Responsive Web Design is Now S.O.P.

Robert HoldemanWebsite Traffic, Website Trends

In the web design world, what was once novel and new either fades away because it is trendy and not effective – or becomes a movement and then gets taken for granted because it works.  Responsive web design, like a content management system, is one of those things that we have now come to expect when thinking about developing a new website… sometimes without even realizing it.  It is now standard operating procedure (S.O.P.).

Have you looked at your website on your smart phone or tablet?  What do you think of it?  Can you navigate to all pages easily?  Does the site respond to your swiping?  Can you click on a link without enlarging the website?

Or perhaps you’re one of the dwindling few who use only a desktop or laptop pc to surf the web?  And even if you are one of those few, what about those who visit your website?  Shouldn’t they experience your site as it was designed on all devices, from a 3-foot wide screen to a 3-inch wide one?

As I review website traffic statistics for many clients whose website search engine optimization (SEO) programs we manage here at Comstar, I’ve seen a large increase in traffic from mobile devices over the past year or so.  Traffic from smart phones and tablets is now tracked separately by Google Analytics, averaging at about 25% for the website programs we manage.  Some go as high as 33%.  In all cases, I am seeing that the bounce rate for the websites without responsive web design is substantially higher than those who have recently had us build or convert their sites with this latest web design approach.

In case you are not familiar with the term “bounce rate”, it’s the percentage of your website visitors who arrive at your website and leave without going to a second page.  The lower the bounce rate, the better.  The assumption across the search engine industry is that these visitors did not see what they wanted and left for another in the long list of results Google or another search engine gives them.

It is also generally thought that Google will rank a website whose design is responsive ahead of one that is not, with all other factors being equal.

For more detailed information about responsive web design (aka RWD), we offer a free white paper you can download from our website (yes, our site is responsive!).

In my next post I’ll offer some thoughts on the types of businesses who can benefit most from responsive design.