Responsive website design means that websites can adapt to the size of the visitor’s viewport. The ways and means of marketing have changed a lot over the years. Most of it is online currently and that too using the website. However, search engines are always on the lookout to ensure that websites are adhering to the user experience best practices. In 2015, Google made changes in its search engine algorithm and announced that mobile-friendly sites would see a boost in their SERP rankings.
Research states that 80% of users used a mobile device to undertake an internet search in 2019. And 40% of online transactions are done through a mobile phone. Hence, the additional need to cater to these users. (Source: Quora Creative)
So, what is Responsive Website Design? It is a web development technique that creates a site which can adapt to the screen of the visitor. In keeping with the requirement from search engines, websites need to render optimally based on screen size and thereby enhance the user experience. As an additional benefit for users, they need not resize anything to view the content.
Mobile users are always apprehensive about whether the websites they visit can be viewed optimally on their handheld devices. If they find it challenging to navigate through the site by having to zoom in or out at every step, they will leave.
But, if your site responds to the screen size of the user and can allow the user to view the website optimally and access the menus, the user will stay longer. The longer a user stays on the site, it becomes easier for you to embark them on the buyer’s journey. A responsive website allows users to have an improved experience and usability by responding to the screen size.
Not long ago, both marketers and web designers were plagued with the need to have a separate site and redirect users to a mobile-specific site. It would not be a replica of the main site but would contain fewer pages and only as much as the company would like mobile users to know.
However, a responsive web design takes up fewer resources. It also takes up lesser time and looks better. Moreover, in the long run, you will be saved the hassles of having to maintain two websites and having both of them updated periodically. These sites follow a common thread for both mobile and desktop sites. It means a lesser headache for web developers and marketers alike.
A responsive web design allows visitors to have a better experience while viewing the site. The navigation is smoother without the additional fuss of having to adjust the screen. As the users can quickly get the answers to their queries, they stay longer, and it becomes easier to have them embarked on the buyer’s journey.
A responsive site does not require CSS and provides a consistent design across all devices. As users can use the website quickly, the bounce rate also goes down. A decrease in bounce rate is good from an SEO point of view. It improves search engine rankings. It leads to more users visiting the website.
Marketers need to have a unified view of the performance of the website. They track analytics to find the channels that bring more users to the site. It helps them to make informed decisions about improving the site.
A responsive web design does not require you to have a separate website for mobile users. As a result, the monitoring process is simplified to a great extent. Now, you will only need to deploy conversion funnels of your choice to understand the path taken by users to visit your site. Google Analytics also collates and provides a consolidated view of the incoming traffic and allows you to drill down to the specific paths taken by the users.
Marketers can better use the reduced time on maintaining a separate mobile site in fine-tuning their marketing strategy, including SEO. Content is an essential part of your SEO strategy. With a different mobile site, companies run the risk of having search engines, booking them for publishing duplicate content. It is among the top five SEO issues faced by marketers.
A Responsive Website Design also helps to adhere to SEO best practices laid out by the search engines. The search engines have of late laid significant emphasis on user experience across both desktops as well as handheld devices. Hence, non-responsive websites have been heavily penalised by search engines.
Research shows that websites that load slowly could have led to US$ 2.6 billion in lost clients every year. (Source: Sweor) It is a reason why most prospects vanish before your website can reach out to them. According to Backlinko, the presence of responsive images improves the overall loading time of the site. The reason is that images are a significant reason while sites load slowly. Responsive website design is known to address this issue and takes much lesser time to load across a multitude of devices – both desktop and mobile.
Using a responsive design has unique benefits too. The sites can be accessed offline, also using the capabilities of HTML5. It helps users to browse through newsletters and other content which is a part of the HTML5 applications and can be browsed offline. An increase in the number of HTML5 enabled handheld devices will increase its benefit.
The Responsive Website Design still lies in its infancy. We are aware of the requirements to cater to handheld devices. There is a realm beyond this. Can users view a responsive site using voice search? Will the navigation be smooth too? And, very soon, users are going to access the internet through virtual reality headsets. So, are web designers up for the challenge as yet?
The trend for a responsive web design only sees a rapid increase. With search focusing on seamless user experience and addressing the issues of mobile users, we will only see more focus by marketers in this area. It is also easily manageable for website administrators as they do not have too much in their hands.