Mobile sales have already overtaken desktop sales, as has internet usage. Stats indicate that mobile use, for small business sites, is roughly 60%. Google’s move towards semantic “voice” search confirms that this is definitely where the web is heading.
Rapid smartphone and tablet adoption over the past few years have made having a mobile-friendly website essential. If SEO and content marketing are core components in your digital marketing strategy, having a mobile-ready responsive website, that formats the layout and content to the user’s device and screen, is a no-brainer.
Google loves “responsive”
According to a study released by Google, “What Users Want Most From Mobile Sites Today,” conducted by Sterling Research and SmithGeiger in July 2012,
- 61% of users said that if they didn’t find what they were looking for right away on a mobile site, they’d quickly move on to another site,
- 79% of people who didn’t like what they found on one site would go back and search for another site, and
- 50% of people said that even if they like a business, they will use them less often if the website isn’t mobile-friendly.
Google recommends responsive web design:
“Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”
The “Big 5” search engine algorithms favour responsive
Google, Bing, Yahoo!, Facebook, and now Twitter ad networks are finding it much easier to monetize mobile, because they are able to aggressively blend the ads right into the search results. These ads have a much higher click through rate than those shown on desktop and laptop computers.
It now goes beyond delivering a better user experience. It’s worth billions to the big search engines to favour responsive mobile-friendly websites in their search results.
On April 21, Google began rolling out their Mobile-Friendly update, often referred to as “Mobilegeddon”:
“Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and will have a significant impact in our search results.”
You can check your site in their Webmaster Tools at https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly/.
Switching to responsive design translates to profits
To the website owner, responsive web design means: one website, many devices. A responsive website provides a great user experience across many devices and screen sizes.
A website that optimizes content to whatever device and screen size the visitor has, reduces bounces. The more visitors that stay on your website, the better your chances of presenting your company’s story and content, obtaining a subscriber you can influence over time, gaining a lead and ultimately a new customer. When they leave in frustration, because your site is just horrible to use on their device, you’ve got absolutely nothing.
It’s expensive to build and maintain separate desktop site, tablet site and smartphone sites. When you choose a fully responsive design, rather than separate mobile solutions, design and development costs go down. Choosing responsive design means there’s only one website, one version of all content and one SEO strategy.
At Cole Wiebe + Partners, every website we build is responsive. This is our process:
1. Website Audit
On each re-design/upgrade project I begin by auditing your existing website and the results achieved with that website, and the marketing strategy behind it. I evaluate its strengths and weaknesses, and review the content, architecture and server setup.
I will then consult with you, discussing my findings and making some initial recommendations.
In the discovery process that follows, we will discuss your needs, goals and desired outcomes. To make your goals achievable, they need to be clearly defined and progress must be measurable.
We create customer personas. Not only are we looking for the customers you’ve had the most success in attracting in the past; we want to know who your ideal customer is. Once I know the audience we’re targeting, and the products and services we’re marketing, it’s time for keyword research and mapping out the content silos and superior navigation we need to build to effectively present that content. At the end of the day, your website is a content presentation platform.
We determine what content must be created, and if it will be included in the re-design project. I’m an SEO copywriter, so having me write your content is usually the best solution. I have personally been writing marketing copy for 28 years.
For your project to be successful, we must be on the same page as far as the strategy for achieving your site’s objectives goes, and the implementation. Based upon my findings during the discovery process, I will prepare a strategic brief for your approval. A functional specification document is also prepared for the design department.
Storyboards are created, wireframes prepared (simple visual layouts) to define key layout areas, and I will begin creating visual mock-ups in Photoshop for you.
You will be presented with design layouts. These layouts are reviewed by you and refined/revised until approved. Upon sign-off on the design, the project is ready to move into production.
In the production phase of the project, the Photoshop layouts are “coded” into a functional website.
All of our design and development work is now responsive, so the designs look good on all popular browsers and devices.
6. Content Population / SEO Strategy
In most projects, SEO copywriting will have been going on behind the scenes while the design and production is carried out, and it’s now time to enter all that content into the page shells we created.
7. Training & Support
Our Responsive Web Design projects include a series of tutorial videos, covering all common maintenance and content creation functions, screencast by completing the tasks on your new live site. I am also available by phone or email, to answer questions after launch.