Forbes magazine says your business needs a responsive website!

January 16, 2014 by Roger Smith

graphic depiction of dog holding a smartphone

Everyone is going mobile! Businesses need a responsive web design.

If Forbes says it then it must be true right? Yes indeed though Forbes was by no means the first creditable source so say so, they certainly perked the ears of many business owners.

What exactly is Responsive Web Design?

Take your cursor to the bottom right of your browser window and resize the window…go ahead, I’ll wait. See how this website responds to the size of the browser? This is a responsive website. This responsive website will respond appropriately to the size of any device, smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. The content on this website is be easy to read and locate because this is a responsive web design.

When you are finished reading this article browse around to a few other websites. Resize your browser window…make it the approximate size of a smartphone. How do those websites stack up. Is the content readable without having to zoom in? Can you easily access the menu? How quickly does the page load?

Why should I care if my website is responsive or not?

I can almost guarantee you that if a site visitor lands on your website and they have to pinch and zoom to access or read content of any informative length they will leave. If your website loads too slow on mobile devices, you will loose potential customers to a competitor who does provide them with a pleasurable mobile experience.

Google now returns search results for mobile specific devices. Google assesses the mobile nature of your site and provides more weight to those websites that are optimized for mobile. Google assesses page load times now also.

Not convinced yet? Here is what Forbes has to say:

“If you’ve ignored previous warnings and your business isn’t taking advantage of responsive web design right now or planning on it in the very near future, you are in danger of going out of business in 2014. There are three exceptions to the rule; 1) you don’t depend on your website to stay in business, 2) you have no competitors, or 3) you are familiar with responsive design, you’ve already verified it’s not the right fit for you”

Though I can’t say I completely agree with their dire prediction of going out of business in 2014, I do agree that NOT having a responsive website will cause the user to move on to a website that does offer that experience. There is just too much competition abound that does provide a mobile experience.

Forbes is not the first to recommend Responsive Web Design (RWD)

RWD was a term first coined by web guru Ethan Marcotte from A List Apart a number of years ago. The term and its usage by cutting edge web developers has evolved over the years to a point now where Forbes thinks it best to have a responsive website. In other words it is hit the big time!

Here is what I think

RAS Design Media has been recommending RWD to clients since the beginning of 2013. At that time most clients opted not to go the responsive route. It is a more expensive route to take but one, at this point, that will pay for itself by increasing visitor counts, longer site visit times, reduced bounce-rates and a plethora of other measurable site metrics…not to mention increase your business visibility and conversion rates.

I also believe that the very social nature of mobile devices can be a boon to a business. This instantaneous access and immediate social sharing quality of mobile provides a business direct and 24/7 connection to its customer AND whomever that customer is standing next to. Businesses must leverage this amazing access and level of sharing. To not do so would be a terrible loss…in fact is just does not make any sense to ignore this level of customer access and social sharing.

Over the few years I have monitored mobile statistics. I have followed trends and predictions in an effort to form an opinion of my own that I could confidently pass on to clients. What I have observed is that mobile access is overtaking desktop internet access rapidly. In fact it is widely believed by industry leaders that mobile will over take desktop by 2014. I have observed this trend with clients of my own as I track their site analytics. Many of my clients have seen mobile visits double in 2013 if not triple. Even a new field of “mCommerce” is  gaining traction in the eCommerce industry. Everything is going mobile and so should you.

For full disclosure I should point out that some will argue that their target markets don’t use mobile devices. I would have accepted that argument a year ago. One might argue that their grandma does not use a mobile device (in fact that was one of the last arguments I was willing to accept). Industry numbers indicate a significant rise in mobile access by seniors. I remember walking past and Apple store recently and saw it was filled with folks over the age of 60. The fact is that everyone is going mobile and your business needs to as well in order to remain competitive.

The bottomline

Many websites can be refactored to be responsive. If you are a client of mine your website can probably be refactored because I build table-less websites…always have. Many web designers used or still use table-based layouts which cannot be refactored. Your site will need to be rebuilt from the ground up.

I encourage business to make the investment and build a responsive website from the ground up in an effort to leverage modern web technologies, content management systems like WordPress and modern coding techniques. By doing so you will be making an investment for your business that will last three to five years into the future.

The concept of responsive web design is here to stay. New devices, screen resolutions and other ways in which we access the internet will continue to evolve at a rapid pace. Building a website that has the ability to respond to not only today’s device sizes but tomorrow’s as well is intelligent web design that is smart from the start.

RAS Design Media builds responsive websites. I believe in a mobile-first design strategy and can help you leverage the power of your product or message as it is accessed by devices of all sizes and shapes. Call me today to learn more about how I can help your business to grow (831) 241–5452.

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About the Author

Portrait of Roger Smith, owner of RAS Design Media

Roger Smith is the owner of RAS Design Media, a web design studio in Monterey, California and has been building websites since 2006. He focuses on enabling business growth via modern web technologies and successful web strategies.

When not working Roger can be found kayaking along the magical central coast or photographing the beauty that surrounds us.

You can reach Roger at [phone text only] or [email address] and/or follow him on , Facebook or Twitter