The value of responsive web design for marketers

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You know how annoying it when you visit a website on your tablet or phone and the website doesn’t have a mobile version? While the site may look great on your big laptop screen, it’s horrible or completely unusable on your phone. There is a solution to this problem though: it’s called responsive web design. I’ll walk you through the value of responsive web design for marketers and why they need to adopt it.

First of all, what is responsive web design? Responsive web design responds to its environment, meaning that it knows what size screen it is being viewed on and will adapt to it. For example, if you are reading this blog post on a laptop/desktop, try making the window narrower—see how my website automatically changes to accommodate your window size? That smaller version is the mobile version of my site.

A long time client of ours is in the financial services industry and was having us update/redesign his previous website. He didn’t want to spend the extra money to have us create a responsive design for him.  I didn’t argue with him, I just asked him to look at his current (non-responsive web design) site on his iPhone–and then do the same on his tablet. Within the hour, I got an email with the following words: “Looked at my site on iPhone and tablet….horrible …Done. Sold. Do it.”

Responsive design is the next step in the evolution of the internet. We live in a mobile age right now—after all, did you know that more people have cell phones than have toothbrushes? That’s an awful lot of cell phones. Between tablets and cell phones, there are thousands of different screen sizes. There are also several app markets for the different mobile platforms (e.g. Apple, Android, Blackberry, etc.).

Even if it were possible to keep up with all of these mobile platforms and screen sizes, it is not cost effective for your web team to build different versions of your site for each screen size. A better answer is responsive web design—build one website that will work on all devices!

Why is this important? Because today’s customers are omnichannel shoppers—meaning they interact with companies through a variety of channels, including mobile websites and social media. Consider this scenario: a potential customer is watching TV and sees an ad for your product. He is intrigued and looks up your website on his phone. Oops! You don’t have a mobile website! His show starts again and he forgets all about you.

The situation described above is not so hypothetical and if you want to market to today’s omnichannel shoppers, then you need to meet them where they are, and they are in the mobile sphere. Responsive web design is a cost effective way to meet them there. That’s the value of responsive web design.

Need another reason to consider responsive web design? It can help you with your search engine rankings: part of Google’s page ranking search algorithm is based on user experience and if your customers are using a mobile device to search on Google, it is more likely to show results that offer a good mobile user experience at the top of the search results page.

Responsive web design needs to be an essential piece of any company’s mobile strategy. Is it part of yours?

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