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October 7, 2015

Why Responsive Design Matters to Your Website

By Kate Ellis
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In a world where everyone is on their phone all the time, responsive design is a must!

Did you miss our awesome #MagnetMarketers session on why responsive design is important for websites? No worries, we got you covered. Here’s what we discussed, featuring Jessika Phillips and Mike Gingerich.

With the rise of mobile viewers, it’s so important to design with mobile in mind. That way, regardless of platform, users will be able to have a great web viewing experience. And with new the new Google Hummingbird algorithms introduced earlier this year, it’s even more important to design with the mobile user in mind.

This is called responsive design. It incorporates design that is easily viewable so that web pages work on any screen size. The website moves, snaps, and stacks elements to make sure it is easy to view no matter if a visitor is using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Don’t know if your website is responsive? Check here!

This is different than how web pages were designed even three years ago. Technology moves quickly! Old websites would shrink the web page down, but that was unfriendly to mobile viewers, who would have to zoom and pan to see the information they wanted and needed.

Most of us know phone and tablet usage has grown, even surpassing laptop and computer views. People are using their phone anywhere and everywhere they are. We are literally always on our devices and many of us are afraid to put our phones down for even a minute!

For usability, it makes sense to use a design that is friendly to those mobile users. But why switch if you have a mobile app? Good question.

First off, a mobile app should add something new, a utility or specific purpose. Often this is for users who are already familiar with you. The app should have something special for them your website doesn’t offer. Think about it, if we are always on our phones. that often means we have them filled with what we need. If a user doesn’t need your app, they aren’t going to download it.

Your website, on the other hand, is all about making it easy for people to find you and mobile apps will not show up in search results. Thus, you’ll want to have an option for those viewers who are in search of information.

For example, if a person is walking down the street and searching for something with their phone, a mobile app will not be indexed and will not be part of the search results. You might be losing valuable visitors who would be interested in what you have to offer, but they aren’t finding your site because it’s not mobile friendly.

This leads us into one of the biggest reasons to use responsive design. Search Engine Optimization!

With the newest Hummingbird update, Google has decided, for the first time, that mobile is significant enough that websites will be ranked based on if a site is mobile friendly. This is huge! Now Google will take into account not only content but structure of your website. They will even penalize website who aren’t friendly to mobile users.

That means if your website is designed to be responsive it will rise to the top, and if it’s not could fall to the bottom of search results. That’s either very good news for you or very bad news!

So how do you start to design for mobile users?

By designing “backward” or thinking of mobile first. You’ll have more accessibility, better flow, and by using simple elements, a webpage that is friendlier for everyone. Thinking responsive and mobile first will help make sure everything is seamless from start to finish, regardless of platform.

Responsive design is only one update that will take your website and help get those views you want. And you’ll be planning for the future. Update one part of your website now and it will be updated throughout.

Join us on Tuesdays at 4 p.m. est for #MagnetMarketers.

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Tags: responsive design, Responsive Website, Branding & Design

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