Deciding Between a Mobile Website or Responsive Website?

In early 2011 Bamboo started to see a shift in the amount of visitors accessing our clients websites on mobile devices such as smartphones (like the iPhone). In those early days businesses would most likely only see upto 3% of their traffic coming from these types of devices. Fast forward to 2014 and there has been quite a noticeable shift. Nearly all our clients websites see at least 15% of their total traffic coming from smartphones and tablets. In some cases mobile access is upto 50% or more.

What does this mean for businesses?

So what does this mean for businesses who already have a website that is not mobile compatible? and what choices are available to business website owners today who want to deliver their content to mobile devices?

It is certainly time to make sure your website is mobile and tablet compatible or you could be loosing a significant amount of leads and sales from your web site. The first step to deciding wether to optimise your website for mobiles and smartphones is to gather information on your current traffic. To do this you need to install some analytics to your website so you have some statistics and reports on the type of traffic your business is currently attracting.

The good news is the best analytical traffic reporting tool on the market is free to use and its supplied by Google. Google Analytics helps you analyse your web sites visitors and will paint a complete picture of your audience and their requirements. For instance if you see 80% of your traffic are all using mobile phones and tablets, then you would most certainly want to serve your website to that target audience in the most suitable way. This is a sure way of increasing leads and sales.

There are x3 different ways of delivering your website to mobile devices

Responsive design

A responsive website serves out the same html to everyone but will change its appearance and layout based on the size of the screen the website is displayed on. This means your website can look easier to use on small screens such as mobile phones by increasing font sizes and making buttons easy to press. This is Google’s recommended configuration.

Dynamic serving

Using detection techniques you can show pages that are optimised specifically for the device that has been detected. For instance if your visitor is using an iPhone, Blackberry or laptop they all receive different looking html pages and optimised content specifically for their device. This is great for optimising your website for a very specific device but will result in the management and maintenance of your website more costly.

Separate mobile site

Using detection techniques your website will redirect users to a different web address if they are using a mobile device. This website will deliver content specifically for mobile devices with optimised imagery and content.

Google prefers responsive web design because:

  • Using a single web address for a piece of content makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content, and a single web address helps Google index your content.
  • No redirection is needed for your site visitors to get to the device-optimised view, which reduces loading time. Also, user agent-based redirection is error-prone.
  • Responsive web design saves resources for both your site and Google’s crawlers. For responsive web design pages, any Googlebot user agents need to crawl your pages once, as opposed to crawling multiple times with different user agents, to retrieve your content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.
    – See Google

In summary

The wide variety of different screen sizes and resolutions that people are using to browse the web is widening each day, and creating a different version of a website that targets specific devices is no longer a practical way forward. This is the problem that responsive web design delivers for businesses.

Bamboo are experienced in designing and developing responsive websites. If your company is looking for a manchester web design agency who can deliver mobile and responsive web sites then contact Bamboo today.