We have become switching consumers and I'm not talking here about our switching behaviour for best deals and costs but about our internet browsing behaviour. Think about your average day and how many times you may switch between the devises you use to browse the net. In the morning waiting for the train you may browse on your mobile, at work you use a desktop, you get home and you may turn to a tablet. We are constantly switching between the devises we use and it is now more important than ever that websites work seamlessly across all these mediums for optimal user experience.
Mobile sales have already overtaken desktop sales and by 2014 it is predicted that mobile internet usage will quickly overtake desktop internet usage. If your website doesn't look or operate well on a mobile it really is time to review it. If you invest in Digital Marking such as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and PPC, mobile friendly website is essential.
Whether you choose to create individual websites for each devise or to opt for a responsive website has caused considerable industry debate. We are increasingly asked by our customers for advice about their new or existing websites. Should they re-develop the site to be responsive? Should they keep their existing desktop version and create a new version specifically for mobile?
Making a website work effectively for mobile devises, whilst it might look like a simple job of shrinking everything down to make it smaller is actually not that easy and not quite as straightforward. For a site to be responsive it is about creating a site architecture that delivers a customised user experience across those devises. It involves flexible layouts with elements that adapt to differing sizes and features to fit screens, devises and browsers. For example on a desktop a website may display a large graphic element featuring a companies services, but on a mobile devise this simply would not work so those services may have to be presented differently or utilising a different scroll function.
Last year Google ran a study on smartphone users and the results showed just how important it is to ensure your website is responsive.
75% of people questioned said they prefer a mobile friendly website 61% said that if they were unable to find what they were looking for would turn to an alternate website and 67% said that they are more likely to buy from a website that works well on a mobile devise.
Delivering a quality and seamless user experience across multiple devises should now be a key consideration for businesses and if just starting to develop a new website of your own this is one of the things that absolutely should be thought about. It's no good just looking at the website on your computer screen using your preferred browser, cross check how the site looks and performs on all devises, screen sizes and browsers. What may work well on a desktop in FireFox may not work on a tablet using Chrome.
There are various advantages for having a responsive website over multiple versions of your site for improved digital marketing results. For SEO one dynamic site is preferred by search engines and is now seen as best practice. Any back links generated to your site will lead to a single recognisable source enhancing your one sites authority, user experience and recognition. Responsive websites mean that navigations, scrolls and flow all work seamlessly whatever devise your customers are using to view your site. Maintaining one site also eliminates the need to update graphics and content across multiple websites. For example when special offers go live, graphics and prices can be updated once rather than three for four times.
If your digital marketing also focuses on social media develop a responsive website improves your customer engagement and means they are more likely to share your content, improving your social media interactions. When sharing your website link on their various social networks, their own followers can go directly to your website regardless of the device that they are using. This is very important, especially since social networks are often accessed on mobile devices.
For any customers currently in the process of starting a business or about to embark on a website project thinking cross devise and browser efficiency should defiantly be part of your design brief. Consider carefully where your customers will access your products and services and make sure your site creates a good user experience however they may be viewing.
This article was written by Sarah Stott. Sarah has worked within the domain name and registration industry for the last 5 years and currently works at Siteopia.com (http://www.siteopia.com).