According to global market share data, mobile browsing now surpasses desktop browsing as the major form of “being online.” In fact, when including tablets under the mobile device category, this tips the scale to about 55% mobile (versus 45% desktop) browsing for all web traffic. What does this mind-boggling statistic have to do with you? Well, if you have a website or plan to create one, you’ll need to make sure that it’s a mobile-responsive website.
Notice here, we didn’t say a mobile-friendly website. Mobile-friendly design and mobile-responsive design are two very different things. But what exactly is mobile-friendly design and what is responsive design? To understand the difference, let’s dive into:
- Mobile-friendly vs mobile-responsive: Which one do you want?
- What does mobile-responsive entail?
- Who most needs a mobile-responsive website?
- How to build a mobile-responsive website
Mobile-friendly vs mobile-responsive: Which one do you want?
You can probably indicate from the table of contents above that mobile-responsive is going to be the winner here. To make our case, let’s define each one.
- Mobile-friendly – Websites that are mobile-friendly are typically pages that are shrunken down versions of what you would see on the desktop screen. While this allows mobile users to view, browse, and use the site, it doesn’t necessarily make it easy. Login and password bars become hard to click, buttons can easily be “fat-fingered,” and user experience usually gets put on the backburner.
- Mobile-responsive – Websites that are mobile-responsive are pages that have been reformatted to reproduce what you experience on the desktop. This means that instead of shrinking everything down, clickable items are enlarged and pictures are resized and reformatted. This also safeguards the user experience when turning the mobile device from a vertical view to a horizontal view.
Boiling this down further: Mobile-friendly is “seeing” the same information from desktop to mobile. Mobile-responsive is “experiencing” the same information from desktop to mobile.
Why would anybody have a mobile-friendly website?
Before we completely dismiss mobile-friendly websites, it’s a fair question to ask: Why would companies (or individuals) opt for mobile-friendly websites?
Ironically, some companies use them to deter mobile users from browsing on their phone. If the company built an app, for example, they would rather funnel them to the system they created specifically for phones (and tablets). This could be for functionality or security reasons. Often, you have greater control of both when you have a well-designed application.
The other reason companies and individuals opt for mobile-friendly pages is because the two terms are often used interchangeably, and first-time website builders often don’t know the difference. To combat this confusion, all layouts created with Constant Contact’s website builder are mobile-responsive.
In short, unless you plan on building a mobile app as a part of your long-term business plan, it’s best to stick with a mobile-responsive design.
What does mobile-responsive entail?
Above, the benefits of mobile-responsiveness were briefly touched on. However, here are the in-depth benefits of having a mobile-responsive website as opposed to a mobile-friendly one:
- Text – One of the most noticeable differences between mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive websites comes from the question: Do you have to zoom in to read the Home page? Because a mobile-friendly website allows you the full functionality of a website but doesn’t adjust to the screen size, you might be staring at paragraphs that look like ants clumped together in neat formation. To read it, you have to zoom in on your device and then, even worse, scroll left and right to see the edges of the words. With mobile-responsive designs, this text will be enlarged and reformatted to fit on the smaller screen.
- Images – Similar to text, images often need to be touched up to be viewed correctly on the mobile device. With a mobile-responsive website designer, you can quickly switch between desktop and mobile views to see what each picture will look like. This offers you the freedom to zoom in or zoom out as needed. With Constant Contact, the A.I. system will adjust these sizes as needed — automatically. However, it also gives you the power to customize them as you see fit.
- Buttons – Buttons are notorious for being frustrating on mobile devices. That’s why, with a mobile-responsive website, buttons are enlarged to accommodate the smaller screen, and they have enough space between them to be distinguishable.
- Switching between vertical and horizontal views – With mobile-friendly websites swapping between views can mean losing text, images, or functionality. Mobile-responsive sites keep this in mind and prepare for both.
- Faster load times – Having a mobile-responsive website goes beyond just adjusting sizes. It actually reformats the backend to load quicker than mobile-friendly sites. The phone is probably about one-tenth of the size of a laptop, maybe even one-twentieth of a desktop computer. Which means, the hardware inside is also a fraction of computers. Mobile-responsive websites take this into account and make it easier to load pages. Fast loading time comes with two further benefits:
- Lower bounce rates – When smartphone, tablet, or other mobile users are forced to wait ten seconds for a page to load, they’re quick to exit out of the tab (a bounce from your website) and try a different website. In fact, ten seconds is pushing it (try 3 or 4 seconds). With faster load times, you get less of that, which means lower bounce rates.
- Higher conversion rates – Guiding a customer “down the sales funnel” takes a few different steps. Typically you have to create awareness about your product or service, then generate interest, demand, and finally, action. This means you need a smooth transition between each step — if this is made clunky by poor mobile web design, you’ll lose out on conversions. However, if your website is optimized for mobile, you may see higher conversion rates because the user experience is more favorable.
If you’re still wondering “why use responsive design for websites?”, we’ll explain who benefits from this type of optimization.
Who most needs a mobile-responsive website?
Everybody should use a mobile-responsive website.
Realistically speaking though, the major factor is your audience. Let’s take a restaurant, for example. People often find their dining options by searching something broad, like “food near me” or something specific, like “Italian food in Austin” In addition, a large majority of these searches will happen on a mobile phone. Restaurants need to meet their audience here and create a mobile-responsive platform that allows them to click through the menu, hours of operation, delivery options, and more.
Restaurants aren’t the only industry that need mobile-responsive websites. Consider mobile-responsiveness a must if your business model involves:
- Gaining a readership through a blog
- Showing off images or pictures of traveling, food, hair transformations, or more
- Using an ecommerce platform to sell products or services
- Scheduling software like delivery apps or calendar bookings
When you build a website with Constant Contact, you don’t have to choose between mobile-friendly and mobile-responsive, and you don’t have to opt-in. All websites are mobile-responsive.
How to build a mobile-responsive website
With Constant Contact, building a mobile-responsive website is the same process of building a regular website. If you’re wondering how to make a responsive website, we’ll guide you. Simply follow these steps:
Input your category of business and the name of your site
This will generate multiple layouts all themed to your industry. Choose the layout you like best by considering a few basic elements:
- Navigation style – Do you want the navigation (or menu) bar to be detailed out at the top of your website? Do you want it to be on the side? Or do you want the header image to be the only thing you see and have the navigation be a button in the corner?
- Header image – A picture says a thousand words — or so they say. Decide if you want a header image (or video) to be front and center or share the page with text.
- Header text – What do you want to say about your business or blog? Think of your Home page in the same way as you would greet someone for the first time. What can you say here that will draw them in?
Customize each component of the layout
You are free to change anything and everything. Use different color palettes, images, text blocks, and buttons to shape the website how you want it. All of it will be mobile-responsive.
Generate the essential pages you need to express yourself or your business
For starters, many websites need to have the five essentials:
- Home page
- About page
- Products or Services page
- Gallery or Blog page
- Contact page
Fill in each page with relevant content about you or your business
Show off your products or services through an ecommerce platform. Post pictures of satisfied clients or certified reviews to your gallery page. Demonstrate thought leadership within your industry by writing out creative blog posts. How you want to build out each page is up to you, just remember to keep a singular focus throughout.
Swap between desktop and mobile preview to see how your website will be viewed
This is the magic of Constant Contact’s A.I.-powered website builder. There will be little (if anything at all) you’ll need to change here.
Consider the little details for improving your website.
While at this point your website is starting to become fleshed out, there are a few extra items to put on your to-do list.
- Create a custom logo for your brand – With Constant Contact’s logo maker, have a designer logo fully customized in minutes. All you have to do is input your business name and (optionally) a slogan. The A.I.-powered tool will match you with a relevant image and complete editing control.
- Register a domain name through Constant Contact – When you have a domain name that matches the name of your business or website, you gain credibility and authority. Plus, this makes it incredibly easy to remember your website URL.
- Use design tips from professionals to tweak sections – Not sure where to start? Here are some website design tips to follow for creating a beautiful website.
Utilize the vast knowledge of the blog, resource center, and customer support
When you partner with Constant Contact for your website needs, you tap into a deep well of knowledge on everything from digital marketing to design to SEO tips, and more. If you ever get stuck, reach out anytime.
Once you’re ready to publish your site and go live, instantly view your website through a desktop or mobile device to ensure there is a seamless user experience.
Start your mobile-responsive website today
If you’re ready to meet your audience where they are — that is, on their phones, tablets, and other mobile devices — then Constant Contact can help. With our website builder, you’ll have an A.I.-generated layout that’s fully customizable and mobile-responsive in a matter of moments. All you have to do is:
- Input a few details about your business
- Choose the layout that looks good to you
- Customize each piece to match your brand
- Create the pages you want
- Fill them in with great content
Ta-da! One fully functional, customer-geared, mobile-responsive website ready to go. All that’s left is to purchase and publish your site! Who knew it could be that easy? Whether your website visitors are coming through desktop or mobile browsers, with Constant Contact, you’ll have a website optimized for both.