Insights

3rd December 2019

Why your website needs a responsive design

Nowadays, having a website is like running a constantly evolving project, rather than a one-off piece of work. A well performing website will require ongoing analysis and updates, depending on the requirements of your target audience, trends and many other factors. As such, it’s difficult to know where to begin when building a new website from the ground up, or when planning website updates. One requirement that stands out from the crowd when it comes to online performance in this modern age is having a responsive website design. An increasingly important part of any website, a responsive design will help with both usability and SEO alike. 

So far this year (2019), mobile visits have made up approximately 50% of worldwide web traffic. In line with this trend, in July of this year, Google made mobile-first indexing default for all new websites whilst also continuing to update existing sites to this new indexing method. As a result, it’s now vital to ensure that your website performs well on mobiles and other devices, rather than just on desktop. Not having a responsive website will not only make it difficult for mobile users to access your website, thus deterring visitors, it can also now drastically impact your organic search rankings. 

What does it mean to have a ‘responsive’ website?

Responsive web design (also referred to as PWD) refers to the practice of designing a website in a way that makes web pages render well on a variety of screen sizes and devices. Rather than just designing websites to suit larger desktop devices, responsive design accounts for desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones. During the website build, these devices are referenced in order to ensure that page layouts automatically adjust and adapt to any screen size, within reason.

 

What’s the difference between a mobile-friendly website and a responsive website?

Mobile-friendly websites have become increasingly popular in recent years, with an upsurge in the use of mobile phones on the internet, and in line with Google’s Mobilegeddon algorithm update. However, whilst the main aim of a mobile-friendly website is to ensure the site performs well on mobile, it differs quite a bit from responsive web design. Mobile-friendly websites are designed and built to display correctly on both desktop and mobile devices, whereas responsive websites are designed and built to display on a number of different screens and devices. 

Mobile-friendly websites function the same way on mobile than they do on desktop – the only thing to change is the scale of the site. On the other hand, responsive websites contain dynamic content that changes depending on the screen size and device it is being viewed on. Fully responsive sites also rely on different functionality that adapts to the device you’re using, to further enhance the user experience. 

 

How do I find out if my website is responsive?

There are a number of ways you can discover whether your website is responsive or just mobile-friendly, one of which is a commonly used tool known as BrowserStack. You can use the BrowserStack tool to manipulate your website into thinking it’s being viewed on a particular device or within a certain screen size. You can then analyse its performance across a variety of devices, in order to ensure it performs well across the board. Alternatively, if you’re unsure of whether or not your site is responsive or mobile-friendly and would like to find out more information, please do not hesitate to call the friendly team at Varn

Does my website NEED to be responsive?

The short answer is no. If your website is mobile-friendly, it can still be found by search engines and ranked accordingly. However, if you want to maximise usability, online conversions, return on investment and get the most from your website, making the site responsive is definitely the way to go. Not only can a responsive website help with usability and go a long way towards improving organic search rankings and therefore traffic, it also makes your website more futureproof. Responsive websites respond to the size of the screen being used, so have already factored in screen sizes related to future device releases – giving an even greater return in your investment of going responsive!

Find out if your site requires responsive design today and get in touch with the experts at Varn for more information.

Article by: Tom, Managing Director More articles by Tom

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