Comparing responsive website design to traditional website design

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Responsive versus traditional website builds – which should you choose?

As more smart devices hit the market there is growing pressure to optimise websites across a range of digital platforms. The number of web designers building smartphone-optimised websites is continually on the rise. This isn’t surprising, considering 16 million Australians use mobile devices. Therefore, it’s surprising to find out only less than 20 percent of Australian businesses actually have a website that is smartphone-optimised.

Responsive web design – the good and the not-so good

Responsive web design combines each platform version on the one URL, meaning it’s easier for customers to share the content and link others to the website. It also helps Google’s algorithms assign indexing properties for content. As a result of using the same URL across multiple devices, inbound links to the site come from a variety of devices, including iPads, smartphones and desktops. The more inbound links a website gets from a range of sources, the higher it will rank in search engines such as Google – an objective that’s on every major company’s mind.

Responsive web design (RWD) means brands don’t have to create different versions for mobile phones, tablets, etc. However, this is also part of the reason why RWD is more costly than non-responsive design. Despite the advantages of RWD and the fact that Google recommends it for smartphone sites, it is by no means the only option. RWD could have further limitations – Tom Ewer from Manage WP says modern smartphones are usually designed to display non-responsive website designs effectively anyway. Responsive is generally great for websites containing several images. However, be wary of frustrating your viewers because site they’re familiar with changes every time they use a different device.

Traditional website builds – pros and cons

Traditional websites aren’t as fluid and adaptable to a variety of devices in the same way responsive sites are. However, there are many cases where non-responsive design has proven to be more user-friendly than responsive designs, simply because many users are familiar with the traditional website design and don’t like change. Another reason why many companies decide to stick with what they know is because, as Veruska Anconitano from MobiForge highlights, Google’s mobilebot search engine might ignore or miss the website’s mobile version, even when it is under the same URL as the desktop version.

Traditional is also less-expensive and this could be the deciding factor for small businesses or companies that can’t afford the extra costs. While traditional website builds mean consistency for clients who enjoy the familiar, but what works well on one digital platform may not necessarily work on another.

The answer? Think what’s right for your business

It’s vital that the brand considers how many of its customers or target market actually use mobile devices, how the company could effectively encourage its customers to access the site via mobile devices more often and whether the company would benefit from responsive design.

When deciding whether to switch to responsive or stick with a traditional build, each individual company must think carefully about which will benefit the business most. That’s why our Melbourne website design company carefully considers the needs and desires of your company’s target market as well as what your company aims to achieve. These are all key factors in determining whether a business chooses a responsive or traditional website build.