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6 Things You Should Know About Responsive Websites
What is a Responsive Website?

I don’t want to assume that everyone out there knows what responsive websites are, or why they are important. I’m sure a few of my friends & followers (being techies) already know this, so this is not for you. Feel free to tune out now. ¬†ūüôā

Now, for those of you who haven’t had the time to find out what responsive web design is, or simply aren’t concerned about it because you have other more important things to worry about, such as your business operations, then this blog post might shed some light for you.

5 Things You Should Know About Responsive Websites

When I first started doing Web Design (for fun & profit), responsive web design was just in it’s nascent stages. ¬†And this wasn’t too long ago (around¬†10¬†years). In fact, the first truly responsive website was built back in 2002 by Audi.¬†The First Responsive Design Website (circa 2002)

But technology moves at a breakneck speed, and if you’re not careful, it will pass you by.

Anyway, much has changed since then. I’ve gone from doing Web Design as a side job, to dong this full time and having my brother work with me along with a couple of contractors. And since then, responsive websites have become all the rage. And for a very important reason. They rock!

All for One and One for All

The beauty of responsive websites is that you only have to build 1 website and it can adapt to any device. For all intents and purposes, you’ll be able to see a responsive website just as good on a mobile device, as on a table and a desktop.

This is huge because it cuts down the need to develop 3 different sites, one for each platform. This used to be the case back in the days. Inconceivable!

But technology has saved us yet again! While it does cut development time because you’re only working on 1 website instead of 3, it does take a bit more work than a simple (non-responsive) website, because you have to make some adjustments for each platform.

Not All Images Are Created Equal

One of the beauties of having a responsive website is that your images get automatically resized. ¬†And that’s crucial for mobile websites. On mobile devices, for every 1 second of load time that your website experiences, you lose about 20% of visitors. I know I harp (and will keep harping on) mobile websites. But considering that more than half of web users visit websites through their mobile device. It is imperative that you take this into consideration for your site.

So your images need to be smaller in size, because mobile internet tends to be slower than home internet. Mobile data plans also tend to charge once you go over a certain limit, so websites with smaller image file sizes will help to curb extra charges to users.

According to Google, 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site if they had trouble accessing it. If the site takes more than 2 or 3 seconds for example, your visitor will leave as fast as they got there.

Is your site responsive? Mobile friendly? Use this tool to check: http://responsivedesignchecker.com/

Typography

That’s just a fancy word for “font”! You have to take this into consideration because a badly design website will show the same size font on a desktop as it does on mobile, rendering mobile version difficult to parse.

In the example below, you can see how a responsively adapted website displays the text (left) versus the non-adaptive site (right). It would make it a pain to read this, specially if there was a lot of content to consume.

DIY Website Builders

If you’re using one of those free or inexpensive DIY Website Builders to build your website, be aware that most of them are not adapted for Responsive Web Design. In fact, that I know of, only SquareSpace and Weebly have the capability to create responsive websites with their builders.

Make sure you check before you start working with a website builder if you can do this. Otherwise, you’ll be wasting your time and you’ll need to start all over when you redesign the site. GoDaddy, Hostgator, and some others have very basic website builders. While they’re easy to use and get started on. Modifications afterward prove to be difficult and having a website adapt to mobile or tablet devices is usually difficult if not impossible.

Hiring a Developer

If you’re having a developer build out your site, there are a couple of things you need to take into consideration.

  1. The first is obviously that they are able to build responsive websites. Not every developer does, and so this is one of the first things you should ask.
  2. Cost will be slightly higher for a responsive website than a simple, standalone, non-adaptive one. But the extra cost pays itself in dividends. You prevent visitor loss and don’t have to redesign your site from scratch at a future time.

This is definitely the recommended option, but of course, your budget might dictate otherwise. ¬†If you can’t afford to hire a developer, make sure to go with a DIY Website Builder that can create responsive websites.

Google Rewards

Google uses various “ranking factors” to rank¬†one website higher than another. One of these bonus points are given to websites that are built responsively. If you want to read more on how mobile friendliness affects your site, check out our other blog post:¬†Mobile Websites Increase Google Rankings

This was a huge update by Google in 2015 called “Mobilegeddon”. This basically meant that if your site was not responsive or mobile friendly, you risked being penalized or having lower rankings on Google search results.

In that year, 91% of Small Business Websites were not mobile optimized. And the figure hasn’t changed dramatically since then.

Is your site responsive? Mobile friendly? Use this tool to check: http://responsivedesignchecker.com/

Conclusion

A responsive website should be at the top of your priorities list. Making sure your site is mobile friendly and loads quickly, can mean the difference between retaining and losing visitors and thereby potential customers.

If you have any questions about this topic, or would like to have a Free Website Audit, feel free to send us your name, email and website and we’ll be glad to do so with no obligation.

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Not sure if you’re website is responsive? Let us check for you.

Frank Barragan

Frank Barragan is a Web Developer & Entrepreneur from the San Fernando Valley. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from Cal State L.A and has worked in the technology field for over 14 years. He’s had different roles including Tech Support, Web Developer, IT Manager and now Founder of his own Web Design Company.

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