You’ve probably heard about responsive web design in and around Kelowna. It involves building a website so it adapts to any device—desktop computers, tablets, and smartphones. But is that enough? As Kelowna web designers, a lot of our Twin Creek Media clients are asking: Do we need a responsive web design or a separate mobile website?
Well, that depends. And the answer might be both.
First, what’s the difference between responsive web design and mobile-specific sites?
Responsive web design automatically adjusts the size of your content to suit the screen, but the content and features of your site stay the same. Think of all the variations as ‘mini-sites.’ Same site, just smaller, but still legible and easy to navigate.
Dedicated mobile sites allow you to customize the content of your site to suit the mobile user’s specific needs. A separate website is created as a subdomain of the main website. When the full website detects that the user is using a mobile device, it will redirect the user to the mobile version of the full website. Instead of a lengthy welcome message and sliding images, your dedicated mobile site might show simple, bright icons so visitors can get directions, call for an appointment, or review rates—actions suited to visitors on the road.
Now that you understand the different features of responsive versus mobile sites, you’re probably wondering, which kind of site design is best for my business?
That depends on what kind of business you have. Here are three key questions to ask:
1. Who are your customers?
A strong understanding of your target audience will help you determine if you need a separate dedicated mobile site. If your customers are aged 75+ and don’t use smartphones to shop or research, and they make their purchases by walking into your medical supplies store, then a responsive site is probably better.
2. How are your customers accessing your site and why?
Your Kelowna web design expert will be able to help you interpret your Google Analytics so you can see which devices visitors are using to access your site and the content each of those types of users are accessing the most. If a lot of your traffic is from mobile users requesting reservations or directions to your restaurant, a mobile site makes sense. (And you’ll want to call a mobile web design team today!)
3. What are you selling?
If you’re a bookkeeper, the average Joe probably won’t visit your site from a mobile device because your customers don’t need to find you immediately, and you’re not selling anything online. On the other hand, if you own a pizza shop, you need to cater to hungry customers looking for fast food from the backseat of a car. If you offer e-commerce to impulse buyers, you’ll want to feed those mobile users’ needs with a site just for them.
For a closer look at the benefits of going mobile, check out our post Why Your Business Needs a Mobile Website.