One essential feature that every website should have

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One essential feature that every website should have

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Websites have all sorts of features and functions. But one function is essential…

I probably visit more websites that the average person. It’s part of my job, after all. I see some terrific websites, and I also see some shockers.

Of course there isn’t a single site design that fits every business, nor is there a set of capabilities that makes a website “terrific”. But there is one capability that I think all sites must have – “responsiveness”.

What is a responsive website?

Simply, a “responsive” website  is a site that automatically adjusts to the browsing device in use – be it desktop PC, laptop, tablet or mobile. And when I say “automatically adjusts” I don’t mean “automatically resizes”. I mean a website that adapts it’s whole presentation to suit the browsing device.

Google it for yourself: Over 50% of traffic is from mobile.
So if your site is not responsive it probably needs an update.

By way of some quick research, yesterday I visited 55 random business website in a random postcode. Here is what I found:

  • 34 were usable on mobile. And some of those were excellent in my humble opinion.
  • 21 were usable on desktop but didn’t play nicely on mobile. Oddly, some were otherwise well designed and modern-looking yet didn’t work on mobile.
  • 9 of the total were awful, some dated and some broken.
  • 5 of the responsive sites looked like the content had been cut and pasted from a dated site, so the overall experience wasn’t great.

So, it looks like many businesses are supporting their mobile visitors, but around 40% are behind the curve.

Why would I need a responsive website?

Simply – most traffic is mobile.

OK, I know stats can be contentious, and the stats will differ by country and by sector. And although you will be able to find counter-stats on the web, I at least take the view that most traffic is mobile. For all of our sites and those we host, it is.

And even if it isn’t for your site or your sector I would still bet that a significant slice of your traffic is mobile. However, take a few minutes to Google it and you will find some very reputable research showing the split and importance of mobile.

Ignore potential new customers at your peril

If you only get 4,000 unique visitors per month, and only 25% of  that traffic is mobile, why would you deliver a poor experience to 1,000 visitors? Especially when they are visiting your site looking for something and maybe even ready to buy something you sell. I repeat my favourite mantra – your website probably has more conversations with prospects that you, so make those conversations work.

My basic conclusion is that if your site is not responsive, that you might want to look into that sooner rather than later.

Take a “Mobile First” approach

When designing or rebuilding a site, it’s usually done on a desktop, and its surprisingly easy to assume it’ll be OK on mobile. But either resize the browser window to check or even better – also test on a mobile.

It’s not just that the content re-flows itself for the device, it is that the content actually works well for a thumb-based browsing experience.

What should I do now?

If you site is responsive and you are happy with the mobile experience then that is dandy. Otherwise, perhaps you should be looking at a rebuild. And soon.

It doesn’t need to cost a fortune. There are solid and widely-used “responsive presentation frameworks” available, and many are free as are many responsive WordPress Themes. And whilst there are expensive agencies out there and many make a good living out of bigger corporate-like sites (and many do a great job as it happens) they can be too expensive for most small to medium businesses (SMEs).

Some web companies (like us) are focused on supporting small to medium businesses and charities. Most businesses are SME, and that’s where we can help  you.

Simmarcom is focused on supporting SME and Charities with their web and digital communication.

Contact us if you want to chat about your responsive site options.