Does every company need a responsive website? by Nicki Banks, 29th Jan 2016

This is a question facing many companies at the moment - and a decision I made myself recently..

Potentially you may have had a website built for your company in the last few years which looks great on a computer - but the experience isn't so great when it comes to mobile. This is probably because your website is currently not 'responsive' - i.e. it does not currently change format according to the device it is being viewed on, so the site you would see on a mobile phone would look exactly the same as on a desktop site, but much smaller.  So does it really matter?

5 Things to Consider..

 

1) How are your visitors currently finding your website?

A simple google analytics report will let you know the overall number and proportion of your site visitors who are viewing your site on mobile.  This should only be a starting point though as Google's algorithms are more likely to list you in search on mobile if it is responsive, so moving your site across will increase this proportion over time.

To get a better steer have a look at the proportion of your direct traffic which is on mobile devices - here the 'search' effect is to some extent neutralised, giving you a better feel for the proportion of your current clients who are likely to be viewing your site on mobile. If this proportion is higher than that for organic search you might also consider that you are missing a chunk of visitors by not being mobile.

2) What's your visitor experience like on mobile?

It's hard to look at your own website and answer this question - so if you really want to get an idea ask some other people too.  

If your site is relatively small and simple, the experience is unlikely to be as poor as if you have a bigger, more complicated site -  but if people are having to zoom in to read your copy or to use the menus then it's by definition making it harder for them to find the information they want and to read it.  If you've got sub menus under the main menu, then this is likely to be harder still.  Then of course there is the fact that your site probably just doesn't look great on mobile.

3) What kind of business is it?

The type of business will determine to some extent how urgent it is to make the website responsive. In general consumer facing businesses are the ones likely to be missing out most from not having a responsive site.  

In particular retail sites (particularly with an e commerce element) and restaurants where a lot of search is done at home on the sofa on a tablet or phone or on the move will be missing out.  So if your site is both not found easily on mobile and then has poor functionality, then the chance of getting the sale or booking is hugely reduced meaning that not spending the money to invest in a mobile site is a false economy.  Statistics from the middle of last year showed that mobile traffic to retail websites overtook desktop traffic, illustrating just how important having a website that works well on both phones and tablets is to this sector.

This does not mean that mobile is not important to the business sector too - clients of mine in this sector with responsive sites see between 25% and 35% of their traffic being on phones and tablets, with this traffic increasing much quicker than the increase in their desktop traffic.

4) How many visitors do your currently get to your website and does it drive sales for you?

If your visitor numbers are very low anyway and your visitors to your desktop site are not taking the action that you want them too - then your desktop site is not working for you, so making your site responsive is unlikely to lead to that working for you either.  If this is the situation you find yourself in, then you need to look at why your site is not working for you in the first place?  Is it messy/cluttered? Is navigation tricky?  Do you have enough calls to action on there? Is the content on there interesting to your visitors and do you add to it over time - either in the form of new pages or blogs. Your bounce rate and the way people progress through your site can give you some clues to this.

5) What does it say about you if you don't have a responsive website?

This is harder to measure, but certainly something to consider. Even if you determine that the main job of your website to be to reassure people rather than necessarily to drive new leads, then you need to think about what it says about you if you don't have a responsive website.  In the case of my company even though most of my clients have come via recommendation, it was still vitally important for me to move to a responsive site as by having a site which only really worked well on a desktop, the impression I would be giving was that I was behind the time on technology - which as the owner of a marketing company is not the impression I want to leave with potential clients.

Not having a responsive website also gives the impression that you are a small company - which for some companies is not a worry - but if you are competing against the 'big boys' then visitors to your site may think that the fact you haven't invested in this technology might mean you've not invested in other important technologies either. 

In Summary

The way that people search and visit websites has changed massively over the last couple of years. According to Google, mobile search overtook other search midway through last year (http://searchengineland.com/google-says-more-than-half-of-its-uk-searche...).

The urgency to make your company's website responsive (i.e. so it responds and changes format according to the device it is being viewed on) will depend on the size of the company, what it does and the level of traffic to the site - however I would have to say there are very few companies now who should not be looking at moving to a responsive site if they haven't already done so. I have only one client who has not so far moved to a responsive site and they will be doing so in the next quarter.

If you have any questions about this blog - please do feel free to contact me directly - I'm always happy to have a chat about your own particular situation.

 

Hi, I'm Nicki Banks. After years working in Marketing for other people, I decided to take the leap and use my skills to start my own business.

That was in 2009 and since then I've worked on companies in a number of sectors from food through leisure to business to business. They had one thing in common - they wanted a marketing plan that was developed specifically for them and could never be muddled with anyone elses. Hence why even companies originally sceptical about marketing companies following prior experience now hire me on a retainer.

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