What Is Responsive Web Design?

responsive web design

Have you ever wondered about what this term means? Mashable dubbed 2013 the Year of Responsive Web Design, so it's not a new concept, but many business owners do not understand what it is, why it's important now, why it will be even more important in the future.

First, what is responsive web design? It's "an approach whereby a designer creates a Web page that "responds to" or resizes itself depending on the type of device it is being seen through. That could be an oversized desktop computer monitor, a laptop, a 10-inch tablet, a 7-inch tablet, or a 4-inch smartphone screen."

Back in the Dark Ages when most people browsed the internet via their desktop computers, a company could afford to have a website that was designed to see on a computer monitor. It needed to be tailored so as to be viewed properly on a variety of different internet browsers, but screen size didn't really factor in. Now, of course, people access the internet more on their phones than they do on either desktop or laptop computers, and they also use tablets and phones of varying sizes.

If your business's website is designed for desktop only, it is not going to show well to your audience of current and potential customers. Some information might not be visible at all, other parts of the screen may be cut off. Large images may take forever to load on phones or not load at all. It will be confusing and off-putting, two adjectives you do not want people to use to describe your website.

Responsive web design is a solution. With this kind of design, your website is coded to automatically adjust itself based on the device the viewer is using. Images resize themselves. A three column desktop site becomes one column only on a mobile phone. Wordpress designs are available to allow for this kind of flexibility, and a good web developer can ensure that your website is ready for any traffic it will receive, no matter the device.

Why is this important right now? It's a priority because Google is going to be changing its algorithm to one with mobile-first indexing. Two years ago Google pushed companies to make their websites mobile friendly by rewarding companies with mobile websites with higher search rankings and penalizing companies who lagged behind on mobile. Now Google is recognizing that more people are viewing the web through mobile devices so it's now re-indexing the web with a preference for mobile sites over desktop ones.

Many companies responded to Mobilegeddon two years ago by creating mobile websites in addition to their desktop versions. The two sites did not necessarily contain the same content, and many mobile sites were designed to contain only what the business thought were the essentials. The shift to mobile-first indexing will make that desktop content less available in searches and result in lower rankings for companies who used this type of solution. In order to avoid that outcome, Google is recommending using responsive web design instead. Businesses need to make sure that all their content is available to internet users no matter how they are accessing the web.

If your company has concerns about mobile traffic, responsive web design, or Google search rankings, Corporate Conversions is here to help. We would love to consult with you about how you can get and keep more traffic coming to your website and convert that traffic to actual sales. Call us today for a free consultation. 

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