Mobile Websites Are Just as Important as Desktop Websites
What Is a Mobile Friendly Website?
I’m sure you have come across websites on your phone or tablet that just look awful and prove really difficult to use. These sites have not been developed for mobile. Not only do they provide a bad user experience, they also cost the site owner sales and enquiries. This poor user experience, coupled with the fact that up to 60% of website users are browsing on their phones and tablets has prompted Google to release a search engine update. Now, Google will rank mobile friendly sites higher in mobile search results and will soon de-index sites who are not mobile friendly. Some bloggers refer to this update as “Mobilegeddon”.
A mobile friendly website design is absolutely essential. It will render your site in an easy to use format across all types of devices, on all screen sizes and in any screen orientation/rotation. This gives your site a good user experience and ranks you higher in mobile search results. However, there are two main types of mobile friendly website for you to consider. Both are equally as good for Google but there are advantages and disadvantages to each:
Responsive Website Design (RWD)
With a responsive website design, the URL doesn’t change from www.yoursite.com when viewed on mobile devices. The site will fluidly change and respond to fit any screen or device size and the content is all rendered from a single URL.
Adaptive Website Design (AWD)
With an adaptive website design, the URL will change from www.yoursite.com to something like m.yourwebsite.com when viewed on mobile devices. This is because an adaptive site is built on a sub-domain of the main website and uses a completely different set of code files. The site will still fluidly change and respond to fit any screen or device size, but the content is rendered from a different URL.
Which Mobile Solution Should You Choose?
It is widely accepted that both solutions are perfectly acceptable to Google and to all major search engines. Both options will improve on your user experience and provide better rankings and higher conversion rates.
If Glasgow Web Designer’s are creating a new website design then we prefer to provide you with a responsive website. Using a responsive approach will ensure that the site provides optimal performance and a fluid viewing experience regardless of the device that’s used to render. Using a responsive web design means that we build just one website (viewed on desktop computers, laptop computers, iPads and tablets and smartphones alike). The website resizes all site images dynamically, based on the screen size, it uses a mobile friendly navigation system and it changes the layout of the content as necessary. Our responsive websites are an affordable mobile solution that eliminate the need to build separate sites for different devices.
Affordability is just one advantage of a responsive site. Another big advantage is that responsive site have just one CMS, so you only ever need to publish site content once. Responsive sites are easier to manage.
So, when would we consider an adaptive website design? Well, if you have an existing desktop website and you are happy with the design but just want to make it more mobile friendly then usually an adaptive design would be the easiest and cheapest way forward. It would mean that we don’t need to redesign the whole site, we simply need to move all the content across to an adaptive fileset.
Responsive Web Design Benefits
In addition to affordability and easier content management, there are a number of other benefits from responsive site designs.
The Pros of a Responsive Site Design
Good User Experience
With a responsive website, every user will have a fluid viewing experience, no matter the device they are using. With the number of mobile users now rising higher than desktop users, it is essential that your company provides your site visitors with an optimal user experience that offers seamless browsing with easy data entry and a simple checkout process.
Search Engine Benefits
Whilst Google accepts both adaptive and responsive mobile solutions, it still recommends using responsive web designs. When you deliver your site on a single URL you reduce load time on the server and faster sites will rank higher in search results. In addition, with mobile websites that use the same URL as the desktop site, it becomes easier to manage the landing pages on your PPC campaigns.
Simplified Analytics and Reporting
By maintaining a single URL, you make it much easier to analyse the date in Google Analytics. User behavior, demographics, bounce rates and general site performance are all consolidated in a single report. This makes everything easier to measure and conversion rates are easier to evaluate.
A Single URL That Saves Customer Confusion
Less experience web users may find it suspicious when the URL changes from www. to m. It can be confusing to some users so maintaining the same www. throughout all URL’s just eliminates any uncertainty.
One Single Website With One Fileset Saving Space on the Server
If you’re running everyhting from one fileset then sever space is lower than adaptive sites that need at least two filesets. This can save money on hosting plans that charge for storage space.
One Single Website Means One Single Publishing Task.
If you’re running it all on one URL then every time you publish it will automatically appear on desktop and mobile versions of your site. Conversely, adaptive designs can mean that you have to publish conent on both file sets.
The pros outweigh the cons but there are some negatives worth considering.
The Cons of a Responsive Website Design
More Difficult to Develop Due to the Single Fileset for All Screen Sizes.
From a coding persepctive, it can make life harder for a developer to ensure that one file is rendering for all screen sizes and orientaions. It’s easier for a developer to have two filesets, albeit more time consuming.
Less Adaptive Due to the Single Fileset.
If you wanted to have a completely different mobile site then responsive solutions can be limiting in this regard. Adaptive sites are as the name would suggest (more adaptive).
Adaptive Web Design Benefits
The Pros of an Adaptive Website Design
Adaptability and coding simplicity are the main advantages of an adaptive website design. These sites use multiple filesets that allow a greater degree of flexility and make it easier to tailor custom content experiences to different audiences.
When we need to take a live site that’s not currently mobile friendly onto a mobile platform, then quickly creating an adaptive fileset is a great way to make it mobile ready. Using an adaptive design makes the coding simpler as multiple filesets allow a greater degree of flexility, making it easier to tailor custom content experiences to different audiences.
The Cons of an Adaptive Website Design
A different URL can sometimes cause customer confusion as changing from www.yoursite.com to m.yoursite.com can be unexpected. These sites are often totally different in look and feel from the main desktop site so unfamiliarity is also a concern.
An adaptive site needs an additional fileset to work. This required extra server space and server resources which can slow the site down and cause a knock on effect in the site rankings.
A less serious downside is the canonicalisation issues to resolve the URL. It means you need to inform Google to avoid duplicate content penalties but this is easy to overcome and is more of an inconvenience than a disadvantage.
Managing multiple filesets is possibly the biggest disadvantge of adaptive websites. It can results in more expensive development of the website through time as mltiple site can often means multiple publishing.
Learn more about Glasgow Website Designer’s mobile ready website solutions
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