Why you Need a Responsive Website Design and Why it Can’t Wait Until Later

2014 is the year of responsive website designs.

And in a world with 2.1 billion mobile-broadband subscribers, it rightfully should be.

87 percent of American adults have a cell phone. 45 percent of them have a smartphone and 90 percent use their smartphones to access the Internet.

In other words, say goodbye to computers to help you surf the web and say hello to the Internet in your pocket.

So, What is a Responsive Website?

Forbes says a responsive website should gracefully adjust to fit on a desktop, tablet and smartphone browser. And it keeps the consumer’s preferences in mind. If you’re looking at a website on your smartphone while you’re waiting in line to buy tacos, for example, you’re not going to stay on the website that takes forever to load or that’s hard to navigate. No, you don’t have time for that. And neither does anyone else these days.

A responsive website has certain features, which we will touch on in a bit, that mobile users want and need to access information quickly and efficiently.

That’s how we built our website—with you, the consumer, in mind.

This is Why you Want One

Everything is shifting to digital. Even newspapers are going online.

Think about how hard it would be to zoom in and out of a standard website on your smartphone. You could easily spend 10 minutes looking for contact information. And today, that’s just not realistic because we’re busier than we’ve ever been before.

Most mobile users access the Internet on the go. They want bigger social media icons, the ability to touch a number and call it from their screen and a site that’s easy to navigate.

If you’re not shifting to a responsive website, you’re missing out and could also be losing business.

What Users are Looking For

Based on a study by Google, 76 percent of mobile users want your office address on your mobile site.

They also want a click-to-call option. I personally love this option because it’s beyond convenient.

54 percent of mobile users want to be able to send you an email with the nifty envelope button found almost everywhere these days.

53 percent want to be able to download a mobile app. If you’re not offering a mobile app, you may lose mobile consumers to a site that does.

Think about it—if downloading the app requires registration—it can turn into a wonderful lead generation tool.

48 percent want direct links to your social networks. Who doesn’t love checking out someone’s Pinterest page? Or maybe they’d rather reach out to you on Facebook. Either way, it’s nice to have options.

41 percent of mobile users want to be able to play a video because it’s hard to read text on a mobile phone.

Try this: Place a short video of you on your home page and tell the world why you love working in real estate. Studies show that video increases conversion rates by over five times, so it definitely won’t hurt

78 percent of mobile users want to land on a page that’s easy to navigate and be able to find what they’re looking for in one or two clicks.

Also, make sure you have a search bar that’s easy to find and use. After all, it’s much easier to do a quick search in the search bar than it is to manually search a site.

Customers also want an option to visit the nonmobile site. This does not apply if you choose to build a mobile-responsive site, but is especially important for redirected mobile websites. Redirected mobile sites tend to have limited content, so giving the consumer the option to head over to the full site (even if it isn’t designed for mobile use) is important.

What Will a Mobile Website Cost

If you have a relatively simple brochure website for your business, says Forbes, modifying your existing website may cost you as little as several hundred dollars to a few thousand.

But if you haven’t redesigned your website in several years, chances are you’ll need to go through a complete redesign process and then in that case, there is no set number for how much it will cost. Simply put, it will “depend on a number of factors.”

If you have a vendor you work with you on your website, simply ask them if it’s possible to overhaul your existing website to be responsive, and what it will cost.

First Step: Layout

First you’ll need to choose a layout or grid system.

Wall Street Journal blogger, Rob McCann found most open source grids accommodate a basic site structure with navigation suitable for most blogs. But, just because there aren’t any ready-to-go templates for a larger more complex, ad supported site doesn’t mean you can’t go mobile in a responsive way, McCann says.

Second Step: Page Performance

It’s important to analyze the actual performance of individual pages and the easiest way to do this is to set-up a third party monitoring system.

Try New Relic to gauge the quality of our site’s performance.

The tool sits on top of your web application to monitor every request while providing a code-level diagnostic that relays information such as how long it took for the user to load the page and what processes are taking the most time, both internally and externally. This makes it much easier to identify and correct pain points down to the individual page or a specific server or service.

Responsive design isn’t focused on the latest HTML trick or the best use of imagery, Rob McCann says. It’s meant to anticipate users’ behaviors on smartphones and tablets, away from a desktop, and ask, “How would consumers use our site on the go? How can we maintain traffic and ad revenue across devices?”

Only you know what’s best for your customers. Think outside of the box and use your creativity to create the delicate balance between providing enough functionality, while still maintaining a streamlined look and feel.

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