Mobile websites vs responsive design
Introduction: Google is making a fuss about being mobile optimized (and for good reason)
Do you remember Mobilegeddon? It was the Google update released last year that favoured mobile optimized websites over ones that were not. We’ve written all about it here. If your company’s website isn’t mobile configured the way Google wants, then you won’t show up very high in mobile search results. In order to make the mobile cut in Google’s eyes, you have two choices. And that’s where mobile websites vs responsive design come in. These options are the two typical types of configuration that will boost your website’s mobile-friendliness.
Want exact steps of how to get mobile-friendly? Download The Ultimate Mobile Optimization Test to see if you are good to go with Google.
What is the difference between mobile websites vs responsive design?
A mobile website is a parallel website created just for mobile phones and tablets. Both the content within the mobile website and the website address (URL) will be different than your original website. Usually, to avoid confusion with your original URL, a mobile website looks like “www.m.company.com”. The great thing about mobile websites is that you can select specific content to only be shown to mobile users. For instance, if a large section of your corporate website won’t apply to those viewing on a phone, or if you have a corporate video that isn’t optimized, you can select which pieces to remove. This is also possible with responsive design, but that may require a website redesign.
A responsive website ‘responds’ to the device you’re using; whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or on desktop. Due to the flexible format and design, the site’s content automatically resizes itself to work seamlessly on the screen on which it’s being viewed. Responsive design, while it may require a redesign before you get started, ensures that your site stays on one URL and updating content is easier to implement.
Which one should I use?
When it comes to mobile websites vs responsive design, both get you a ‘pass’ from Google. However, Google prefers responsive design and so do we. Why? Google gives a lot of reasons, and you can read them all here. Here’s why we recommend it:
- Responsive design makes sharing content across different devices easier since the URLs stay the same.
- Any content changes only need to be made in one place, so there’s less risk of duplication.
- It’s probably just smarter to go the way Google recommends if you’re trying to ensure that your website is favoured on Google’s search engine.
Conclusion: choose one and get started
Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to start mobile optimizing your website if you haven’t already. We’re moving to a mobile-first world, and you don’t want your company to be left behind. A recent study by Google showed that a third of all internet traffic now comes from mobile devices, and that number is increasing every day. Seem overwhelming? Don’t worry, because we have a complete mobile optimization checklist. See if you pass Google’s test, and if you don’t, we’ve provided a list of steps to ensure mobile optimization. Download the checklist below!