What is a Responsive Website?

You’d think that most people would not only know what a responsive website is but that they’d have a responsive site for their business.

But, as part of our website audit service, we are consistently seeing unresponsive sites.

So today we’re going to answer the question, ‘What is a responsive website?’

And the even more important question, ‘Why do I need a responsive website?’

So, first things first…

What is a Responsive Website?

Simply put, a responsive website is a site that’s designed to display clearly on any device.

There shouldn’t be any content that you have to scroll left or right to see, and there should be no need to zoom in.

The site responds automatically to the device it’s viewed on. Meaning you may see a different layout, text size, spacing, or even images depending on what device you’re using.

A simple way to see what we’re talking about is to view this article on a desktop device (if you’re not already) and make your browser window narrower/wider and see how the content adjusts.

And that is a simplified explanation of what a responsive website is.

Now for the big question…

Why Do You Need a Responsive Website?

Mobile Device Usage is Increasing

Historically websites only needed to be designed for a standard computer screen, as that was how we all accessed the internet.

However, in today’s world, we access the web through a whole host of devices. Which all use different sized screens and even different orientations – landscape and portrait. This means that your website needs to be able to adapt to these devices to give the user the best experience.

The User Experience is Vital

Have you ever heard of a site’s bounce rate?

This is the percentage of users that leave your site after only viewing one page and is something that you want to keep as low as possible.

A great bounce rate is around 26-40%, with 41-55% being average.

Why are we telling you this?

Research has shown that an unresponsive site delivers a much higher bounce rate.

Why? You may ask.

Well, people aren’t as tolerant of unresponsive websites anymore. There are over 1.7 billion websites live at the time of writing this article. Meaning that if your site isn’t easy for someone to use they’re almost guaranteed to find another one that is.

SEO Implications

It’s not just the user deciding to leave your site that you have to worry about. Your SEO ranking is affected by the mobile version of your site too.

Google officially started to reward responsive sites with a boost in ranking in 2015. However, as of July 2018, they began their mobile first indexing. Meaning that they now index, crawl and rank websites based on the mobile version of your site. So if you’re site isn’t mobile responsive and optimised then you will be ranked lower than sites that are.

There you have it, you can now impress all your friends with your responsive website knowledge and explain to them why it’s so important.

Written by Kayleigh Nicolaou

Co-founder of Kakadu Creative, Kayleigh has worked in the media industry since 2007, managing projects and campaigns for clients ranging from independent high street stores, to music festivals and international brands.
January 22, 2022

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