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Why you need a Separate Mobile Website

You need to have a mobile website. Customers expect a website to load fast and look good on their smartphone. Forget this and you lose them.

The world is heading in a mobile direction. In 2014 mobile usage will surpass desktop. Gartner anticipates Android to surpass Windows in 2016. This shouldn’t come as a surprise. Companies are already working it into glasses, clothing, and digital cameras. Your website can’t just look good on a desktop. If that is all you care about you will lose potential customers.

Separate Mobile Website - One Does Not Simply Ignore the Mobile Market

You’re probably already engaged in mobile marketing and/or social media marketing. Think about these examples:

  • Printing a QR code on flyers, billboards or product packaging.
  • Check-in promotions on services such as Foursquare.
  • Text messages to your clients.
  • Posting links on Facebook, Twitter, or Google+.

These are all examples where a customer is likely to come to your website from a mobile device. Don’t send them to your desktop site. That makes them need to zoom just read the what they came for. Build a mobile website and the delight the user with a pleasant experience.

Building a Mobile Website

There are two schools of thought about mobile websites. You could build one with responsive design, or a separate mobile website. They each have their own strengths.

Responsive Design

A responsive website serves the same content to all users. Responsive design includes hooks that will change the display based on factors such as the device width or the pixel depth. These hooks improve the experience for anyone on a mobile device. For example, you can serve higher quality graphics just to retina quality devices. You may also show a single column when the phone is held in portrait mode and two columns in landscape.

The downside to a purely responsive website is that you will often find yourself in a situation where content that is still downloaded, but are hidden from users. Some implementations use JavaScript to detect if it’s even necessary to download the content. This is helpful if the content is being hidden as the JavaScript code is often smaller than the content. When you need to download the content the detection code increases the overall file size of the page. This wastes bandwidth and slows down the page. This is very limiting on a mobile device and creates a poor user experience.

Separate Mobile Website - BrandBuilder Company.Separate Mobile Website

A separate domain for a mobile site makes life easier. Customers on a mobile device consume content differently than desktop users. They might just want to know your address, phone number, etc and be done. Make it easy for them. Don’t bog them down with a plethora of pictures. Tailor the experience to the user. They’ll appreciate it. A properly set up site will allow mobile users to switch to the desktop site at any time. It will also let them easily return to the mobile website. This is great for the few times you might need to know something more advanced. You can’t do that with a site built entirely with responsive design because there is no such thing as a desktop view.

Typically speaking, a person only says a website has a responsive design if the domain lacks a separate mobile website.  A responsive design can, and should, be used with a separate mobile website. You should still use it to serve a higher quality graphic or a different font to retina devices. Take advantage of the ability to rearrange the screen based off of the device width. You’re can still apply the strengths of a responsive design on a separate domain. You just don’t have any of the weaknesses. The fact that you can also tailor your message directly to the mobile consumer is a bonus.

We created MobileBrandBuilder because we strongly believe that it allows customers the best possible mobile experience. Having a separate mobile website gives them far more flexibility to target their message. Between desktop and mobile you don’t settle for one design to rule them all.

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About

Brian is the Director of Development and Social Media for Brand Builder Websites where he oversees the development, strategy, and goals for our software development. He is also a huge fan of Android.

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