Woman viewing a website on a mobile phone and a desktop

Why Having a Responsive Design Is Important Going into 2021

October 22, 2020

When it comes to creating and maintaining websites, there are a lot of aspects to think about, as we’ve uncovered in previous posts. Two of these examples are the methods of building your website, either using a DIY builder or through custom designs, followed by an in-depth scope of both of these different website creations are whether your website utilizes a responsive design.

Before we explore further into this topic, let us first explain what responsive design is and then elaborate on why it is so important to have a mobile-friendly, responsive site going into 2021.

What is Responsive Design and Why Choose It?

In early web development, website design was for desktop computers monitor sizes only. What that means to you is these original websites contained intentional blueprints of having a layout large enough for the font to be readable on a computer monitor screen size. With the changing of times comes newer technology and screen widths of laptops, tablets, and mobile phones.

Responsive design is a smart way of creating a single website that serves all devices with the same code that flexes and adjusts for that screen size. While responsive sites are increasing in circulation, you may still be encountering non-responsive sites in which the text or images are so tiny you need to use your thumb and finger to ‘pinch’ the screen to zoom in or out to read the content. Luckily this is becoming something of the past—at least it should be.

Responsive design is enabling us to move away from having more than one version of your website to appease the users picking up their phones to view your web pages. Without responsive pages, webmasters were using mobile site applications for DIY sites or tirelessly creating entire custom pages of websites specifically for mobile use. These ‘mobile websites’ use different CNAME and A records, in combination with custom coding, for detecting if visitors were using a mobile device and, in turn, redirecting that traffic to a mobile version of the site on an entirely different domain zone file. Not only did this barely satisfy the mobile requirement, but it also splits your SEO in two—one for your main ‘desktop’ site and the other for mobile users.

To make matters worse, the coding addition for detecting mobile visitors also force redirect traffic to see the correct site version for the visitor. These redirects would either load a mobile add-on or a mobile theme and, unfortunately, are not always quick. Due to the slower load times for the scripts and pages, it also ends up affecting page views and the patience of the customer. Mobile side-sites and themes generally weren’t very appealing for the traffic seeing it as is, but it also isn’t appealing for your wallet, either.

To sum it up, for their effort, mobile additions are an extra cost, concern, security risk, extra work for maintenance, and one more thing to be out of date! Depending on who the provider is for the mobile side, you may have heard of issues with having the mobile redirects function while having the website secured with an SSL. One is being a security risk and affects your SEO, the other hurt your page ranking and your visibility entirely if mobile users can’t see your web pages! This aspect of mobile viewing is also why it is so critical to make sure that your website is up to date!

Making a mobile-friendly website adds flexibility to its design and makes its creation not just about making the content fit on a mobile device but about control. With device widths specified, such as a laptop or smartphone, you can also disable certain elements. As an example of site control, you can disable parallax or enable a sticky header on a smartphone using CSS/SCSS at set breakpoints. This type of breakpoint control will let you do all sorts of things specific to a tablet, laptop, or phone just by styling it differently (i.e., display: flex;).

In addition to how the sites look and react, a responsive site also helps websites with their page rankings. There is proof that due to the changes in Google’s algorithms for page indexing, a web page with productive mobile configurations will show up first before one without!

Who’s Benefiting From Mobile-Friendly Sites?

The short answer is everyone. Everyone should be benefiting from mobile-friendly websites, but some business types that primarily profit from having a responsive website can include:

  • Taxi Companies or Uber Drivers
  • Restaurants
  • Food Delivery Services
  • Towing Companies
  • any business or organization offering reservations like theatres or other events!

Due to COVID-19’s pandemic affecting consumers, online shopping has increased dramatically already in 2020. Having a website is always a suggested business aspect, especially for brick and mortar stores, but having an online presence during our present crisis is even more crucial.

What Should You Do Next?

There will be two aspects to your next steps, and these are depending on whether you have a website created or not. If you do have a site online, you’ll need to review your situation. Do you have an easy route to responsive design, such as ‘upgrading’ to be responsive, be it changing to a new theme or plugin? Perhaps there could be a nominal fee of some type for responsive changes to your site? If neither of these seems like a possibility, the next options may not be as simple. As a last resort, would rebuilding the website or changing your hosting provider be viable options to remedy the need?

If you need to check if your site is mobile-friendly without having your phone in hand, you can use one of Google’s tools here. No matter what your options are, there are always choices. Choosing to design your website responsively is an encouraging choice for any business. For more good choices, from consultations to our responsive design, reach out to Alley Kat Web Consulting to learn how we can help!