An on-site business cafeteria is rapidly gaining popularity as an employee benefit well worth offering. It is not only a...
Well, when Big G (a.k.a. Google) talks, you should listen. That’s the way it is right now. If you are stubborn, your site might get hurt (Panda and Penguin updates, anyone?)
Google has every reason to recommend you something: It’s for the best of user experience. If users are happy, Google will be happy. Google Search is Google’s products; technically speaking, they can do whatever they want – it’s THEIR business, and you should comply – IF you want to gain favor with the Big G.
This time, the debate whether you should turn your website into a responsive one is getting intense: In mid-2012, Google has finally taken its stance on responsive web design: They launched guidelines for building mobile-optimized websites.
I recommend you to at least skim through Google’s recommendations, even if you are not a developer.
The bottom line – Google favors websites that accommodates different browser sizes. One proof: They introduced a mobile user agent bot to detect whether your site visitors are coming from mobile devices or not.
Of course, using responsive web design is not to please Google. It’s just an added benefit. The number one priority should always be your users. When you are using responsive design, your website looks great viewed on any devices.
But why not creating an app, instead? Well, mobile apps are great, but unless you have a strong reason to “appify” your website, I recommend you responsive design. Why? It’s easier for your mobile visitors to just go to their browsers and access your content than requiring them to download an app first before they can access your content.
Of course, if your app complements your website with features different from what you are offering on-site, then you should build an app.
So, the next question is, how to make your website responsive?
There are some options you can take to turn your website responsive:
The obvious – except if you are a web design/developer yourself, the best way to turn your existing site layout design into responsive is by hiring an experienced designer/developer.
If you are into bootstrapping (of course you do!) you might be want for your developer to turn your existing website layout to become responsive, rather than building a new layout design ground up.
If you are into DIY but don’t want to touch a single code on your website template design, you should purchase a responsive design template.
Theme marketplaces like ThemeForest can connect you with top designers’ template designs.
Are you a WordPress user? You are in luck! There’s an official WordPress plugin called Jetpack which offers you features to make your WordPress basic installation becoming more powerful. One of the features is Mobile Theme – the one you should activate if you want to make your non-responsive website into one.
Just activate the “Mobile Theme” function, do a simple setting, and there you go – your website is turned into a responsive one in just 1 minute.
Please bear in mind, responsive design is not a do-or-die right now (maybe later, but definitely not now.) The idea behind responsive design is to present your information in such a way that it can be viewed comfortably from any devices.
If you feel that responsive design is not for you, you should still consider finding the best way to cater your visitors coming from mobile devices. You should at least build a mobile app to make it simple for your mobile visitors to access your information.
I recommend you to have a look at Conduit Mobile – it’s a free (up to 500 downloads) click-and-drag tool to build a great-looking app that can complement your business website.
Whatever your decision is, you need to seriously consider design-for-mobile. Everything-mobile enjoys healthy growth; you should jump onto the bandwagon – or get left behind.
Image by Alvaro Rubioc
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