We’ll be bringing you a series of posts about why responsive web design is a must for your ongoing digital marketing strategy. Seriously, it’s your life preserver in an ocean of crazy Google Algorithmic waves. With every day that passes and every Matt Cutt’s video that gets posted, one thing remains clear- you and your business has to be acting responsively.
To begin, let’s break down what Responsive is and why you need it:
Technology Breaking Points
Responsive Design is a coding technique that takes a traditional desktop website and uses ‘breakpoints’ to size the content down to fit a multitude of mobile screens. And we mean multitude- how many smartphone commercials do you see on a daily basis, right? Tons. Responsive allows your site to look and behave beautifully, no matter what Galactical S3 phone someone might be using.
Exnay on Redundan-saaay
Who likes doing the same thing, twice? Raise your hands…..no really, raise ’em. No one? Well then you’ll love our good friend Responsive. For a long time, the answer to becoming more mobile friendly was to have two sites- one for desktop users, and one for people browsing on the go. This was great and all, until it came time to update content or maintain some code or even worse- add a new look. All efforts had to be duplicated in order to make sure messaging, branding and products were consistent across all channels. What a pain in the </a> (that’s a little dev humor, right there). With Responsive, all you have to maintain is one site, and the changes or upgrades carry across all devices
Happy People Everywhere
If you dig not-so-hard enough, you’re going to come across a site on your smartphone that makes you want to toss a device that’s otherwise attached to your hip out a 12 story window. There’s so much happening that you don’t know where to begin- literally, because you can’t read a dang thing. It’s also impossible to click on anything because the navigation is tiny and you wind up on a page for wigs when all you really wanted was some ice cream. I’m not a rocket scientist by any means, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that kind of user experience is going to have a potential customer running for the hills faster than people left the theater during Gigli (Oh, Bennifer…). Responsive allows your site and your business to cater to the user experience, no matter what device they interact with you on. Your site is very often your business’s first impression maker, and by not making the information gathering-or even better, buying- phase as smooth as possible, you’re not going to make any brand advocates.
It’s a Googmandment
So sayeth Google, so it shall be. Google has come out on numerous occasions to say that Responsive is their preferred method of mobile content delivery. Why? For all the reasons I just listed above. And these, straight from Google itself:
– It keeps your desktop and mobile content on a single URL, which is easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to and for Google’s algorithms to assign the indexing properties to your content.
– Google can discover your content more efficiently as it wouldn’t need to crawl a page with the different Googlebot user agents to retrieve and index all the content.
Google wants people to keep using Google. And Google, being the all-knowing-power-beast that it is, knows that mobile traffic is going to leave desktop traffic in it’s wake (errr, it already has….). So Google wants to make sure that users who use Google to search the Interwebs have a pleasant experience, especially because they’re most likely on their phone. Also, with a responsive design, Google doesn’t have to spend extra time indexing all of your pages and trying to determine what to serve up to consumers, potentially hurting the user experience. So, long story short: people use Google. People like what Google gives them. People use Google again. Google becomes more powerful. Businesses know how powerful Google is. Businesses advertise on Google. Google becomes Scrooge McDuck.
It’s Darwinism for the Digital Age
Survival of the fittest exists for businesses on the web too. If your site isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re going to eventually stop showing up in search results. Mark my words, it’s going to happen. With Google really putting an emphasis on mobile, and more specifically responsive sites, they’re basically giving us smoke signals to say ‘Hey- you need to do this in order to survive’. With the recent changes in algorithms, a lot of businesses have found out how much fun it isn’t to try to recover from penalties. So this is a catastrophic even you can avoid, right now. Doomsday is approaching, and it really will be survival of the fittest (again).
There are a ton of cases to be made for converting your site to responsive- and all of them positive. But the work can’t stop there. Oh no, you need to also make sure your content is optimized for mobile. But we will get into that next week. So until then…..