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5 Reasons for Responsive Website Design

Five Reasons to consider Responsive Web Design for Small Business

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Brief History

In 2007, Apple launched the new iPhone, the first true mobile device with the ability to browse the internet, and shortly after we say the launch of the 3G version, sometime around 2008. It ultimately killed off Nokia, and Blackberry hasn’t recovered since. The landscape has changed were there are hundreds, if not thousands of internet capable devices. According to Smart Insights, 80% of visitors use their smartphone to browse the Internet, and 91% of users still use a laptop or desktop computer for browsing the Internet.

responsive website design for small businessMobile Traffic

So, that’s practically 50% of all internet traffic originates from mobile devices. When I started in Website design, a 960 or even a 940 pixel grid system was in use. This was to cater for older desktops with a 1024x768pixel screen resolution. Responsive web design wasn’t mentioned, although there was reference to fluid website design methods. Over the last few years we have seen a trend were simply designing a fixed width interface for a widescreen computer is not enough. Websites need to be desktop-compliant as well as mobile device view-able / friendly. With thousands of different screen resolutions, it would be impossible to set specific boundaries on devices individual screen sizes. So the website design must “respond” or become “responsive” to the device calling the website. Hence the terms “responsive web design” and “mobile first” are commonly used buzz words. Below we discuss the reasons why you need to consider a responsive website design for your business.

The landscape – current website design for small business trends?

There are fewer than 30% of Irish Business Websites that were mobile friendly, let alone responsive. The difference between a responsive website and a mobile friendly website is that the mobile friendly is essentially a second version of the main business website, which is individually updated, and the responsive website is the same site, resulting in less administration on the site for updates. A mobile responsive website is future proofed from screen sizes on current and future mobile device screen sizes, according to WebDesignShock.com – “The theory behind responsive design involves the utilization of several grid and layout systems, image optimization and CSS media queries, therefore, no matter how many devices are released on the future, responsive websites will always be able to provide a proper response.”

Is Google Penalising Traffic

In April 2015, Google released a statement, referring to the fact that they will now begin to penalise websites potential traffic from mobile sites ““Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results. According to Google Webmaster Central, Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices.”

So Google are essentially telling business ‘that if the website is not mobile friendly, you will not get the same volume of traffic from mobile devices as you once did. In conclusion, there are several reasons why you would want a mobile responsive website design for your business

  1. Rise of mobile devices
  2. Ability to shop from a mobile device – phones now have larger screens, and NFC and BLE technology enable consumers to purchase your goods with the touch of a smartphone.
  3. Social Media Engagement – Facebook is thriving on mobile devices.
  4. Responsive sites will have a greater relevance on any organic search on Google.
  5. Easier to calculate traffic volumes and conversions to one website, than two different websites.

How can implement a responsive website design for small business?

There are several ways to build a mobile responsive website, such as using a pre-made WordPress theme. One very good responsive theme is “Responsive” available from the WordPress repository. Responsive is developed by Cyber Chimps. Again, it is also made from the responsive framework called “Twitter Bootstrap”. You could do a search for bootstrap themes and you may find one you like. However, when I first started out with WordPress, I became frustrated as I wanted certain things a certain way. If you have no coding knowledge, then you need a website designer and maybe a website developer. There are a few other frameworks you can look into such as Genesis and Foundations, and are ideal to begin with as a base for any responsive website design for small business.

Feedback

We are keen to know what frameworks have you discovered that you have built upon or have you found any good themes within the WordPress repository that were of any assistance to you. If you have any resources you have found for building responsive websites, please share them here, as it helps our community keep up to date on what they should be getting from their web designers or give them the knowledge or power to do work with their own websites. In the meantime, here is a link to Google’s responsive testing tool.

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