Responsive design or dedicated mobile website

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When someone views a website, the device they view the website on changes their experience. For example, when you look at a website on your computer, you see a different version of it than you will if you view the same website on your iPhone. Features may have been stripped down, sidebars removed, and images eliminated. This is done so that you, the viewer, can have the ideal browsing experience. There are two ways to accomplish this: create a dedicated mobile website or use responsive design.

Responsive Design

Instead of making two websites – one dedicated to those viewing on a mobile device and one created specifically for those using a computer –responsive design means you have one website that can be viewed on both a computer and a mobile device. When someone accesses the website, the site will determine what device they’re on, and how best to display the page. The initial set up is more difficult, but the rewards heavily outweigh the cost.

Google Friendly

Google prefers websites that utilize a responsive design over those that have a dedicated mobile version. This is because the Google spiders have less to index and organize, increasing their efficiency. Google holds 67% of the market share – those that ignore the company risk languishing in obscurity.

Better for Sharing

With responsive design, whenever someone shares a link, it doesn’t matter how they arrived at the website – the viewer will see whatever website is best for their device. This is not the case when a dedicated mobile website is involved. For example, if you’re browsing a website on your iPhone, and you share that link to someone who accesses it by a computer, they’ll see the stripped down, mobile version of the website instead of the full computer version. When responsive design best practices are followed, this doesn’t happen. Everyone sees the version of the website that’s best for their device.

Search Engine Optimized

The majority of web traffic comes from major search engines, usually Google or Bing. In order to get a high ranking, websites need to be optimized for search engines. If you have a dedicated mobile website, you’ll need to run two separate SEO campaigns – one for each version of the website. This costs extra money and extra time, harming both websites chances at succeeding due to split focus.

Future Proof

As more mobile devices appear, web designers will need to be aware of an increasing amount of factors. A mobile website that looks great on an iPhone may look awful on a brand new device – which means that either the original mobile website needs to be recoded, or a third mobile website needs to be created. With responsive design, you future proof your website – when a new mobile device arrives, you can add a CSS style sheet and a few lines of code and be done with it.
A responsive design is more difficult to get off the ground, but it’s the superior option in the long run.

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