What is Responsive Website Design…Revisited

Today, I’m recycling a blog from August of last year, because many of my clients have opted for rebuiding their 2-year-old websites with responsive design. Responsive sites are prioritized over non-responsive sites by mobile search, and they’re also user friendly. More and more people are using tablets and smart phones for searches today, and if you want to compete, you need a responsive website.

Now here’s that blog post I mentioned…

Have you ever been pitched an iPhone app or mobile website? These two rather costly marketing tools were Band-Aids for a few years, covering the scrape left between websites built for PC and those built exclusively for smart phones. The new, more economical and practical leader in this space is called responsive website design. A forward-thinking web design company will offer responsive design at no extra cost to you.

http://youtu.be/KUfOu06R1S0

Responsive Web Design Defined

Sites built responsively will respond to the screen on which they are viewed. This means, if you look at a responsive site on a full-sized desktop or laptop computer, you’ll see the standard version. It will look and feel like websites you’ve become accustomed to using. View the same site on a tablet or mobile phone, and you won’t see just a smaller version, with text so tiny that you need a magnifying glass. Instead, you’ll see a different version of the website. Most likely, there will be a small “menu” button that, when touched, provides a dropdown list of all the website’s pages. Graphics and photos will center on the screen, and text will remain big enough to read, without doing the two-finger zoom and scrolling back and forth. Think about the elements on a webpage being blocks. On a big screen, the blocks can spread wide. On a small screen, they stack on top of one another, in an orderly fashion, so that all content remains visible, without shrinking.

The Difference Between Responsive and Regular Web Design

User experience, or user-friendliness, of mobile websites has come a long way in the past few years. You may already know that Flash is an outdated file type that shows visual elements of motion. Flash has never worked on iPhones, and it interferes with SEO. Today, elements of motion are built with jQuery or HTML5, so they are viewable across all devices. Likewise, responsive design is the universal solution to web design. If a site is built responsively, it adapts to its environment.

I mentioned mobile sites in the beginning of this article. About five years ago, I remember selling a mobile site. It was ugly, to say the least, and it only provided smart phone users with 5 pages of the website it represented. Why? Because the mobile site was built exclusively for smart phones. It was a separate website that loaded on phones. Not only did this create more potential for support issues, but it also caused duplicate content problems that negatively affected SEO. Responsive websites are built so that the main site is viewable across all devices, meaning all smart phones and tablets of any size. One website. Smarter design.

SEO Benefits of Responsive Website Design

In 2012, Google told developers that responsive web design is Google’s recommended configuration for mobile site design, and the company stands by this statement today. Some experts argued that Google didn’t say responsive sites had any SEO benefit. I’ve worked with SEO long enough to know, Google is the king of the search engine world. If you play the Google game, you will see SEO benefits. In short, do what Google recommends, and you’ll be rewarded with higher rankings. From using Google Authorship tags, Google Analytics, and Google Webmaster Tools, to participating with Google+ and +1, you have many ways to show Google that you’re on board with their products and services. Because the company recommends responsive websites, it is in your dental practice’s best interest to accommodate the request.

Another consideration is, mobile sites are processed and ranked separately from regular websites. This means, your website can rank differently on mobile search (on a smart phone or tablet) than on regular search (on a PC or laptop). The index for mobile sites is smaller, because not all companies have a mobile site. Many businesses find that they rank higher on mobile search than on regular search. If you have a responsive website, are involved in all things Google, and optimize your site with what Google wants (original, informative text), you’ll do well across mobile and regular search.

One last point: Responsive design is not right for all businesses, but it is best for dental office marketing. Companies with tons of text, or huge images and videos, may do best to build a separate mobile version of their website. Google does have protocols for avoiding duplicate content issues and maximizing strictly mobile designs for SEO.

If you’d like to discuss search engine optimization and responsive website design for your dental practice, call the dental marketing experts at MDPM Consulting today – 972-781-8861 – or email [email protected].