions, including continued research, visiting a retailer’s website, sharing information, visiting a store, making a purchase, or contacting a business.
  • Each mobile search triggers an average of two follow-up actions.
  • 55% of conversions from mobile search happen within an hour (e.g. phone call, store visit, or purchase).

These statistics shed some light on the prevalence of mobile use, even when users have access to a desktop or laptop computer, and how those mobile searches translate to conversions.

What Is Responsive Design?

There are two options for companies looking to make their websites mobile friendly. The first is responsive website design, which is simply one design that automatically adjusts to view optimally across devices, whether it is a laptop, mobile phone, tablet, or desktop computer. The second option is to have a separate mobile site. Because the benefits of a responsive site outweigh those of a mobile site, we will focus on responsive design.

Benefits of a Responsive Website

A single URL/HTML code. This makes it easier for the business owner to manage and for Google to index the site for new content. Note: Having a separate mobile website means having to manage two sites, and makes search engines work that much harder to correctly index your website information.

Ease of Use.  According to statistics provided by Google’s Think Insights, 61% of mobile users who land on your website and become irritated or can’t find the information they need will promptly leave your site in search of what they are looking for (most likely from your competition). However, the statistics also indicate that if the user has a good experience on your site, they are 67% more likely to buy into your product or service.

Faster website loading time. Responsive design sites load more quickly on mobile devices than desktop websites. Longer loading times can frustrate the mobile device user and increase the likelihood that they will abandon your site in favor of one that is more user-friendly.

Responsive design is responsive to all devices. Websites with responsive design are designed to respond to various screen sizes, not device sizes, so that users will be able to easily view your site on both current and future devices—no matter what the size (e.g. Google Glass).

Lower bounce rate from content links. Does your content marketing strategy include blogging and social media? If you don’t have a mobile-friendly site, visitors that click on your links will be taken to your desktop site where they will need to decide if it is worth the hassle to consume your content.

Statistically speaking, this leads to higher bounce rates and wasted content creation and marketing efforts. With a mobile-friendly site, your visitors can easily click links from your social media sites and view them without the trouble of pinching and stretching to view your content. Statistics from comScore indicate that the majority of social networks are seeing much more traffic and time spent coming from mobile devices than from desktops.  For example, if you have a Facebook page, the average breakdown of visitors will be 32% from desktop vs. 68% from mobile devices. Check out the statistics for each platform here.

Responsive Design and SEO

It would be neglectful to present this information without mentioning one very important thing—how Google feels about responsive design sites. And since Google has 67.5% of the explicit core search share, their opinion matters (Source: comScore). According to the search engine giant itself, “Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices.” Translation—Google prefers responsive design over a separate mobile site with a separate URL.

Hopefully this information helps explain why your small businesses would benefit from a responsive website design. Want to know how much value a mobile-friendly site can add to your business? Check out this handy calculator developed by Google.

Would you like to learn more about responsive design and how it can benefit your business? Our professional website development team is happy to answer any of your questions or get started on your new responsive website. Contact us today!

Image © Depositphotos.com/Variant

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