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Why designing a responsive website is essential for your business

Prior to the arrival of data plans, websites were optimized for computer screens. Today, your audience can visit your website on a computer at lunchtime, then check it out again from an iPhone on the bus and finally from a tablet on their living room couch. In each of these situations, you want the viewing experience to be smooth and efficient, including fillable forms and menu options.

A responsive website design, what is it?

Given that two-thirds of South Africans own a smart phone, adaptability to mobile devices should be the top priority for anyone who has a website or who is responsible for digital content. If it's difficult to navigate your site or see its content from a phone or tablet, you're missing a huge potential audience.

Web designers can choose from three types of mobile configuration:

• Independent mobile site: 
This type of site is hosted in a subdomain of your main site, but it has a different URL. For example, http://www.facebook.com and the mobile version, http://m.facebook.com , are two different URLs that provide access to the same type of content. But Google frowns upon this.

• Adaptive Site: 
The display of pages will fit the width of a browser at a given point. A designer must manually configure these points.

• Responsive site: 
The display of pages will adapt to the size of the browser at any given point and the presentation will be optimized according to the device used.

CSS Tricks illustrates the differences between adaptive and responsive designs.

Not sure about the configuration of your web pages? You could view your site from multiple devices, but it takes a lot of work. The Am I Responsive website? Is one of many sites that will show you what your site looks like on a wide range of devices?

Having a responsive website can help your business in many ways

Improving your SEO

Google has made it clear that it focuses on responsive website design over all other types of mobile site setup. When search engines browse your web page, they only need to do it once if your site is responsive, which helps them index your pages faster. Your content is up to date in search engines, which will improve your SEO potential. Even if independent mobile sites are operated by the same company, it is possible to determine that they represent duplicate content or that they are ignored.

Support for an Omni channel marketing strategy

Consumers are looking for a seamless brand experience across all your promotional channels, including your websites. With responsive website design, your users will experience the same online experience regardless of their access point. 

Economic solution

Even though 54% of websites still have a separate mobile site for their content, resist the temptation to do the same. Because the primary site and the mobile site have a different URL and include separate (but identical) HTML files, any changes to your content must be made manually on both sites. Your projects can be more expensive, especially if you outsource your design. Why run a computer site and a mobile site when you can only have one?
What can you do?
While having a responsive website is probably not one of the biggest issues you have to deal with, you can streamline the process in a variety of ways.

Use high quality images

Since you do not know what devices your audience uses to view your site, make sure your images have the highest resolution possible. What looks good on a mobile device can look awful on a widescreen TV. If your images contain text, make sure it is readable on small screens.

Be brief

Think about the user who would have to scroll down the page to read your entire ticket. Try to use bulleted or numbered lists whenever possible and keep your titles between 50 and 60 characters, because that's all Google will show when your page is displayed in the results of research.

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