Although the internet is an integral part of almost everyone’s life these days, it hasn’t been with us all that long, in the scheme of things. It is changing so fast it sometimes is hard to keep up and you don’t have to take your eye off the ball for long before your website can be a little old hat. An out of date design used to simply be a matter of it looking a little tired but nowadays not keeping up can be a disaster, because if your website is not responsive you will lose a huge client sweep because these days it is not about looking good on a desktop PC or laptop but on all different kinds of devices, from smartphones to tablets. If your website isn’t set up to respond differently depending on where it is viewed, it will not be seen by an increasing number of people; some commentators are predicting that conventional laptops and PCs will be all but obsolete in just a few years from now.
Keep up with technology
Change in the IT world is constant and so no one is saying you have to change your website with every new thing that appears. What you need to do is have your website ready to absorb changes and by having a responsive website you are halfway there. With tablets and phones being most people’s preferred way of browsing – often to while away a commute or lunch break – your website needs to be able to change its look to suit these platforms because no one is going to make a note of a website that won’t launch and then look it up when they get home to their desktop PC – if it isn’t providing a good experience on a tablet or other device, they just won’t bother with it and that’s a customer lost, just like that. If your website crosses their path again and is still not responsive then that really is it for you – they will probably tell their friends not to bother either!
Catch the leads while they are there
There has been a recent research project undertaken (by Search Engine Land) that shows that 90% of all mobile searches on tablets and mobiles lead to action, and of those over half result in a sale. This far exceeds the hit rate from anyone using a PC or laptop so must be taken seriously. Google recommend responsive website design simply because ‘having a single URL for desktop and mobile sites makes it easier for Google to discover content and for Google’s algorithms to assign indexing properties to the content.’ This applies to all other search engines as well of course and not having a responsive website can mean that your site hardly gets seen at all, let alone results in a sale. Website design and upkeep can eat up an advertising budget and so ‘saving’ by not having a revamp to make it responsive is a very foolish financial decision, however you look at it.
DIYers can still have a responsive website
Many small business owners have websites which they have designed themselves and they worry that this will rule them out of the new responsive drive. This is far from being the case – a short browse on the net will result in any number of ‘how to’ articles and even videos to show you how to do it. Essentially, you have to create some style sheets – and there are loads of templates available for free – which will ensure that your website will look right no matter how it is being viewed. Unlike building a non-responsive website where you can go back adding and tweaking until it is just right, you really need to get everything planned in advance with a responsive website so it works properly across all platforms before you launch it. Remember – people don’t go back to sites that don’t work properly, so you may only have one chance at getting that vital customer’s attention. If you have forms or videos, you really must get them working from day one – no one is going to try again and again to contact you if it doesn’t work at once.
If you don’t know your website’s status, check it out
If you really are a computer dunce, you might be struggling to know whether your website is responsive or not. Some web designers call websites which have a mobile friendly reduced site available ‘responsive’ but they are not. It isn’t hard to check – find a teenager (they all have tablets and smartphones) and get them to check your website out. If they aren’t pleased with what they see, then the chances are your website is not responsive so you need to get it changed NOW!