Mid-Missouri Marketing Resource Blog

Responsive Websites 101: Everything You Need to Know

Posted by Carrie Lorenz on March 2, 2016 at 9:00 AM

responsive websites 101Mobile and tablet technologies are changing the way we do business on a continual basis. One of these areas is how people experience your website. Now, websites have to be responsive in their design, meaning it conforms appropriately to whatever screen size and device someone is viewing it on.

But what is responsive design and what are the benefits of responsive websites? In this post we’ll be giving you an introductory level of knowledge, a “responsive websites 101” of sorts, so that you’ll know exactly what a responsive website is and why you need a responsive site. Ready? Let’s dig in!

1. What Exactly Is a Responsive Website?

Responsive websites are named as such because the website automatically “responds” to the size of the screen they’re being displayed on. This avoids having to create multiple sites for different screen sizes, and instead has the website conform regardless of the device. Creating different sites, or adaptive design, may still have a place in advertising but a responsive site is absolutely preferred and easy on the marketer and/or business owner.   

2. Why Have a Responsive Website?

The main benefit is that responsive sites provide a smooth customer experience no matter what device they’re on. Your customers will appreciate you for this. Google also is now ranking websites based on their viewability and mobile friendliness. Any website that is not responsive, or mobile friendly at the very least, will be penalized with a lower search ranking. The change has taken place as of April 2015, and you’ll want to double check your website’s responsiveness with Google to make sure you’re not being penalized.

3. Be Mindful of Image Sizes and Load Times

Unlike desktop computers, viewing larger images on smaller screens and devices may increase page load times. Make sure to simplify your content as much as possible to make sure that the mobile users have a positive experience and are not waiting around for pictures to load. A good tip to cope with large image sizes is to use resolution shrinking tools which are available on most PCs.

4. Organize Your Content

Keep in mind that when viewed on small screens, your responsive website will “stack” page content on top of one another. Therefore, you’ll need to decide the order of how each element should appear on a viewer’s device. Consider what the mobile viewer is looking for most when they visit your site from a smartphone or tablet. Are they looking to contact someone, research products, or visit your online store? Once you know their primary goal, you’ll be able to better organize your website content.

5. Test Your Layout

Testing your website for responsiveness is something you should be doing on a continual basis to ensure your layout gives a positive experience on all screen sizes. Online tools such as Responsive Test and Designmodo will allow you to test your website across most devices and screen sizes and give feedback as to how responsive your design is.

6. How Do You Make a Site Responsive?

There are more than a few different ways you can go about making your website responsive. If you have extensive HTML or CSS coding knowledge, you can design your own. You can also hire an outside professional, like the Zimmer Radio & Marketing Group, which builds all of it’s own internal and client websites to be responsive.

So there you have it, everything you need to know about responsive websites on a basic level is right here in our introductory guide to responsive websites. By utilizing some of the following tips and tricks, you’ll be well on your way to designing a smooth web experience on every device that your customers will appreciate.

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Topics: Digital Marketing

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