As a business owner, one of the most frequently used tools for communicating with your customers—and potential customers—is your website As such, it’s crucial that the experience for your users is seamless. Your website is having a conversation with your customer for you, so it is important to be clear, concise and informative. With the ever-changing landscape of online browsing, your website has a new challenge to overcome: How to communicate through mobile devices and tablets effectively when your website is designed only for a computer screen.
The mobile audience is growing and they’ll be looking for your website. What will they see? With over half of Canadians using smartphones and other mobile devices, it’s imperative more now than ever that your website be responsive. What is a responsive website you ask? A responsive website is one that resizes itself to optimize usability on mobile devices—from the smallest smartphone to the largest tablet, all the way up to a full sized monitor.
Here are six reasons why your website needs to be responsive:
#1 One Website For All Devices
When a website is built, it contains a set of design instructions called a custom stylesheet (CSS) that tells the browser how your site should look. A responsive website takes those instructions one step further and includes instructions for different screen sizes. These instructions might say to use a larger font size, make images smaller and to use a different method for navigation. A website needs to look different on a smartphone compared to a tablet compared to a computer screen.
Some businesses have a full-sized site and a mobile site. This means two websites to have built, with twice the time and money spent on maintenance. With a responsive website, you save money maintaining only one website.
#2 Google Favours Responsive Websites in Search Results
Starting in April 2015, Google has changed their algorithm to boost the ranking of responsive website pages over non-responsive pages when a search originates from a mobile device. By doing this, Google has taken a proactive stance on the quality of the online experience for mobile device users. With the number of mobile device users increasing each year, it’s a great policy to ensure that the evolution of online user experience keeps up with the readily-available hardware.
#3 Better User Experience
Have you ever tried to view a full-sized website on a smartphone? Even on the most cutting edge phones, a non-responsive website can be tedious and frustrating. A user needs to zoom in to make the font large enough to read, then scroll both vertically and horizontally to read the full content. Load times can also be onerous for users viewing over a mobile network. Don’t make things hard for your customers. Remove the barriers and allow them to browse your site with ease.
#4 Show You’re in Touch with your Users
As a smartphone user, nothing tickles you more when you load up a website to find it is optimized for a phone. You can almost hear the collective intake of breath from users around the world, cringing during that initial load; wondering what kind of torturous experience they’re about to endure to shop at their favourite store or read their favourite blog.
When so many websites out there are not ready for the responsive revolution, it’s easy to stand out from your competition! Your viewers will see that you understand them; that you’ve taken their browsing habits into consideration and are ready to communicate with them in any way they would like. This adds credibility to your business and by extension, your brand—the perception of your business. Your business looks prepared, organized and proactive, of which it is all three, of course.
#5 Get the Jump On Your Competition
According to CIRA, the Canadian Internet Registry Authority, only 45.5% of Canadian businesses have a website. How many of those are responsive? Responsive websites are still a relatively new concept for many small business owners. Get the jump on your competition. When Google is promoting responsive sites, your site will have less competition at the top.
#6 Mobile Device and Usage is Skyrocketing
Smartphone usage in Canada has grown to 57%, which is higher than the global average of 47%. 6 out of 10 Canadians access the Internet with a mobile device like a smartphone or a tablet.
Never before have there been as many devices to choose from. The shift of usage in many users is away from the conventional computer and onto a tablet or smartphone. When you open your website up to a wider audience, you will increase the amount of traffic and results from your website. Don’t miss out on this growing audience!
There are many good reasons to have a responsive website, but for some business owners this may seem like a costly endeavour. Unfortunately, time and technology is moving forward and it’s imperative that your business keeps up as well. If your business is worried that it may not see the return on the investment, it may be time to look at your goals and review your entire online strategy and take your website in a direction that delivers a return you want.
Unsure if your website is responsive? You can check it here with Google’s Mobile Friendly Test.