Do I Really Need a Responsive Website?

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The short and honest answer is YES! But let us explain why.

If you don’t have a mobile-friendly website, it can hurt your search rankings and user experience, which can hurt your business in turn. It's time to get with it—everyone's on their phones, for Pete's sake! Seriously, 52.2% of web traffic in 2018 was on mobile devices

Keep reading to gain insight as we answer FAQs, and learn why having a responsive design is critical to your company’s success.

The Hard Truth Is, You Need A Responsive Website.

Let us explain what a responsive website is, and why you have to have one.

What is a responsive website?

A responsive website (A.K.A. a mobile-friendly website) is a site that uses the same code base across all devices and adapts itself to the screen size of the device it’s being viewed on. For example, if you open www.onsharp.com on a computer, and then open the same site on your phone or tablet, the website should automatically adjust to the screen size of your mobile device or tablet. All of the content, including images and text, should fit on every screen it's pulled up on. Mobile friendly websites are made possible with responsive web design, which is developed by website designers who're up-to-date on best practices for website design.

How do I know if my website is mobile-friendly?

If you’re not sure whether your website is mobile-friendly or responsive, try opening your site on a desktop computer, a mobile device, and a tablet. If your website doesn’t render clearly on one or any of these devices, it’s probably not responsive.

Here's an example of a mobile-responsive website (desktop vs mobile). You can see how the title and description automatically spill into a new line while keeping the spacing consistent. The text is easy to read, and there's adequate margins/padding between the edge of the screen and the text. The navigation is neatly condensed into the hamburger menu (the three horizontal lines in the top right corner of the mobile view).

Onsharp's website in a desktop view as a good example of mobile-friendly websitesOnsharp's website in a mobile view as a good example of mobile-friendly websites

Here's an example of a non-responsive website (desktop vs mobile). Besides having a bad website design to begin with, it does not do the same thing as our website when viewed on multiple devices. Notice how the photos fall of the right margin in the mobile view. That's bad. It also does not resize the content for easier reading, and the menu is not condensed into a more user-friendly navigation on mobile devices. Most people would bounce from this site when they see it on a mobile device (or any other device if we're being honest).

A car parts and services website in a desktop view as a bad example of mobile-friendly websitesA car parts and services website in a mobile view as a bad example of mobile-friendly websites

If you're concerned about if your own website is responsive, there are a number of tools you can use to check, including Google's own Mobile-Friendly Test. All you need to do is enter your web page URL into the box, and it will tell you whether you have a responsive design. If it's not, you'll see something like this.

A results page for the Google Mobile-Friendly Test where the results are bad

Why is it important that my website is able to function all devices?

It's important to have a mobile responsive website because 57% of mobile device users won’t recommend businesses with a poor mobile site design, and 48% think that businesses don't care when they have sites that don’t function properly on mobile.

When you think about it, your viewers don’t need the functionality of a desktop computer on their mobile device—and they might even want to remove some extra content when they’re on a smaller screen. No one wants to shuffle through pages of content just to find your company’s contact information on a phone or tablet, and they won't.

Can I make my website responsive on my own?

If you want to make your website responsive on your own, you’ll need to have a solid understanding of how HTML and CSS work. If you’re already familiar, you can find instructions online that tell you how to do it yourself. Here are a few of my top favorites:

  • Bootstrap - This is the most popular responsive framework currently in use. It is developed, maintained, and used by Twitter. It consists of a very flexible 12-column grid system, and it also has many plugins and other UI components to help you quickly and easily put together a website that looks good on any device. It has a very large number of pre-made themes available. Because of it's popularity, it's easy to find support online if you run into issues using it.

  • Foundation - Foundation is one of the most advanced front-end frameworks available. They provide many features that help quickly and easily build websites, web applications, and email layouts that can target any device. It's also the framework used by many well-known sites like Amazon, eBay, Disney, and more.

  • Yaml - This is a simple framework that doesn't contain a lot of extra bloat that many of the other more popular frameworks have. It's also one of the oldest responsive frameworks, which has proven to make it mature, versatile, and well supported.

Remember, if you’re creating a responsive design yourself, be careful that you don’t add a lot of bloat. If your page takes too long to load, it can decrease your SERP rankings.


Check out our website redesign guide

Are you considering a website redesign? We have compiled our top 21 tips for a successful website redesign. They are easy to understand and include videos, links, lists, and examples to guide you. Click the button below to check out the guide.

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