There’s no denying that your clients are all going mobile.
- 70% of online searches result in action in one month. 70% of mobile searches lead to action within 1 hour. (Mobile Marketer, 2012)
- 9 out of 10 mobile searches lead to action and more than 50% lead to purchase. (Search Engine Land)
- 61% of local searches on a mobile phone result in a phone call. (Google, 2012)
- It is projected that mobile Internet usage will overtake desktop Internet usage by 2014. (Microsoft Tag)
For many businesses, having a mobile-friendly site has become a priority but choosing whether to build a separate mobile website or adapting their current website to use a responsive design is challenging for most. What is the difference and how do you determine which is right for your business?
Understanding the difference between a “mobile website” and a website with a “responsive design.”
Conventionally, a mobile website is a site separate and distinct from your primary website and is specifically designed for mobile devices which have much smaller screen sizes. Whenever a visitor views your site from a mobile device, they are redirected to the dedicated mobile site (usually with an address that looks like this: http://m.yourwebsite.com), which is optimized for a better browsing experience on tablets and smartphones.
Alternatively, a website that makes use of responsive design is a single website (i.e., the same as the desktop version of your site) with a fluid layout that automatically wraps and scales across any device – from the biggest desktop screen to the smallest mobile devices. The term “responsive web design” was first coined in 2010 by Ethan Marcotte and since become a highly recommended solution for taking your website mobile website. However, you are more restricted with your design choices and will need to prioritize your content to ensure potential customers see the most important elements first.
Whether to choose to implement a separate mobile website or adapt a responsive design depends on your business needs. There are pros and cons to using either approach, so understand your audience and their browsing habits before jumping in. This post from the Google Mobile Ads Blog highlights some key points that can help you decide which solution to choose.
Regardless of the direction you decide to take, remember that both dedicated mobile websites and responsive websites serve the same purpose: to give your customer a great viewing experience when visiting your website regardless of the device they’re using. With more and more customers browsing exclusively from their phones, this may be the first time they are experiencing your brand on the web. Make sure it won’t be their last.