A successful web strategy starts with a professional website that engages visitors the minute they land on your site. Visitor engagement is crucial to website success, because engagement ultimately results in conversions. The lack of a professional website discredits your brand and therefore reduces engagement and conversions.
Here are some questions to ask when evaluating your website:
- Is it outdated? You should consider updating it at least every 2-3 years.
- Is it professionally designed? If your niece or nephew built it as a summer internship project it may not be.
- Does it have an intuitive navigation structure? In other words, do site visitors know where to click to find what they want when they land on your home page?
- Do you receive positive or negative feedback about it from existing customers?
- Finally, and probably most important in 2015: Does your site display well across desktop, tablet and smartphone devices (known as “responsive”)? If not, Google will penalize you & give preference to your competitors who do have a responsive website.
In this post, I am going to focus on #5 because as of March 2015 it relates in many ways to all of the first four questions.
As of Spring 2015, Google started giving preference to mobile ready websites in search results, effectively penalizing websites that are not mobile ready.
Take our website as an example. If you search “cape cod web design” on a mobile device using Google’s search, Google will first display websites which are mobile friendly in its results.* Websites which are not mobile friendly appear at the bottom of the results. Not only that, but Google shows the sites up top which are mobile friendly with a little notice in front of the page description:
* Check out this Search Engine article from March 2015 about Google’s announcement.
What does “Responsive” Mean?
Simply put, it means that your website “responds” in its appearance to the device that is being used to view it. The site is smart enough to know when someone is, for example, viewing it on a Windows or Mac desktop large screen, a tablet such as an iPad or Kindle Fire, or a mobile phone such as an iPhone, Droid or Samsung Galaxy. Even more, the website adjusts to each type of device and browser used on that device. It knows the difference between an iPhone 4, 5, 6 (or 6s).
Here is an example. I took screenshots of a page on our website to show how it displays (responds) differently in 3 formats below:
How do we Make a Professional Site Responsive?
Starting winter 2015 at Coastal Mountain Creative, we started building only responsive sites on all our new website designs. We do it by using tools that enable us to view and test a new site design on dozens of the latest devices, including most makes and models. This way, we can confidently say to a client, “Your site is responsive ready!” when it is launched.
When designing a new site, some clients like to start from a WordPress template and we can recommend the ones that are best suited to their industry that are mobile friendly and customize from there. Other clients want a more custom approach, in which we build their site from scratch and use specific set of code guidelines that tell the site to respond to the device being used.
If you have any questions about building a new, professional responsive website, feel free to contact us!