You’ve probably heard about the growing importance of the mobile web, that users are increasingly searching and shopping on their phones, or that tablet sales will soon outpace the sale of PCs.
All too often “responsive” or “mobile” is lumped with other marketing buzzwords like “viral” or “social.” But mobile is much more than that, and the use of mobile technologies can give your company a measurable competitive advantage. In many industries, mobile friendliness could lead to more business in the short term and for years to come.
Where to Start
If your mobile strategy is non-existent, then, as a business leader your first decision is to choose between a mobile app or a mobile site, or in rarer situations, both. Apps are built for Apple’s iOS or Google’s Andriod and are made available through their app stores. The cost to build these apps is a consideration, also resources which will need to go into maintaining and updating these apps. The other option is to build a mobile version of your site. Several years ago it was common to see “m.” sites, where a mobile version of your site could be found at m.yoururl.com or a forced redirect imposed on all mobile browsers.
Challenges of Standalone Mobile Sites
While they sound like a good idea at first, there are many hidden challenges to using a standalone mobile site. First of all, now you have two websites to maintain. Every change you make on your main site you also have to apply to the mobile site. That means updates to products, pricing, contact info changes and everything in between. Plan on doubling the time and cost of website maintenance.
Then there is the issue of duplicate content. Having the same content on your mobile site as your main site has been known to cause search engine issues. Finally, special technology and filters will need to be used on your server to redirect customers to the mobile site. Browser detection software is cumbersome and needs to be regularly updated every time there is a new browser version or operating system update.
A Better Modern Web
Modern web development requires an approach to designing a website, so it looks great and functions great on a variety of devices. People access the web in so many ways today, mobile phones, tablets, e-readers, laptops, screen readers for the visually impaired, desktop computers and even HD-TVs and watch faces. Instead of designing for a single screen size we can now take into account and design for multiple screen sizes and formats. This approach to web design is called “Responsive Web Design.”
Learn more about Responsive Web Design
Our website, crafttocode.com is a good example of responsive design, as are the majority of the web projects I have worked in my career. Responsive design allows the content on the page to gracefully adapt to the medium where it is viewed. Broadly speaking these views fall into several categories: mobile, tablet and desktop, but also include accommodations for non-visual access and styling for the off chance that someone will print your website.
Is it time for you to have a Responsive Web Design?
Answer these questions and you will know if it is the right time for you to have a site using responsive design techniques:
- You have a standalone mobile website, and you spend double the website maintenance time and resources that you used to. You now have to update both your mobile and regular site.
- When you visit your website, you find yourself constantly pinching the screen to zoom in-and-out to read the content. Your visitors are probably doing the same thing.
- You have a mobile site, but it is a limited version of your main site, leaving your customers wondering, “where is that information, I just saw it before I left?!” or clicking “View as desktop” button anyway?
- You don’t have a mobile site, but more than 15% of your regular website visitors are coming from mobile devices. (Check your analytics. If you don’t have analytics, find out why you should. )
- You don’t have a website at all, and you want to avoid the pitfalls mentioned above right from the start. (Lucky you!)
If you answered “YES” to any of these questions, it is probably time to make a change. Craft to Code Creative, LLC can help you review your options and answer any questions you may have. Contact us today for more information, or to get a responsive web design quote.
You can reach us during regular working hours at 303 578 2351 or fill out the handy form below.