As more web traffic originates from mobile devices, web developers are running headlong into the issues of mobile web development.
One of the issues online businesses face is the drop in conversion rate that often occurs on a mobile website that does not contain the same features or content of the desktop version of the site. This may be due to changes in layout, the necessity to delete certain types of rich media, such as flash, or even the need to delete text content, which may be too extensive to include on a mobile page.
For site owners willing to go the extra mile in developing the mobile version of their site, there can be significant rewards in terms of recouping lost conversions by making sure all of the elements necessary for conversion are included on the mobile site.
The biggest issue website owners will face is the decision on whether they should develop a responsive design website, which adjusts to display properly for any size of device, or go with a stand-alone version.
The current debate for websites going mobile is whether to implement a responsive website design or have a stand-alone mobile website. This decision is an important one for all businesses with an online presence since it will profoundly affect how visitors interact and ultimately influence if they will convert or not.
To analyze the advantages of responsive vs. adaptive, we spoke to a professional web developer that offers both options. Here is a look at 4 key areas that matter the most, when a developer evaluates the benefits each approach provides to ensure the best decision for your business.
1. Expense of Development
A stand-alone mobile website will require a lot more upkeep than a responsive web design, due to the fact that every time the desktop site is updated, the stand-alone mobile site will need to be updated, as well. That can double the ongoing costs of web development.
The stand-alone site will more than likely also cost more to set up, as it really requires designing a separate website. There are some mobile development apps that provide a solution for this by giving a somewhat push-button conversion of a site to mobile. But there can still be quite a bit of tweaking to do afterwards.
On the other hand, with responsive design, if you are using WordPress CMS, there are even plugins that can make the site responsive. If you are new to coding up a site to be responsive, here is some quick responsive design help.
2. SEO Factors
Getting the SEO correct often takes quite a bit of work, just on a desktop alone. There can be quite a bit of onsite interlinking which will need to be replicated on the mobile version of the site. And, again, every time links change on the desktop version, someone will have to update those on the stand-alone mobile version.
When it comes to these issues, responsive design wins, hands-down, as there is only one site to make updates on.
3. Design and Layout
A stand-alone mobile website has, arguably, the best layout and user experience when accessed from a mobile device with a smaller screen. However, this can come at the cost of removing some types of content that the user may want, or that may be helpful in improving conversions. This is a constant dilemma for mobile website developers.
4. User Experience
Without a doubt, the most important aspect to consider is user experience. After all, the site exists for the user and a site that canât be navigated or consumed easily by the user is not worth building at all. This is where a stand-alone site has an edge.
For users who are accessing your site from a mobile device (which is a majority of all users in most markets) the stand-alone device will be much easier to view and navigate, as the navigation features, as well as fonts, are already designed with the mobile experience in mind. This can mean reduced bounce rate, more time on site and higher conversions, just due to those factors.
Given the above information, you might realize there is no one right answer. It depends on many factors, each of which need to be analyzed by the developer before a best option can be selected. However, knowing the above information can at least point you in the right direction of what to consider when making the choice between mobile options.