One of the first questions we ask clients embarking on a website redesign is whether their goal is a site that looks good on mobile devices. I doubt I will be asking much longer. Two things are converging to make this question almost obsolete: the fact that according to Cisco, mobile data traffic grew 81 percent in 2013 alone, and the advancement of responsive technology for website design.
If our clients don’t give this question a resounding yes to start with, they are quickly converted after we mention this stat and explain how cool—and affordable—responsive design is. If we rewind even a few years, businesses who wanted to have a strong mobile presence were faced with the costs of developing and maintaining two separate websites. Let’s face it, the m.yourbusiness.com era was forgettable, especially considering that users often headed for the hills on mobile sites after experiencing the frustration of not locating the content they were after on the mini version and not being able to find the link to access the full site.
It’s no wonder it took responsive design so little time to become mainstream. A responsive website flexes and adapts to whatever device your user is visiting from: tablet, smartphone, or desktop. Capturing users and providing them with a great browsing experience AND consistent information and options on any device is essential to your brand in today’s always-connected world.
The Write Place recently helped AMCO Manufacturing, Inc., based in Yazoo City, Miss., carry out a complete website overhaul. The new site is a custom design built on the responsive WordPress framework Gantry. Responsive plug-ins also power the equipment specification tables, photo galleries, and dealer locator, ensuring a successful site visit from any device.
With responsive designs, small and mid-sized businesses can afford to build a website that is not only optimized for mobile devices, but also packs the punch of a backend content management system. Most of our clients’ website needs can be met by using a responsive platform powered by WordPress or Joomla, both of which offer tools that allow people without HTML knowledge to make updates. That’s a big must for businesses on a budget.
Another benefit of these platforms is the availability of plug-ins for functions like event calendars, e-commerce, employment applications, and photo galleries. While there are aesthetic limitations and they often need some custom programming to integrate, the cost savings plug-ins present over custom-programmed applications is huge. They give small and mid-sized businesses options to create web experiences that can compete with larger competitors with big-time website budgets.