Look down, if you are like 90% of American adults I bet you see a cell phone sitting next to you. More than likely you are a member of the 63% that regularly use your phone to surf the internet. You may even be part of the 21% American adults who spend little to no time browsing on a desktop or tablet, instead choosing to access websites on your mobile device.
So why is this important to brands? Until recently mobile sites and responsive web design were bonus features brands could utilize to give their consumers a more rewarding mobile experience but were not necessary for success in the world of search engine optimization (SEO). However, with an estimated 50% of searches occurring on mobile, Google is changing the game with their new search algorithm that places heavy emphasis on being mobile friendly. By serving consumers content designed to function on mobile, Google offers a higher quality browsing experience while also reaping the benefits of making their mobile ads more profitable. The trouble for brands comes when despite SEO efforts and Google rankings on desktop, companies without a responsive or mobile site will find themselves lowered or completely dropped from mobile search results. That is an unappealing prospect in today’s competitive market. The good news is that companies have a couple options for flourishing in this evolving environment.
- Mobile Site – The simplest option, which is also the cheaper and more time efficient option, is the creation of a mobile site. These are generally recognized as “m.brand” sites and are designed to function specifically on mobile devices. In many cases, these sites will feature only key aspects of the desktop site, reducing the build and load time. Depending on creative and technical development, mobile sites can be launched in a 5-7 week window. For a brand that is not currently mobile optimized and needs a solution for Google’s new algorithm or one with a limited budget, a mobile site offers the mobile experience Google requires without the time and spend of designing a responsive site.
- Responsive Web Design- The piece de resistance of mobile experience and what is likely to become the standard in web design, responsive websites recognize and adjust for the device being used to gain access. There is no zooming and pinching to find items on the site or attempting to read content clearly meant for a larger screen. Responsive websites display content in a format that allows the visitor to enjoy and utilize it in the way it was originally intended. Design, development time, and budget are dependent on the amount of content to be included on the site and the level of creative development required to achieve the desired look and feel of the site. Launch time should be expected to be several months for a fully operational site.