Once upon a time, the world of web design and search engine optimisation was pretty simple. There was only one screen size with minor variations and you could design a single website layout with total peace of mind. But then smartphones, tablets and other portable devices appeared, with wildly different screen sizes. Very inconveniently for web designers, they have proved to be incredibly popular, and with them came the need for websites to be able to recognise the size of the screen they were being viewed on, and adjust to them.
At first, there was no other solution than to create duplicate websites, with simplified versions for each screen size. It was expensive and often unsatisfactory as those websites were far less attractive and functional than their desktop counterparts. This also caused problems for SEO consultants, because it meant that the sites were penalised for having duplicate content. Dammit!
But then out of the wildnerness came a little thing called ‘responsive design’ which has revolutionised the landscape, making it possible to offer complex websites that are just the right size, no matter what device you view them on! And every SEO consultant in New Zealand and over the globe were kept happy, because duplicate content was no longer a headache.
Are mobiles websites really necessary?
And are they good for SEO?
The success of smartphones and tablets is undeniable and recent studies have shown that more than 50% of all internet searches worldwide is now conducted from mobile devices, and that this trend is to increase exponentially, while a third of internet users wouldn’t purchase items from a company that didn’t have a mobile website. In addition, it has also been shown that there is a clear difference in behaviour from users when they access the internet from a mobile device and that they are in ‘buying mode’ and more likely to purchase an item.
Mobile websites have also been seen to increase the average time visitors spend on a site, and brand loyalty, as it gives businesses another opportunity to engage with their client base at a fraction of the cost of an advertising campaign.
Furthermore, the development of geolocation technology has transformed mobile websites into a very flexible marketing device, giving businesses the ability to capitalise on impulse buying and last-minute purchases and target customers very specifically with special deals that can be offered and withdrawn at a moment’s notice.
Need any more convincing? Ok, here goes …
Imagine the following scenario: you had an eye-catching website built. You invested wisely into search engine optimisation, website marketing, sophisticated Google Adword campaigns, and they are all working hand in hand. Your business appears on the fabled first page of Google search results (you better believe it baby), traffic to your site is strong, leading potential customers ready to buy to your website.
Then it all goes wrong. Those visitors who do want to spend their money with your company are actually seeing your website from their smartphones. They can’t see the whole screen without constantly scrolling right, left, up and down. With touch-screen technology, navigation and links may be next to impossible to use. The journey to complete a purchase becomes complicated, lengthy and frustrating. And before you know it, your would-be customers have gone to your competitors who do have a responsive website. Buggar!
Then you wake up in a sweat. It was just a bad dream. Thankfully, you have developed your website marketing strategy with a holistic approach and know that everything works together, and you won’t be the one losing out on significant business!