Search Engine Optimization, or SEO, is the hot buzz word in today’s digital marketing world. It is the process that affects how well a website does on a search engine’s unpaid results, aka organic results. Adding to the mix, marketers must now decide between having a responsive or a separate mobile site design. As of April 21, 2015, Google’s mobile-friendly (ranking signal) algorithm update may affect your search traffic from mobile devices, if your site is not mobile-friendly. At Webilize (Portfolio and Testimonials) we design and develop Responsive and Mobile Websites.
What are the Differences?
- Mobile-dedicated sites: Designed for mobile phones only. They have different URL, i.e. m.yourwebsite.com or mobile.yourwebsite.com.
- Web Apps: Mobile-dedicated websites, that look and feel like Apps.
- Responsive-designed websites: Websites designed for different devices with varying screen sizes, and since they are optimized, they adjust automatically to the available screen size, i.e. desktop, tablet, or phone.
- Full (desktop) websites: Designed for the desktop PC, but not optimized for mobile.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Advantages: Since you only have to deal with one site, it’s much easier to maintain; Google says that having a responsive website is important; Easier for analytics with only one set of analytics for both mobile and desktop statistics; Cheaper and easier to operate option.
- Disadvantages: If your website is not built and managed properly, page load times could take a hit, because responsive designs can increase page sizes; If your website is very large and complex, it can be difficult to make it a fast and functional design; Still a relatively new technique, and is still ever evolving.
- Advantages: You have the most control of your mobile site, since it does not have to adapt to desktop sizes; Only need to serve resources for small screens.
- Disadvantages: Since the mobile site is hosted on a subdomain, you’ll need to detect the user’s device to route to your website. Maintenance costs are higher since you have to maintain two separate websites, and may have to cater your content to two different users.
Below are three resources that you can use to verify that your site is mobile-friendly:
- Google’s Mobile Friendly Test: Simply copy & paste your website URL and submit. Google will conduct a quick analysis, and will identify pages which have issues with mobile-friendliness as well as outline next steps to address the issues. Similar services outside of Google, includes: SEO Spider Tool.
- Optimize Page Speed and Load: Load speed time is another important factor to mobile-optimization. This Google first pick, provides an in-depth diagnosis and actionable advice and specific code snippets for load issues of your mobile site. Again, simply copy & paste your website URL, and it will provide you with yield scores for Page Speed and User Experience. Other similar services include: GTmetrix, mobiReady, dynaTrace, and W3C mobileOK Checker.
- Verify on Multiple Device Platforms: How your website loads on different devices is extremely important to your visitor’s User Experience (UX). Copy & paste your website URL onto the search of Matt Kersley’s Responsive Web Design Testing Tool. You’ll be able to see how your website appears on the common screen widths and device sizes. Other non-Google services include: MobileTest.me, and Mobile Phone Emulator.
These tools, although not exhaustive, can serve as great resources to help you fine-tune your website, and earn the coveted mobile-friendly label with Google.
Need help creating your own Responsive Website? Get in touch! https://www.webilize.com/Contact