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Smartphones, PCs, tablets, even Internet-ready TVs – As consumers employ more devices with varied screen sizes in order to access the Web, marketers (and their site developers) are scrambling to keep up. Responsive design offers a single solution to this ever-evolving challenge.

Why invest in responsive web design? As HubSpot's Luke Summerfield explains:

  • 55% of social media consumption happens on a mobile device.
  • 36% of all emails are opened on smartphones or tablets.
  • In 2012, more than half of all local Internet searches were mobile-based.

Compelling, right? But let’s back up in case you’re not exactly sure what we’re talking about.

Responsive design is the new “it” way of building websites. Using media queries and CSS rules, a responsive site adapts to a visitor’s browser size/resolution, and automatically rescales page layouts to accommodate. Responsive design can also adjust the actual content that’s displayed – so page elements like directions or contact info render more prominently for non-desktop visitors. Now, here’s why you need it:

Creating a Strong First Impression

Your website is like a virtual storefront for your business. It needs to be clean, inviting, and well-kept if you want your target buyers to bite. Your site may already offer easy navigation, scan-able content, and fresh images – But mobile visitors are seeing an entirely different picture! Feel free to check out what a responsive website looks like on various devices:

PMG-responsive-design
Remember too, today’s mobile devices won’t be the last word in browser layouts. In 2014, more than 75 percent of Samsung televisions will be smart TVs, reports The New York Times. When target audiences can find you on a 50-inch, high-definition screen, it’s time to get serious about how your business looks — from all angles.

Delivering Better Customer Experiences

There you are, en route to work just trying to access information through a site that isn’t optimized for mobile. The font’s too small. The navigation tabs and search bars are impossible. The multi-directional scrolling is maddening. Sound all too familiar? Poor user experiences like these are a recipe for bounces – folks who leave your site without looking back. 

Mashable.com recently listed responsive design as one way to lower your site’s bounce rate. Why do bounce rates matter?

As you may well know, B2B companies have longer, more complex buy cycles than other kinds of marketers. For you, it’s especially important to draw prospects in with engaging content, solution offers, and other timely information that’s contingent on multiple page views / repeat visits. If your website is frustrating to use, you’re wasting all that hard work you invest in social media posting, email marketing, etc. You’re essentially closing off your own funnel.

Simplifying Your SEO

By letting you concentrate your optimization efforts on a single site property, you don’t need multiple rounds of link building, keyword optimization, etc. And frankly, quick-fix mobile versions of your website can potentially deal you a whole new hand of SEO problems when poorly executed. Why run that risk?

Here's what Google's Matt Cutts had to say about SEO and responsive design:

“…if you do a mobile version of the site, if you don't handle that well and you don't do the rel=canonical and all those sorts of things, then you might, in theory, divide the PageRank between those two pages. But if you have responsive design then everything is handled from one URL, so the PageRank doesn't get divided, everything works fine.”

So what’s the key takeaway here? Being in touch with your audience is essential. If mobile access is a priority for your target buyers, implementing responsive design should be high up on your to-do list, as well. By integrating this fluid design configuration, you are giving your customers and prospects a better user experience, while simultaneously streamlining your SEO initiatives. Avoiding responsive design may eventually feel like swimming against a current, so consider how this fits into your marketing timeline!

Free Download: Redesign Unlocked – The 10 Keys to Reinventing Your Website

About the Author

Liz O'Neill
pmg
Liz O'Neill

Content marketing specialist (and current Director of Marketing at C&S Insurance), Liz O'Neill enjoys writing informative, engaging copy about pretty much anything—helping companies and their customers cut through all the digital noise; find each other faster; form deep, abiding relationships; and ride off into the sunset (while Instagramming the entire journey).

 Tags: Marketing Strategy and Planning Search Engine Optimization Website & Graphic Design

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