For a number of our clients, responsive design has been vital for their business. With tablets becoming more common and people using their mobile phones to look online, a website that loads properly on a mobile or tablet can mean the difference between winning or losing business.

That’s quite a bold statement, but let’s put it into a bit of perspective. Someone’s whose house is flooded and needs an emergency plumber or repair company, is highly unlikely to be sat at their PC with water splashing around their ankles! In this situation, the individual would most likely be using some kind of mobile device to search for emergency plumbers in their local area.

Having a responsive website means that you do not need to create multiple versions of the site for different devices; it will just automatically re-size itself to fit the device being used.

In his 2010 article, Responsive Web Design, Ethan Marcotte suggested that rather than a web page that centers itself on any screen, a responsive web site would have multiple smaller elements that re-size and adjust their position depending on which device they’re being displayed on.

The Moz Blog offers a nice example using a simple grid:

Say you have a website with this layout of elements; if it’s not responsive, you’ll just get a much smaller version of the site on a mobile or tablet which can be very difficult to read:

Square with number from 1 to 9

However, if it is responsive, the page elements will reposition themselves to fit the new screen size:

Wide squares with number from 1 to 9Wide Version

squares with number from 1 to 9

With a mobile or tablet there generally isn’t enough room to fit all the elements present on the desktop site, so you will often find that elements such as adverts will have be removed in favour of more important elements. For companies such as our example emergency plumber, you don’t need all the adverts and social features of a website; you want a simple, easy to use site that is going to convert into business and a responsive site can do this.

Responsive web design is also useful for organic SEO. In terms of conversion, a simpler version of your desktop site is a good place to start but don’t go overboard when “tidying up” your site or you might lose returning visitors that found something useful on the desktop site, which has since been removed on the mobile version.

According to The Moz Blog, “61% of visitors will return to Google to find a site that is easily readable” so if you don’t have a mobile site at all, you’re likely to be missing out on business. Not only that, people that constantly leave your site from the home page will increase your bounce rate which will make Google think your site isn’t worth reading and before you know it, your ranking has dropped. Although it is often ignored, it’s really worth checking in your Analytics account which devices people are using when they visit your site. If you’ve got a high percentage of people visiting via a mobile device or tablet, and a comparatively high bounce rate then you seriously need to think about getting a responsive website.

It does take time to design a responsive website but it can definitely be worth it for the right companies and industries.

At Polaris SEO Agency, we offer web design in Kent, London and Essex for all businesses. For further information on our responsive web design services, or to discuss your digital marketing, contact us today.

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Web Design Trends 2014February 10th, 2014