What is Responsive Web Design and Why Do I Need It?

The trends in web design are constantly evolving to keep up with today’s business and technology needs. However, keeping up with the changes can be challenging, especially when coupled with the demands of your business.

Currently the most important trend in design is “Responsive Web Design” or “RWD”.

But what is RWD and what can it do for your unique business needs?

Going Mobile

Right now there are almost as many cell phone subscriptions in the world (6.8 billion) as there are people (7 billion).

We are truly living in a mobile world.

Since the majority of us don’t go a day without looking up some type of information on our mobile devices, the importance of excellent mobile access to your website is vital to the future of your business.

According to Statista, a leading online statistics portal, “As of 2013, worldwide mobile phone internet user penetration was 73.4 percent. In 2017, figures suggest that more than 90 percent of internet users will access online content through their phones.”

Is your site mobile-friendly? Find out here.

Mobile-Friendly vs. Responsive

90% mobile users by 2017 imageThe former trend in web design was simply to have a “mobile-friendly” website.

In most cases, this meant building a separate, pared-down version of an existing website that enabled users to get the information they desired without having to “pinch and expand” or maximize their screen.

Businesses were forced to maintain two sites simultaneously with basically the same content. This proved to be both time consuming and costly, especially for large companies with many different product lines and sites to manage.

A more efficient solution was needed.

Enter responsive design.

In a nutshell, a RWD site will automatically respond to a user’s screen size, displaying the most optimized version of the website to that user’s device.

Responsive design websites are built using a flexible grid system and intelligent CSS (Cascading Style Sheets), which allow this to work seamlessly.

In essence, you have one website that looks great on any device.

Sounds pretty ideal, right?

Not Just a Pretty Face

Creating a responsive website is not just about making your site look more up-to-date or easier to view for the mobile user.

Back in April of 2015, Google announced that they were “boosting the ranking of mobile-friendly pages on search results”.

In other words, if a competitor has a responsive website and you do not, they may have the upper hand when it comes to search engine rankings, which can cause them to gain clients that could have been yours.

So How Do I Get Responsive?

Responsive Web DesignIf your business has an existing website, converting it to be responsive is no small task. At the very least, your pages need to be recoded and new style sheets need to be implemented.

Since this process can be as time consuming and labor-intensive as the initial web design, it may make the most sense to take the opportunity to update the look and feel of your site as well.

Just as there are many demands for RWD conversion, there are many tools and CMS (content management systems) available to make the process easier.

WordPress, for instance, offers plenty of free and/or affordable and responsive templates that will make redesigning your website a snap.

Contact SwordsNet Designs to learn how to start your RWD conversion today.

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Laura Swords | SwordsNet DesignsLaura Swords is the founder of SwordsNet Designs, which provides website and graphic design solutions for small to mid-sized businesses. She has over 20 years of corporate experience in both the IT and marketing arenas and loves to keep up with the latest creative trends.

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