The design of your website is hugely important, it is the face of your brand in the digital world. How your website communicates with its audience is vital to delivering brand messages, positive user experience, converting visitors into sales, and most importantly return on investment (ROI).
What is Responsive Website Design
Nowadays the term Responsive Website Design (RWD) gets thrown about a lot. In simple terms, a responsive website moulds to any screen it is displayed on. The page fluidly, shrinks, enlarges or hides content to a fit any browser window size or device.
The aim of RWD is to maintain the layout of your website whilst shifting to different device sizes, and still look amazing. This means that your website has more chance of reaching a wider audience across a range of devices.
Similarly, but not to be confused with, Adaptive Website Design (AWD) will change the display of your website to suite a specific predefined layout based on what device is being used. This type of design is generally less fluid.
The impact of RWD on Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Your audience is consuming content on-the-go and it’s important that your website gets seen. Mobile devices are a dominating source of online traffic, ranging from smartphones to smartwatches. That’s why the design of your website should focus equally on appearance and function, ensuring it renders to any sized device.
Google revolves around the user, giving them the best experience as well as the most relevant and trusted information. If your website is optimised for mobile viewing, google will typically favour your site over another that is not responsively designed.
Load speed is a well-known factor for ranking well in Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP’s), the faster your site loads the better. If your website is mobile and tablet responsive, it will usually load quicker and therefore boosts its ranking.
If your site doesn’t display well on your visitors chosen device, they will leave your page – this is known as a bounce. Google acknowledges the amount of time users spend on your site, and if it’s not very long, it can be interpreted as irrelevant and therefore sink in ranks.
Social sharing is the ability to share content you love via your social media accounts. If your website is designed with mobile in mind, it makes it easier for your audience to share content, which could boost your site visits. Whilst this doesn’t directly improve SEO, Google recognises that your website has a growing audience and will add to your overall ranking.
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Enhancing user experience through responsive website design.
When developing a website, you should keep the user experience (UX) at the panicle of every decision. Improving your UX will not only promote SEO, but it ensures your visitors are satisfied with your page, in turn increasing the traffic to your website.
Building a responsive website means that when your visitors are using a smartphon , the layout of your website is easy and smooth to navigate through. Buttons and text are respectively in the right size and format, there’s nothing worse than clicking on a link and it opens the one next to it.
Its not just about the text, images can help engage and stimulate your audience as well. Ensuring your images are optimised for any device type is essential. This means building them into the website in an appropriate file formant, size and background type.
If your website is mobile-friendly it makes the sales funnel an easier process to pass through. If your visitor can clearly find what they are looking for they are more likely to reach the call-to-action. For example, if your tracked call-to-action is a checkout button on an e-commerce site, you need to design a responsive website that supports the UX in navigating them easily to the button, converting the visitor into a sale.
5 front-end checklist items to test how well your responsive website performs
#1 Page speed – Measure how long it takes for your website to load and display fully on different screen sizes. Remember that large videos or images can slow down your sites load speed. It may be beneficial to upload your video to an external platform such as YouTube and create a display link rather than directly embedding onto your page. A useful tool that measures your page speed is Pingdom
#2 Test visual optimisation – Check the flow of your page on different devices to make sure the text, images and buttons display properly. When on a mobile device, make sure your content doesn’t roll over the edge of the screen.
#3 Performance and navigation – Its good practice to keep content either left or right aligned or boxed into a set width. This way, you don’t rely on padding or margins to set the layout of your content, making it more flexible when rendering on a mobile or tablet.
#4 Test in different conditions – Location differences, network providers, background app usage – these all effect how your website performs.
#5 Collect data – it may sound obvious, but check you are collecting analytics from both mobile and web traffic. Understanding how mobile contributes to your overall engagement is crucial. If you have a responsive website, measure what matters.
Remember – all screens are not alike, responsive website design will future-proof your website for all devices, making sure you reach your widest audience possible. Read more about the results we have achieved through effective website design