Go back ten years and the internet was a very different place, navigated by mouse and keyboard from laptops and desktop computers. Today is very different. Consumers interact with the web from dozens of different devices. In the course of a single day, it is not at all unreasonable to expect a single user to access the internet from 3-4 different devices. Unlike software websites aren’t built for specific devices, and yet, ideally, they still have to work no matter how the user gets to them. Today’s answer to this problem is the Responsive Web Design, a collection of web design techniques which allow a site to recognize the relative screen size of the user’s display and rearrange its content to offer a more compelling UI.
For online businesses, this technology is a godsend. No longer do businesses need to worry about their leads and conversions being hampered by unoptimized designs or confusing redirects—Responsive Web Design is a modern must-have.
Here are 5 examples of how RWD improves conversions for online businesses.
1. Avoid mobile bounces
The main reason to update to a responsive design is to provide a mobile-optimized user experience to the ever-increasing number of visitors who browse on their smartphones or tablets. Using a non-optimized website on a mobile device is a frustrating task and rarely worth the user’s effort—since at this point, odds are good that they can find a similar website out there that provides a mobile interface (i.e. your competition).
We commonly talk to clients who report 25% mobile traffic on their websites, though some sources on the web report the global average (smartphone and tablet combined) is closer to 35%. That number has only grown larger and larger, and don’t expect that trend to change. We are getting close to the tipping point, where smartphone and tablet browsing will encompass >50% of global web browsing, but why wait until then? Can anyone really afford to lose ¼ of their traffic?
2. Provide a more modern experience to all users
Updating to a responsive design naturally means implementing some significant design changes. You can’t just take your ten year old website and “make it responsive.” Responsive design includes not just the technical stuff (the specific CSS that allows for the site to arrange itself according to the user’s display) but also a general design ethos revolving around mobile displays.
You see, old designs aren’t just ugly on mobile devices—by today’s standards, they’re ugly on any device. Web design evolves over time, a bit like fashion, and has taken a lot of trends from mobile to incorporate better user experiences across the board. Upgrading your website allows you to stay modern and provide the best experience possible.
3. Unify your web experience
Sometimes users will visit your site multiple times before committing to a sale or sign-up. If you currently offer a separate URL for mobile users, the differences between the desktop and mobile sites can decrease the conversion rate for these visitors. One common instance where this occurs is in the case where your mobile site does not include a few of the resources or features available on the desktop side, so that when the user visits via smartphone, they are unable to accomplish what they expected to achieve. Similarly, if the organization of the website is changed between the two sites, a user who is accustomed to navigated one side may face confusion or frustration when using the other.
Ideally both sites should be as similar as possible, but this can be hard to achieve when managing two different URLs through two different CMS’s. The advantage of a responsive design in contrast to this is that you will use a single URLs to serve all users, thereby avoiding all of that potential confusion and chaos and serving a naturally unified experience no matter what device the visitor uses.
4. Improved SEO for relevant traffic
Improving your SEO won’t improve your conversion rate; but if you do it right, it absolutely will improve your raw conversion totals, due to the increase in traffic it drives. RWD is an extremely SEO friendly design technique. For one thing, managing content and HTML tags on the site will be no different than on a traditional website, with the advantage of not having to do anything twice for your second mobile URL.
ALso note that it is the official, preferred method of mobile optimization for both Google and Bing, and can be detected by crawlers. Obviously we don’t know what kind of impact this data will have within the mysterious ranking algorithms, but we do know that Google takes it into account.
One great thing about responsive design is that you have a lot of flexibility in how you display your site to users of various devices, and you can adjust things slightly to cater to each one a bit better. For instance, a banner navigation bar can turn into a dropdown menu for small screens. This is very important to note, because you may want slight changes to your interface when optimizing the conversion funnel for mobile versus desktop.
So, if you wanted the big “Contact Us” button to direct desktop users to your email address, but to your phone number for mobile, that’s totally doable, and you can use these little tricks to optimize your conversion on different devices. Optimizing conversion requires lots of experimentation, and RWD is flexible enough to roll with the punches as you dial in on that perfect set-up.
Well, that post came out a lot longer than expected! But what can I say? Responsive web design is pretty great, there’s a lot of benefits to switching over. If you want to get a more personalized appraisal of the pros and cons, you can get in touch with one of @SoftwaredevIn web designers and avail of #ValentinesDay attractive offers for your website. You can call 408.802.2885 or email email@example.com to get the conversation started.
We look forward to hearing from you. Talk to you soon!