A great website should look great whether the viewer is on a big screen desktop computer, tablet, or smartphone. Responsive website design ensures that a website displays right, whatever platform is being used. There's no need for multiple sites, and you won't lose customers because they couldn't view your site on their favorite device.
Responsive design is more than just a good practice for users. It's cost effective and can help with your search engine optimization efforts. Using a content management system (CMS), your website can be kept up to date and in line with the web's best practices at all times.
You want your company to have the best possible website. You spend months researching the best design practices, checking that it looks perfect on your computer. However, when you tell someone else to look at your great new site, they don't see what you see. In fact, they don't see anything.
In the past, web design was a much simpler process. Everyone who was using the web was doing so on a computer. Even as laptops became more common, they still offered more or less the same screen resolution as desktop computers. A website would display the same whether it was being viewed on computer A or computer B.
However, technology has developed a lot in the last decade. Today a growing percentage of web traffic happens on mobile devices, a trend that isn't likely to change any time soon.
While a website may display perfectly on a desktop computer's monitor, it simply doesn't look right on the small screen of a tablet or smartphone. What's more, some of these devices can't display certain platforms, such as Flash, that have been commonly used to display certain website elements.
Responsive design is the solution to these problems. Using the latest coding practices and a content management system, responsive websites allow pages to display across all different devices. The design adapts to each user's particular device.
This means that a user browsing the site on a computer will get a display that looks right for their screen while a smartphone user will get a display that looks right for their screen. Whatever the device, the dynamic design of a responsive website will show up right.
A few years ago, it was common practice for websites to offer a mobile version of their site. This gave smartphone and tablet users a stripped down version of the site that would load quickly and fit the smaller screen.
While this did solve some of the problems for users, it created other problems for site owners. Search engines saw these mobile versions as duplicate content, something that can cause lower rankings in search engine results pages. Search engines give higher rankings to sites that are unique, and mobile versions are, by their very nature, a separate and duplicate copy. This means that many sites are suffering from being lost in lower search engine rankings, losing the very customers that they were trying to serve by offering a mobile version.
Many users also found that for many things, they still had to load the main version of the website. The mobile versions were often incomplete or lacked some essential functionality. They would include only the basic information about a business, leaving users with the option of going to a different site or opening the main site to find out what they needed to know.
Multiple versions of a site also meant multiple sites to update when anything changed. While there were some sites that didn't need to be updated often, for many sites this meant double the work for any addition or change to their site's content. The result was often that the mobile version of a website wouldn't be updated as regularly as the main site. Customers on mobile devices, who needed accurate information at their fingertips, were left with out of date and incorrect details. The result of this can be very damaging for a business.
Responsive design solves all of these problems. Users are able to access the full range of content, and owners only have to update their site once. Search engines also give preference to responsive design.
Behind any responsive design is a content management system, or CMS. A CMS is a software program that allows you to create, edit, organize, and publish your content, among other things.
One of the most popular and familiar CMS programs is Wordpress. The Wordpress CMS is easy to use and highly customizable. This means that it is an ideal choice for those who want a great looking dynamic website but don't want to have an overly technical interface for editing the content.
With any CMS, you have the ability to easily change the look of your website. In the Wordpress CMS, the look of the site is determined by the theme. This part of the CMS includes all the information about how pages should be displayed to users.
For a responsive design, the display is determined by the type of browser being used. This means that a single piece of content within the CMS can be displayed in multiple ways, depending on what is best for the individual user.
As an example, a website may have a home page with their contact details, a blog with 100 different individual posts, and a gallery of images from completed projects. With a static website, each of these elements is contained in an HTML page that displays in one single way. With responsive design, the content is stored in a database. When a user requests a piece of content from the database, such as by clicking on a blog post, the gallery, or any other portion of the site, that content is shown to them. The way it is displayed is determined by information the user's browser has passed on. In this way, the website will automatically display properly on any device.
The benefit of this is that your customers will always get a site that they can view, with all the information they need. Your site will also have a uniform appearance, with the same design elements, whether a user is on a mobile device, laptop, or desktop computer.
While there are many different CMS programs available, many of which are used across different types of website, Wordpress CMS does offer some distinct advantages. With an open source code, it is available to anyone.
This means it's free for you to use, but it also means that it can be customized to do exactly what you need it to do. Using themes, extensions, and plugins, it can be adapted to many different uses.
While you might be familiar with Wordpress as a blogging site, its CMS offers much more than just blogs. It can be used to structure many types of sites, with or without blog sections.
With Wordpress CMS, you also have the ability to change the overall look of your site with relative ease. The content can remain the same, as changing the theme allows for a new, updated look.
Wordpress CMS is also a trusted piece of software. This is important for any site, as the security of a website has a big impact on how customers view your site and your company as a whole.
Responsive website design offers many benefits over static website design. The biggest of these is that they are compatible across many devices. With an increase in mobile browsing, this is a large audience that could be lost when using a static website.
Of course, it also gives you the ability to have a great looking site. To have a website designed and developed just for your business, you can have a solution that meets all of your needs and looks great. This means that you don't have to sacrifice style for function.
With a responsive site, your customers will be able to get the full benefit of what your website offers whether they view your site on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
One other way that a business can benefit from using a responsive website and CMS is that it allows for easy updates and changes. This can be important when the web's best practices and users' device choices are constantly changing.
However, it is also helpful when you consider the ways in which your own content could change over time. Whether it's pricing changes on an online catalog or a new phone number, making changes to a responsive website running with a CMS is much easier than altering a static website.
How your business can benefit from a responsive website
Mobile devices have become a part of everyday life, and more people are browsing websites on their phones and tablets. A website that is not ready for these internet users is going to lose out on customers.
Mobile browsing is not just a fad, and it's something that businesses can use to their advantage. Imagine a customer is standing just outside your business. They want to find a company that does exactly what you do. The first thing they're going to do is pull out their smartphone and do an internet search.
The fact that they are mere feet away from your front door isn't what is going to turn them into customers. It's being able to find out about you on your website. It's being able to get the information they need wherever they are.
Another benefit of responsive design is improved search engine rankings. Search engines like Google want to offer their users the best possible results.
If a search engine user can't view a website because they aren't on the optimal device for the site's design, they are going to quickly go back to the search engine results and choose a different link. This click back is tracked by the search engine, showing them that the site does not match their users' needs.
This is why Google has acknowledged its support for responsive design. Responsive design offers search engine users the best opportunity to experience a site and get the information they were looking for. Because of this, responsive websites will have a higher search engine ranking.
Of course, another benefit of responsive design is the reduced cost of website development. In the past, the common practice meant you would have to pay for the design of a desktop site and the design of a separate mobile site. Any time you needed to make a change or update the look of your site, it was double the work.
Responsive design aims to stay on top of changes easily. It takes the best practices for website design and applies them to a single design that works across all platforms. This means that you get the best site on any device. There's no need to go with the least common denominator, and a basic website that doesn't truly convey what your company is all about.
The streamlined approach to design and development means less time spent by the designers, and less cost for your business. You don't need to pay for multiple designs, or multiple site development. You can have a single site that works for everyone, regardless of browser.
How can an agency help with your responsive website development?
Your business needs a responsive website, but you might not have the technical knowledge to create one. While Wordpress CMS is an easy to use program, you don't want your business' website to look like every other site on the internet.
A website development agency can offer you a website that does exactly what you need it to do. Instead of spending hours digging through different Wordpress themes, hoping to find one that is close enough to what you what, working with an agency will ensure you get the perfect site for your business.
Of course, an agency gives you more than just a great looking website. An agency can offer you design, development, and search engine optimization all in one place. It can bring together all of the important elements that you need for your business' site to be a success.
Rather than getting an off the shelf design and trying to find the right plugins to give it the extra functions you want, and then working to make the site search engine optimized, an agency can do all of this as part of a single project. Your website needs to be right for your business, and that means being seen by the right customers.
An agency will also be up to date with the latest changes to best practices and understand how users view sites on different devices. With a knowledge and understanding of HTML5, the language commonly used in responsive website design, an agency can do more than just make your site seem responsive. It can make it truly responsive, ensuring every customer sees the best version of your site.
An agency can also help you learn how to update the content of your website. There's nothing worse than feeling stranded, unable to make a correction to some detail on your own website. By using Wordpress CMS, an agency can give you the tools needed to make changes to your site's content.
Is your website costing you valuable new customers? Are existing customers turning to your competitors because they can't view your site when they are on the go?
A responsive website design, developed for your unique needs, is something that is a business essential. Today's consumers expect to be able to reach a business online, to find out the information they need through their website, and to be able to view that website anytime, anywhere.
This expectation is in line with current web use trends, which show a growth in mobile browsing. Smartphones and tablets have given us the ability to access a wealth of information wherever we go. If your business' website isn't designed for mobile devices, you could be missing out on a big section of your audience.
However, you can't just create a stripped down mobile version of your site. You still need to have a vibrant, engaging site that looks great when customers are at home or in the office, looking at it on their big screen monitors.
The ability to have a site display well and function well on both mobile and desktop screens isn't impossible, it simply requires responsive design. Getting your website developed with responsive design is within reach, and a great digital agency can help you make your responsive website dreams a reality.
To find out more about how your business can start benefiting from a responsive website design and an easy to use content management system, get in touch with us today.