For those who are unfamiliar with the term “responsive design,” it is an approach to design that allows content to be easily accessible and viewable on different devices – regardless of screen size. This gives you the best user experience possible whether you are using a laptop, an iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy Tablet.
With the use of mobile technology on the rise, it has become neccesary to design sites that are not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional. Why such a huge push to responsive? There are quite a few reasons — one of them is Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
3 ways a responsive site will increase your SEO
1. One website that works across all devices.
More consistent user experience for clients is a good indication of how you conduct your business. The process of a customer finding your site is generally as follows: they will search for their desired product or service on their phone, visit your site for information, and perhaps follow up later on their desktop. If your site transitions smoothly between devices it is more recognisable for the user, which puts them at ease and creates a positive user-experience (you can read more about UX here).
2. Recommended by Google.
One URL, same HTML, easier for search engines to index. One set of pages for Google to crawl and recognise. Google has stated this as its preference. One point of reference for users to use and share, rather than several.
3. Easier to update and manage.
Think about it — one website, one source of content, no scheduling of posts across sites, everything links to one place. Having a separate mobile site means having two Adwords campaigns, which despite being expensive, is a whole lot more work. Content is organised and simplified. Mobile first. This allows for a more enjoyable reading experience. This will encourage users to stay on your site. Multiple sites may lead to the break down of key information, lessening the experience for the user.
3 things to avoid
1. Don’t forget your mobile user
Mobile sites are incredibly useful – they help visitors access information quickly and efficiently on a small screen. However, people often fall in to the trap of building a site that looks great on mobile, only to find that it has lost all functionality. Form must follow function in web design, with usability and user experience your first focus.
2. Don’t have separate sites
Google does support multi site configurations, however… With more sites comes more responsibility. The more separate sites you have to manage, the more margin for error. Think of it this way — you want to make a tiny text change to your site but you’ve got three different configurations. You have to make that change 3 times. You can simplify this process by having one site that uses responsive design. One site that is your desktop, mobile, and tablet go to. Google recommends this site configuration and we do too.
3. Don’t avoid common practice
Many sites are being designed responsively. Take a look at existing sites and figure out what you like, what makes navigation easier, what are their strengths, but also their weaknesses. Use existing practice as inspiration to build your own site. Learn and improve on those around you.
Keep it simple so that search engines (and in turn your customers) can find you. Don’t build multiple sites if you don’t have to, keep copy succinct and rich with keywords. Keep your URLs consistent, and your code clean. Most of all, make sure your site is as responsive as possible. One site to rule them all. These are all basic habits to get in to, but are the cornerstone in ensuring the launch of your new site is successful.