If you haven’t already realized it, the digital age is here and it is here to stay. If a retailer doesn’t have an online presence then they are losing customers and potential ecommerce. Even if you have a website, when was the last time you updated it? If the answer is more than a year ago, then it’s time to take another look.
Within the last few years, the sales of desktop computers has drastically declined. Mobile devices and tablets are how a large part of consumers are looking at the Internet. In the last year alone, tablet sales have risen 9% while the sales of traditional computers has declined by over 7%.
If a consumer is using a mobile device to view a website that was not intended for the smaller screen then some of the content is lost or distorted. If your website is not geared towards these more compact units then you will be losing ecommerce.
There are two different ways to create a website that is mobile and tablet friendly. You can either create a separate website exclusively dedicated for mobile devices or you can create a responsive website that incorporates features that are usable to both a standard computer and a mobile device.
A dedicated site is a separate website, with its own URL. Frequently, a home page is set to recognize if it is being viewed on a mobile device then it redirects the browser to the dedicated page. The viewer rarely realizes they are being redirected as the URL is disguised behind a masker.
A responsive website contains code which causes the site content to resize itself to fit the screen it is being viewed on. This means that your site uses one URL and the coding, for all devices allowing the content to be viewed without any loss or distortion.
Responsive vs. Dedicated
Both site types can be good for business, it just depends what you, and your company, want out of your website and what resources are available.
A responsive site lets the web crawler more efficiently index your website content. A responsive site is also easy to view from multiple devices, ensuring that your potential customer can see what you have to offer. A single all-encompassing website is generally easier to maintain because everything is stored in one spot and all the content can be shared.
The two problems with a responsive website are speed and design.
- Speed – At one point, sharing content and images between, the devices, meant a slower site response time as it resized and reconfigured. With todays improved technology this is not as much of a problem.
- Design – the small size of many mobile devices means that many complex or subtle graphics are often lost. A company watermark in the background or an elaborate filigree pattern in a corporate logo will not be visible in a small screen. A consumer may also find that the watermark blends into the page content, making it harder to view. Less precision in detailing is required for the smaller screens.
A dedicated website for mobile users means that you can customize their viewing experience. You can add the fine details to the larger screen application without compromising the quality of the mobile site. The dedicated mobile website will also be smaller than its larger screen cousin while consuming less bandwidth and storage space.
A dedicated site has two major issues: space and maintenance
- Resources – You must maintain two separate websites which means more resources are consumed such as bandwidth and storage space.
- Maintenance – Both websites must be in sync with each other. Every update will have to be streamlined to fit both screen formats, meaning twice the programming and twice the manpower.
If you want SEO and search engine ranking then a responsive website is the way to go. Many search engines, such as Google, take factors like bounce rate into account when ranking a site. If a consumer bounces from your site to another, even if the other one is also yours, the engine can see it as the consumer jumping off your website.
The direction you take when updating your website depends on your company goals and the needs of your target audience.