With the ever-increasing usage of mobile devices (more than 50% of all Google searches are now made from smartphones or tablets), it is crucial that your web site be optimized for both desktop and mobile devices. What is the best way to ensure that your web site works across all platforms? By using so-called responsive design.

In responsive design, the web site reformats itself to adjust to the device on which it is being displayed.

Is your site responsive? A simple test to find out is to open your web site in a desktop browser maximized to the full screen. Then adjust the browser window width and see if the web page reformats itself as you do. Does the menu change position? Do the text and image positions change on the page? If not, your design is probably not responsive or mobile friendly.

For a more official way to know if your web site is mobile friendly, use Google’s mobile friendliness test: www.google.com/webmasters/tools/mobile-friendly.

Why Does This Matter?

It is very difficult to read a traditional web site on an 8-square-inch screen on your phone. You need to zoom in and move around the site several times just to read one sentence. And if Customer Service 101 has taught anything, it’s that you should not annoy customers and prospects.

Also, if you’re not truly mobile-friendly, you could plummet in the search engine results. In 2015, Google made a major algorithm change, referred to as “Mobilegeddon,” which downgrades the mobile search results ranking of sites that are not mobile-friendly.

This change caused not only a drop in organic search for sites that weren’t properly mobile optimized, but also affected pay per click for those sites because unoptimized sites received fewer ad impressions and had higher costs per click versus mobile-optimized sites.

Still need convincing? Here are some major benefits of responsive design.

  • Your business won’t have to maintain two web sites: one for desktop and one for mobile devices.
  • Responsive structure is preferred by search engines. With a responsive site, there is only a single set of pages for search engine robots to crawl and index and a single URL to track.
  • According to Google, 60% of mobile users will go to a competitor’s site if they find your site to be non-responsive. This leads to high bounce rates on non-responsive mobile sites.
  • Responsive design gives your business a single site to focus SEO efforts on rather than both a desktop and mobile version, so your SEO efforts pack more punch.

Fixing a Non-Responsive Site

If your site is already in the WordPress platform, make sure you have a responsive theme. If not, update your theme to one of the many responsive ones available.

If your site is not in WordPress, programming changes can be done to make the site responsive. Ask your web developer about using a fluid layout. Or consider shifting to a WordPress-based site.

The use of mobile devices continues to grow at breakneck rates, and chances are good your business will be left behind if you don’t keep your site current with the continually-evolving developments in digital marketing.

Making your site responsive is one of the simplest, and often least expensive, ways of staying current. Taking a few minutes now to address this issue can ensure that you don’t get left behind.

Terri Hesse is the digital marketing manager at IMPACT Marketing & Public Relations. She can be reached at 410-312-0081 or [email protected].