In this day and age, your small business’s website will be left dead in the water without a responsive design. Never before have there been as many mobile internet users as there are at this very moment. It is for this very reason along with countless others that your small business needs to utilise a responsive design.
Rather than needing to have two separate sites for each version (mobile, desktop…) of your website, you can choose to adopt a responsive design that will automatically redesign itself to fit within the parameters set by the viewing device.
In this blog post, we have created an easy-to-digest, interesting article detailing the 14 reasons why your small business needs a responsive web design. But firstly, let’s understand exactly what a responsive design.
What is Responsive Website Design
Before we get ahead of ourselves and jump straight into the reasons why you need a responsive website for your small business, let’s have a quick look into what a ‘responsive design’ actually is.
“Responsive web design (RWD) or responsive design is an approach to web design that aims to make web pages render well on a variety of devices and window or screen sizes from minimum to maximum display size to ensure usability and satisfaction.”Responsive Web Design – Wikipedia
This means that a responsive website will respond to the different forms of technology that your audience uses to view your site.
If you’ve ever opened a website on your mobile phone that seems to have you scrolling horizontally more than vertically, leaving you piecing together cut-off sentences and large photos, you’ve viewed a website that is not responsive. On the other hand, a responsive web design ensures that your visitors have a seamless experience while on your small business’s website.
1. Mobile use is Increasing Rapidly
In a world where there are over 7 BILLION more mobile phones than there are humans, your small business must be ready to serve visitors that are using their mobile devices to navigate your website.
“In 2021, the number of mobile devices operating worldwide stood at almost 15 billion, up from just over 14 billion in the previous year. The number of mobile devices is expected to reach 18.22 billion by 2025, an increase of 4.2 billion devices compared to 2020 levels.”Statista – Worldwide Mobile Device use Study
Having a responsive website is no longer just nice to have, it is crucial if you want to have any impact on your online market.
With the overwhelming amount of online competition that an online business faces, you can no longer afford to be losing potential customers due to slow load times, incorrect image resolutions, responsive content issues, and all of the other headaches that come with an un-optimized mobile website.
2. Increase Conversion Rates (and in turn, Sales)
According to a study conducted by online research firms Sterling Research and SmithGeiger, over 70% of participants stated that they are more likely to return to a mobile responsive website, and slightly under 70% stated that they were more likely to purchase a product or service from a mobile-friendly site.
TIt’s no secret that trust is a huge factor in online shopping. If a user feels any sort of distrust towards a website or company will, for obvious reasons, not submit their personal data let alone their banking details to that website. It is because of this exact reason that if your website does not respond to the size of your visitor’s screen, they will not feel safe in providing their payment information at checkout, and therefore your conversion rates will suffer.
3. Increases Your UX
It’s self-explanatory as to why a responsive design will increase your user experience as the user is having a better experience when on your website due to it being much more navigable.
When a website visitor doesn’t have to mess about with horizontal scrolling, constant zooming in, and buttons that are too small to fit your finger onto, they will ultimately have a better experience on your website.
A responsive design will automatically adjust the size of your buttons, it will adjust the content to the screen size it is being viewed on, and will in turn cut out the visitor’s need to zoom in and out when on your website.
Also, nobody wants to waste their time on a slow-loading website that is unattractive to look at. When you use a responsive design, you are offering the best experience possible for your visitors on your website.
4. Better Branding – One Website, One URL
This point ties back nicely to the point we discussed in our previous item ‘Increases your UX’.
If a user on your website adds a product to their cart while on their laptop, then attempts to complete their transaction later during the day on their mobile, they will expect to have the same experience (meaning the same design/layout).
This may not be the case when you have two different versions of your website rather than it being responsive. In fact, it can actually encourage your user to leave your website without going through with their purchase.
5. SEO Benifits
Google has declared multiple times that it will favour sites with a responsive design, there is really no arguing with this. To be exact, it was on April 21, 2015, that Google stated that mobile responsiveness would become a ranking factor. So if small business owners noticed their unoptimized websites beginning to drop at this stage, we know why.
As a small business owner, organic traffic can be an incredibly important marketing stream for you. If you are penalised by Google for having an unresponsive website, you are putting yourself at risk of losing visitors and therefore sales.
Google is able to crawl your website much easier if it is optimized meaning that the chances of them finding any on-page SEO error os much much less. It is in Google’s best interest to give its searchers the best results possible and therefore will favour small businesses that are created with a responsive design.
Furthermore, with a responsive design, the URL structure of your website will remain the same through. This means that you will not have to build as many backlinks and optimise as much content to rank your website.
6. Will Adjust to All Screen Sizes
The biggest advantage of responsive design is that your small business’s website will adapt to the screen size that it’s being viewed upon.
To expand on why this and why it is such a powerful thing, all we need to do is take a look into what the future of web design might be. It is quite evident that we are viewing the internet from an increasingly large range of devices. We started with PCs and have migrated to TVs, watches, mobiles… and who knows, maybe in the future, you will be able to visit your own business’s website through a contact lens.
With a mobile responsive website, you won’t need to worry about adjusting your website to the different sized screens as a responsive design will take care of that for you.
7. Reduces Bounce Rate
It is not an uncommon problem for the mobile version of a small business’s website to have a very high bounce rate. This is because when a visitor is required to scroll horizontally and zoom to read through a single sentence, they will simply leave the website before they waste their time on any other pages.
What’s worse is that they are likely to leave your website for your competitor who happens to have a responsive design. Now that isn’t a very nice thought!
For more practical ideas around reducing your bounce rate, feel free to read our blog post on reducing your website’s bounce rate.
8. Saves Time on Creating Other Sites
When you don’t have a responsive design for your website, you will need to create different sites for different screen sizes if you want people to be able to view your website on anything other than a desktop. Creating all of these other sites takes up your precious time, not only will it take longer to set up, but it will also take longer to update and create new content going into the future.
We hope that we have made it clear that, especially when running a small business, building and managing separate sites for separate screen sizes is something that you should not be wasting your time on.
9. More Mobile Shoppers
Mobile shopping has skyrocketed over the recent decade and is showing no signs of slowing down. With the general population putting more and more trust in online security and technology, we will only see mobile shopping increase.
If you are a small business you will need to ensure that you are ready to receive online shoppers through your website and welcome them with a pleasant and responsive design. If your products are difficult to find on a mobile device, if certain essential buttons are hard to reach, if your visitors don’t trust your checkout process, you will find it incredibly difficult to see a satisfactory level of sales flowing into your business.
10. Encouraged by Social Media
Approximately 70% of social media is viewed through mobile devices. This means that if your unresponsive article is shared on social media, we can assume that 70% of people clicking through to read it are being sent to an unattractive page and most likely leaving within a matter of seconds.
Not only should you optimise your website for your viewer’s satisfaction, search engines such as Google also need to be impressed with your website. It is a strong signal to Google that a website is authoritative when it is shared on social channels and gets a good amount of views through it.
Therefore, if your website is shared through social media and people visit it but leave immediately, search engines see your website’s content as being unhelpful and will in turn impact your rankings in a negative way.
Also, when your website only has one URL to share, it makes it much easier for users to interact with your content.
11. Cost Benefits
Before we get into this point, let’s make it clear that the maintenance prices you will face are going to be reduced by not having to manage multiple separate sites for multiple screen sizes. This is without even considering the losses you are suffering due to lost customers, which we will elaborate on later on within this item.
Many businesses, especially small businesses, will put off upgrading their website due to the false belief that a redesign will be expensive and time-consuming. And yes, hiring a full-fledged design and marketing agency will obviously set you back a fair amount of money, but there are good cost-effective alternatives you can look into.
For example, it is quite easy to find a local, 1-man-band web design business that will be more than happy to take on a redesign for an acceptable price. This is due to how the overhead that they face is much less than that of an agency.
Another option that small businesses can consider if they have the time and resources is to set up a website through the use of a mobile-friendly website builder. Granted, such builders face limitations in terms of functionality and design, but they can be more than enough to set up a functional 5-page website.
The most important question in terms of saving costs with a responsive website is the following; Can you really afford the loss of customers due to your visitors leaving your website before even adding a product to their cart?
This can be a difficult question to answer because it’s hard to measure how much business you’re losing when your customers are seeing your website then leaving to purchase the same product or service from a competitor is difficult to quantify.
12. Easier to Manage for Small Businesses
Another problem that arises when you have multiple different sites for multiple screen sizes is that they require more updates. These updates can come in the form of changing existing content, adding new pages, general maintenance and more.
This can be a big problem with small businesses as time is not always your friend, and updating the same content on multiple different sites can be very time-consuming.
Not only do you have to worry about updating content on different sites, but you also need to put more work into your marketing and SEO efforts as you will most likely need different strategies for different sites. In the long run, it makes far more sense to simply invest a relatively small amount of money in a responsive design for your small business.
13. Protect for Small Businesses Reputation
As you already know, there are certain types of customers who just love to complain, and sometimes for good reason (sometimes not so much). Although, If you provide these people with a good way to contact you on the mobile version of your website, you make it much less likely that they will take to social media to voice their displeasure.
14. Possibility to get “One-Up” on You Competitors
As you know, responsive design has really taken off over the last few years and there are still a lot of small businesses that have not made the change. You can take advantage of this opportunity to get one up on your competition.
Let’s say that a customer is browsing your competitor’s unresponsive website. Not only are you getting a leg up on your competition by having a responsive one, but when a potential customer leaves their website, they will be looking for an alternative where they can use their mobile device easily. This is where you will come in.
Whether you are designing a new website or making minor adjustments to your existing one, always keep mobile viewers in mind because as you know, more than half of internet users are mobile. More and More small businesses are becoming aware of this and jumping on what is now more than just a trend.
As a website owner, you need to be keeping your customers as well as Google happy, and by utilizing a responsive design, you are achieving both.
Should you have any questions regarding responsive design for your small business, or would like a hand in implementing the discussed ideas, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts that are ready and waiting to help you.