While waiting for a friend in a coffee shop the other day, I couldn’t help noticing how people are so attached to their mobile devices, tablets and smartphones. These gadgets are no longer being used just for making calls, but for surfing the internet, playing online games, and sharing news and events with friends on social networking sites. I noticed a couple taking pictures of the food that they ordered, and then instantly posting these photos to, I believe, a popular photo sharing site called Instagram. I didn’t mean to intrude or eavesdrop to other people’s businesses. However, one thing struck me that very moment, and that is, the effects and changes that mobile devices have brought to daily living. People are simply so attached to their mobile gadgets that they can’t live without these things anymore. This makes me think about responsive web design as an essential tool for online businesses to promote themselves better and reach out to a much wider audience.
Responsive Web Design – Currently the State of the Art
Studies have shown that by the end of 2013, more internet surfing will be done using mobile devices than desktop computers. Mobile devices are not only handy, but their functions have significantly improved over the years. Think about it for a minute. You don’t just use your mobile phone for making calls, but also for searching on the internet for the products and services that you need. For example, if you want to buy a gift for your friend, the easiest way to shop is to go online using your smartphone and immediately order the items that you like. Buying airline tickets, concert tickets, gift vouchers, and even making appointments with the dentist are often done using handy tablets or smartphones, because these things are lighter, easier to bring along with you, and now offer the same capabilities as a desktop computer or a laptop.
So Where Does Responsive Web Design Come In?
Responsive web design allows you to make your website look good when searched on not just one, but multiple devices. It takes into consideration the different sizes and shapes of mobile phones, desktop monitors, laptops, and tablets among others, and how a website appears in these gadgets. The layout, content and overall appearance of a website is optimized, so that the site looks good regardless of the device being used. Thus, a more favorable response can be elicited from a prospective client who browses your site using a smartphone. A business that wants more clients should definitely consider responsive web design as an up-to-the-minute way to be found, create a lasting impression, and ultimately generate more sales.
Keeping Up with Tablet and Smartphone Internet Users
Competition is always present for any business. In fact, it is even greater these days because of social media and its ability to reach out to a global audience. People find products and services online because of a referral or as a result of searches. Your target market may either find you or your competition. Responsive web design offers a way for you to rise above competition. You get to target not just PC users, but also the growing market of mobile phone and tablet users; thus broadening your scope and improving every site visitor’s experience. Here are the top 5 reasons why responsive web design is the right tool to grow your business:
• It is currently the best and most practical solution. Responsive web design allows you to target various types of audiences while maintaining a single website. It makes use of the so called “fluid grids” that automatically adapt to the device being used to search a particular website. As a result, the layout of a site either expands to suit large monitors, or squeezes itself to suit smaller smartphone screens. The website becomes versatile, designed to enhance and maximize the enjoyment of the person viewing it.
• It does result in an increase in sales. Studies conducted by Google have shown that 9 out of 10 online searchers have bought a product or service as a result of using their smartphones. When your target market finds you online, it is a make-or-break situation. They either stay on your site and take action, or leave your homepage, and totally forget about your business. Responsive web design offers an enhanced visual impact for your audience, making your site more engaging and responsive to their need for excellent site presentation.
Solid Advantages to Having a Responsive Website
• You gain a competitive advantage. According to recent studies, smartphone users leave a website when it doesn’t load within 5 seconds. Since responsive web design is tailor-made for various devices, your site loads immediately; thus giving your prospective clients a reason to stay and view what you have to offer. When paired with creative, intelligent content and a fantastic layout, responsive web design places your business on a much higher platform.
• It works well with Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Since you are only managing one website for multiple devices, search engines like Google can easily index your site and make it easily found by people searching for it. You can develop one effective and unified SEO strategy, and market your site with one set of links. You save time, money, and effort in managing your business, while giving yourself the benefits of enhanced audience impact and a greater potential for increased sales.
• It is social media friendly. Many people nowadays use their smartphones and tablets to take pictures, and then post these photos instantly for friends to see. For example, a dental patient satisfied with his dentist, may post a picture of the dental practice together with a link. Since responsive web design is made to suit multiple devices, people clicking on the link will have no trouble viewing your webpage and finding out more about you. Studies have shown that 245 is the average number of friends of one Facebook user. Think how many potential customers you can target, basing from this number. Responsive web design allows you to generate more “likes” on your Facebook page as well, that can lead to an increased awareness of your business, ultimately translating to higher sales.
Responsive Websites Taking the Web by Storm
Since responsive web design is relatively new, there are still a lot of websites that maintain an outdated site presentation. They are either unaware of or have misjudged the impact that responsive web design is having on online marketing. There are many online businesses that need access to the knowledge and skill to put together a website that’s responsive, versatile, and adaptive to various devices. Responsive web design isn’t just one piece of software that you can just add to your existing programming, but rather a set of techniques and strategies. It is, therefore, essential to partner with web designers and developers who are knowledgeable and informed about this new way of designing a website. These people may demand a higher fee, but the layout, content and overall appeal of your website is tailor-fit to suit the various types of devices people use to surf the internet.
Let Your Customers See You From Wherever They Are
In the world of online marketing, responsive web design is clearly the right way to move forward. With the constant advent of new devices, responsive web design is the answer to the many necessities and demands of a website owner. You are more easily found by potential customers, elicit a favorable action as a result of being found, and can encourage your customers to refer you to their network of friends. Choose to be on the right track, and adapt to the changing needs of the consumer. Responsive web design is the key to a brighter future for your online practice.
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