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How important is it to have a responsive website?

A functional website is essential for any business, but how do you ensure your site delivers a great customer experience? Whilst the aesthetic of your site is critical, its development is, perhaps, even more important.

The setup or development of your website is, essentially, the building blocks upon which your online presence rests. A poorly developed site will inevitably result in a poor user experience, or UX. When users can’t access quality content easily, they will deviate to alternative sites.

In fact, it’s estimated that your website has less than four seconds to impress users. If it doesn’t, they’ll be off to a competitor site before your homepage has even finished loading. However, it isn’t just the initial loading times which have a bearing on how long a user will stay on your site. If there is a lag at any stage of their journey, users will disappear from your site as quickly as they arrived.

Assessing website functionality

As users place such a high importance on page loading speeds, it’s become an important factor in determining website credibility. Now part of Google’s SEO algorithms, your site won’t rank highly for any keywords if it’s marred by slow speeds.

Of course, it isn’t just loading speed which has an impact on SEO rankings or user experience. To satisfy users, your content will also need to be easily accessible. However quickly your pages load, they won’t be any use to your audience if they can’t view, engage and navigate around your site.

So, how can you ensure your site delivers a great UX when users are visiting from an endless range of devices? With mobile internet users now overtaking desktop users in every demographic, there are no set display parameters to work with. Instead, your website will need to cater for users visiting on screens ranging from 5” on smartphones to 50” Smart TVs.

Designing an innovative and engaging website can be tricky at the best of times but it’s even more difficult when you consider the variables you need to take into account. Fortunately, there is an effective way to ensure your website caters to every visitor.

A responsive website ensures that your webpages are displayed optimally, regardless of what device a visitor is using. Whether they’re browsing from a smartphone, tablet, laptop or TV, a responsive site delivers your site in the most user-friendly way. Quite simply, it responds to the user’s individual display demands.

Boosting SEO with a responsive website

It’s clear that a responsive website improves the user experience. Capable of displaying your site perfectly to every user, visitors will find it easy to read or view content. Furthermore, navigating around your site will be easy and straightforward, which will reduce your bounce rate.

However, responsive websites bring important SEO benefits too. We already know that UX is critical to high SEO rankings. As a responsive website improves UX, you can gain credibility with Google based on this alone.

In addition, a responsive website helps you to satisfy Google’s newly introduced mobile-first indexing. As Google is using this indexing method to facilitate ranking websites, it’s vital that you adhere to it, and a responsive website will enable you to do so.

Prioritise mobile users with a responsive website

In response to changing user behaviour, Google introduced mobile-first indexing in 2018. Recognising that more people were surfing the net on mobile devices than on laptops or desktops, Google gives priority to websites which are mobile-friendly. In terms of indexing, Google will look at the mobile version of a website before it reverts to a desktop version.

Whilst site owners traditionally ran two different websites to facilitate functional mobile use, this is no longer the case. A responsive website negates the need for a separate mobile version of your site completely.

As a responsive website recognises the user’s display parameters and adjusts your site accordingly, there is no need to develop a second site at all. For site operators, this is welcome news. By switching to a responsive site, you can essentially halve your work. Instead of having to update two websites, a responsive website means you can focus your efforts on one site, whilst improving UX at the same time.

Furthermore, you won’t be penalised under Google’s new mobile-first indexing policy. The search engine understands the flexibility of responsive websites and judges them accordingly. With a responsive website, you’ll meet the criteria of their mobile-first indexing strategy and climb the rankings accordingly.

Creating a responsive website

Choosing to have a responsive website is beneficial for site owners in a variety of ways. Due to this, it’s important to update your existing site to a responsive version as quickly as possible. By doing so, you will enhance UX, reduce your workload and find it easier to satisfy Google’s algorithms. As a result, your rankings will improve, and you’ll find it easier to attract visitors to your site.

Crucially, the enhanced UX delivered by a responsive website means you’ll find it easier to retain site visitors too. With a reduced bounce rate, users will remain on your site for longer periods of time and be more motivated to engage with your content. In short, switching to a responsive website can have a dramatic impact on your conversion rates and, ultimately, your profits.

Your site design and development are the foundations to your online success, so it’s important to get it right. Once your responsive website is up and running, you can begin to implement effective SEO strategies.

To learn more about the SEO benefits associated with responsive web design, contact ClickSlice now on 020 3287 3638.

Article by:

Joshua George is the founder of ClickSlice, an SEO Agency based in London, UK.

He has eight years of experience as an SEO Consultant and was recently hired by the UK government for SEO training. Joshua also owns the best-selling SEO course on Udemy, and has taught SEO to over 100,000 students.

His work has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, AgencyAnalytics, Wix and lots more other reputable publications.

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