Should Your Business Website Use Responsive Design or Mobile Site?

This is not just another responsive versus mobile plugin article. This goes beyond design preference and speaks more towards user experience, and how to find “the answer.”

Not every person enjoys going to a website and the layout change on a mobile device. They also don’t like having to scroll down to read text, or see tiny images. Some people would rather the pinch method to browse a website on small screens. That’s fine, to each his/her own of course.

Not every person enjoys going to a website and it transforms into a mobile app when viewed on a device. They also don’t like bubble pop-ups telling them to add it to the home screen. Again, to each his/her own of course.

What Does This Mean

So the question that every website owner should ask is, “What do my readers want?” The best way to find that answer is to ask. Here some ideas for that.

1) Using a tool like Qualaroo, you can easily add a simple question form that sits, patiently at the bottom of your website.

2) Hopefully you are building an email list of usual readers. Take advantage of your list and send a personal email out, asking which they prefer and why.

3) Check out the competition to see what and how they are handling mobile visits.

4) Perform an A/B Test by forwarding mobile users to separate subdomains that mimic your root domain.  Monitor Google Analytics for engagement and bounce rate.

5) Use click or heat tracking, like SeeVolution on a responsive design to see what happens for mobile visits.

6) View your Google Analytics mobile reports to see what devices your visitors are using.  If less than 30% of your visitors are on mobile devices, like the iPad Mini, then maybe it’s not worth considering.

So there are six things you can do that can help find out what your readers prefer.

If responsive is your answer, then the next step would be to find a WordPress theme that is responsive.  There are a variety of resources to do this, like photography website templates.  So do a Google search to find the responsive theme resources to find the right one for you.

If a mobile app is your answer, then the next step would be to pick up one of the popular plugins to get the job done.  My preference is WP Touch Pro, but Obox also has a great plugin.

Infographic Time

Below is an infographic shared by Brave New Code, the developers behind the WP Touch WordPress mobile plugin and some important statistics worth noting:

  • 45% of adults (age 18-29) access websites using a phone
  • 3G connections are 40% slower than the average desktop connection
  • Website conversion rate drops by 50% when loading time reaches 6 seconds
  • Bounce rate spikes to 100% when loading time reaches 4 seconds
  • 85% of mobile users expect website to load as fast a desktop site
  • Load times using a WordPress mobile plugin can average about 75% faster than desktop versions

Infographics: Responsive Design vs. Server-Side Solutions

I hope you found that helpful as you try to make a decision of which direction to take your website.

Thanks for reading,

Scott

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Scott Wyden Kivowitz is the Community & Blog Wrangler at Photocrati, developer of the WordPress theme for photographers, NextGEN Gallery and the Photographers SEO Community, teaching other photographers on how to increase business with their website.

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