Before building the mobile version of your site, consider this:

People have access to mobile devices from virtually anywhere and shopping behavior is changing as well with the growing usage of smartphones and tablets. Studies and research have shown that consumers even prefer to use their smartphone/tablet at home, while watching TV instead of turning on their laptops or desktops. Many advertisers are only slowly adapting to this change by specifically targeting mobile users online. They are also often forgetting what happens after the consumer clicked on their online ad from their mobile device. Do they have a mobile-friendly site in place? What if the site doesn’t show up in the right format and the consumer leaves right away?

But before you begin to just blindly build out a mobile site for your business, you should be aware of two different ways to do so. You can either create a separate mobile website for your business or use a responsive design instead.

What is responsive design? Responsive design is an emerging trend among web developers which adapts to the device a consumer uses to view your website, whether it’s a tablet, smartphone or laptop. While a website built with responsive design automatically resizes for different devices, the advertiser still has to decide the content he wants to prioritize. Smartphone users might be more interested to find your contact information quickly, while tablet users just try to simplify their online purchases on the go or sitting at home on the couch. With responsive design you could focus on a click-to-call button for smartphone users, while the tablet site could prioritize the whole shopping experience, from selecting the product to an easy check-out process. If you wonder about the technical details to build a mobile-friendly site with responsive design, please read Google webmaster team’s blog post.

The illustration by Google below shows a quick overview and points out differences between the two approaches.

Google also helps you decide which mobile approach is best for your business with a few guidelines.

What you need to know, if you decide to use responsive design:

  • You don’t necessarily have to build a completely new site, if you want to use responsive design. A sophisticated web developer can implement the necessary changes and make adjustments. However, you should be aware of additional costs in terms of time and budget.
  • There will only be one URL for desktop, mobile and tablets for a site built with responsive design. If you built a separate mobile site, this site typically uses a different mobile URL. However, users should be taken there automatically if the desktop site has an auto redirect code enabled.
  • It is hard to determine what a responsive design for mobile costs as prices vary by developer and agency.

For additional information on how to build a mobile-friendly site, finding resources as well as testing the site, please get in touch.

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