Independent Mobile Website vs. Responsive Web Design

In early 2013 web marketers are actively debating how to deliver the best website experience on desktop computers, tablets and smart phones. The number of mobile searches is growing at a phenomenal rate. Therefore, marketers and business owners are aware that more and more people will be looking at their website on a mobile phone.

There are people who will tell you the solution is responsive web design and others who will tell you your business needs a separate mobile website. I say both are reasonable choices and the one option doesn’t fit all.

Responsive web design is the strategy of building the desktop website so it will perform well on a mobile phone. If I had an information rich website or an e-commerce website this is the approach I’d take. That way the whole website is searchable and useable on the mobile website. What you see on the mobile website, tablet and desktop contains all the same content…no need to update two websites. If it’s a store, they can access and buy anything in the entire store.

The other option is the separate mobile website in addition to a desktop website. The advantages I see in this approach is that it allows one more freedom in designing the desktop website. With responsive web design you have to structure the navigation to perform well on mobile. The same freedom applies to the mobile website. You can choose calls to action just for your mobile phone audience. Set things up so the logo, address and essential navigation shows up first.

There are quite a few advantages to either approach. For example, businesses that are very design oriented or have lots of mobile traffic will prefer the separate sites I believe. E-commerce websites and information rich websites are going to choose the responsive website the majority of the time.

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Responsive Web Design Berkeley
Karen Nierlich is an SEO web design consultant with Full Orbit Web and Marketing. Considering responsive design or a separate mobile website? Call 510-527-9920 to discuss your options.

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