Does My Small Business Need a Responsive Site?
Adaptability is a buzzword in the world of business (both big and small business) these days. Changing in response to customer needs or new situations can be the difference between big success and fizzling out. According to Entrepreneur Magazine, being adaptable as a business owner – and as a person! – can lead to growth, increase your creative thinking, and prompt initiative. With so many benefits, it’s easy to see and understand the benefits of being adaptable – but did you know that this same principle applies to your website?
In the case of a website, this adaptability is called “responsiveness,” and refers to how the site responds to changes in the display. And while the overall design of your site is certainly important and lends credibility, whether your website changes for the device on which it’s being viewed can be a factor that makes or breaks your site.
What is a “Mobile Responsive” site anyway?
When you look at your small business website on your computer, you probably get a sense of pride. The format is just right, your content is up to date, your contact information and hours are proudly displayed next to a list of your staff or a calendar of your special events.
Now, grab your smartphone and pull your website up on your browser. Does your site look slightly different, but still neat and tidy, with all of your drop down menus condensed into one easy place? Or does it look like design elements have squished themselves into various corners, or does the site look just like the desktop version, just far too small for anyone to read or navigate effectively? If it looks like the second and third options, your site isn’t mobile responsive.
According to Tungsten, a mobile responsive website has “dynamic content that changes, [condensed navigation],” and is “reliant on mobile operating systems to function.” This means that your website is easy to navigate on a phone, tablet, or other devices, and automatically updates its appearance based on the device being used.
Why do I need one?
According to SmartInsights, the majority of users are now “multi-platform,” meaning they view websites on several devices, whether phones, desktops, laptops, or tablets. The fact that most users are regularly on more than one device means that it’s more important than ever to make sure that your website can be easily read across all of them. In addition, Search Engine Watch reports that the 3rd annual Mobile Path-to-Purchase report states that around “60% of consumers used mobile exclusively to make a purchase decision in the categories of… restaurants, auto, and entertainment.”
How can this be? Imagine the scenario: the average consumer sees your restaurant as they drive past one day and wonders aloud if they should visit. Their passenger types in a quick Google search and sees that you have great reviews, and clicks on your website to check the menu. If your site is mobile responsive, it’ll be a snap for that customer to know that your food is just what she likes, that she can easily eat within her dietary restrictions, and that her son’s peanut allergy can be accommodated, and potentially even set up a reservation with a few taps!
If your site isn’t responsive, she may instead get frustrated at how difficult it is to navigate, tell herself that she’ll look you up later, when she’s on a desktop, and quickly forget by the time the car arrives at its destination.
The benefits to having a mobile responsive website absolutely merit the added effort – and luckily, it’s easier than ever to make sure your site is mobile responsive! The easiest test is simply to navigate to your site on your own smartphone, but if you prefer browsers, Google offers a Mobile-Friendly test. Simply enter your URL and Google will not only let you know if your site is friendly but offer helpful tips on how to make it more mobile-friendly. Other resources, such as BrowserStack.com, will let you type in your URL and see how it will appear across several kinds of device. From there, you can contact your webmaster or use a simple online site builder to ensure that your site is an easy resource!