Over the past several years, the way people access the internet has changed drastically. A recent Pew Internet study published these findings[1]:

  • 88% of adults own a cell phone
  • More than half (55%) use their phone to access the internet (nearly double from their study three years ago)
  • 17% of cell phone owners primarily use their phones for internet access

In fact, as of this year, more people will access the internet on smartphones or tablets than they do from a desktop computer.

What does this mean for your website? It means that if your site isn’t designed to accommodate mobile devices, then you’re losing potential traffic and business—in larger numbers with each passing month.

Does this mean you need three different websites?

No. What it means is you need is a Responsive Web Design Layout.

What is a Responsive Web Design?

Responsive Web Design Chart

Screen resolutions of various devices

Simply put, a responsive web design adjusts to the viewing area of the device being used. The website still delivers the same information; however, the size and layout are adjusted to fit the visitor’s screen. A responsive web layout allows optimized viewing of your site on any computer, smartphone or tablet.

Why Do I Need This for My Site?

There are many important reasons for having a responsive website, but the most important is it’s what the majority of visitors to your website expect.

Someone may visit your site on their desktop and like it so much they want to show it to a friend at lunch on their phone. The inability for a site to adjust to the new screen

Responsive Web Design Layout

A Responsive Web Design layout adjusts to fit the screen of the device.

size will make it difficult, if not impossible, for them to view. If a visitor can’t easily find what they want on your site, where and when they want it, they’ll gladly go to your competition to get it.

The Sharp Rise in The Number of People with Smartphones and Tablets

Mobile device sales are growing exponentially. Mobile Commerce (M-Commerce) sales neared $25 Billion in 2012—an 81% increase from 2011. It is estimated that 2013 sales will increase an additional 55.7%, and another 52.17% in 2014.[2]

The conclusion is that internet use on mobile devices is not the wave of the future, it’s here now and growing rapidly.

Google’s Stance on Responsive Design and Its Effect on SEO.

It’s a well-known fact the majority of internet searches are done on Google. It is also where you’ll receive the bulk of your search engine traffic. Google’s stance on responsive web design is clear:

“Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.”[3]

Google’s algorithm for assessing where a website lands in its search results is complex. However, if Google is recommending responsive web design, it’s fairly clear as to which sites they would prefer at the top of their search results.

Current trends all conclude that mobile internet access isn’t going away anytime soon. It’s not some fad. It’s the direction that technology is heading. A recent Forbes article concluded:

“One thing is certain, you don’t want to fall behind and watch your competitors launch responsive websites while yours is still stuck in 2010 (or earlier). The time to get responsive with your web design is now.”[4]