Mobile devices take the lead: what this means for your web strategy

A clean, responsive website design has never been more important for your business

Jötnar Systems, Alister Brenton

It's official.
The global market share of mobile devices (including tablets) has overtaken desktop devices. This means that, on average, it is marginally more likely that a visitor to your website will be viewing it on a phone or a tablet as opposed to a desktop computer. As a result, making sure your website caters to these devices has never been more important to your business.

Historically, websites have gotten around the issue of mobile-friendliness by serving a different version of the website to desktops vs mobile devices - sometimes with entirely different content and layout. This can present problems such as:

  • Content drift as there are then two versions of a website to update

  • Search engine ranking penalties due to perceived duplicate content

  • Desktop users being linked to the mobile version, and vice versa

These issues can quickly escalate and cause users to become irritated or even abandon the site altogether.

What is a responsive website?
responsive website, without going too deeply into the technical details, is a website which responds and adapts itself to the size of the screen it's displayed on: instead of serving separate mobile/tablet and desktop versions, the design reshapes itself to accommodate the device. As a result:

Everybody sees the same content
Because the desktop and mobile/tablet versions are now the same site, they also have the same content - and if it's updated for one version, it's updated for every version.

Content only exists once
This prevents search engines from penalizing your site for duplicate content, along with ensuring that navigating the site remains a simple, straightforward process for your clients.

No link confusion
Because the site adapts itself, links into the site always go to the same place - whether the link originated from a desktop or a mobile device. This completely removes the possibility of a mobile user being inadvertently directed onto the mobile site, or vice versa

Unified brand image
As a result of both use cases being served by the same website, users on all types of devices will see the same color scheme and brand imagery, presenting a unified image of your brand to your potential clients.

What are the benefits?
Businesses who implement responsive websites generally see the following:

Improved visitor retention
Because the website is now adaptive and displays itself correctly on any device, visitor satisfaction is improved leading them to spend more time on your site.

Increased traffic
This increase in user satisfaction makes it more likely that they will recommend you to friends and colleagues, which leads to an increase in traffic.

Higher conversions
As a result of both the increased traffic and improved user retention, this is likely to lead to both a higher rate of conversion along with an increase in overall sales numbers.

(Source for mobile/desktop market share statistics: StatCounter)

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