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Responsive Design or A Dedicated Mobile Website – Which is better?

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1340911_21662636As a business owner, you understand the importance of reaching your growing base of mobile customers. However, you may not be able to decide whether a responsive design or a dedicated mobile website is the best solution for your business. By simply decided to go mobile, you are leaps and bounds ahead of many of your competitors. While both have their pros and cons, ultimately, your business will benefit from either option.

Responsive Web Design
Responsive design is the most streamlined option for establishing a mobile presence for your business online. Instead of having a standard website and a dedicated mobile website, you can simply have one that performs well on all devices. Responsive web designs adapt the design, navigation and content to browsing device. This means your customers will have an optimal experience on your website whether they are browsing from a desktop, laptop, tablet or smart phone.

Pros

  • One website. Instead of keeping up with a standard website and a mobile website, you can simply maintain one.
  • One URL. Everyone will be able to find your website regardless of their device. Users won’t have to wait for a redirect or long load times.
  • Streamlined SEO. You can create a streamlined SEO strategy for your responsive website to target both desktop and mobile users at the same time.
  • Streamlined marketing. You can avoid having to promote a mobile website in addition to your standard website.
  • Cost effective. Instead of developing two separate websites, you can simply have one.

Cons

  • One website. While one website is easier to maintain, it may not make the best use of a specific device’s native functionality. As a result it may frustrate some users.
  • Compatibility. Because responsive web design is still relatively new, older devices may experience some compatibility issues. However, these can usually be avoided by working with your web designer.
  • User experience. In an effort to strike a balance on all platforms, user experience may suffer some.

Dedicated Mobile Website
A dedicated mobile website may be an ideal solution for someone looking to create an optimal browsing experience for users on mobile devices. If a bespoke experience is important to your target demographic, then you might consider a dedicated mobile solution. While it will be more cumbersome to manage two websites, you may find having two separate websites to be a winning combination for your business’s overall marketing strategy.

Pros

  • User experience. Designing a website specifically for mobile devices will yield an exceptional user experience.
  • Fast load times. A dedicated mobile website will allow for quick load times on mobile devices.
  • Local search. Take advantage of local search with a dedicated mobile site optimized for tablets and smart phones.

Cons

  • Separate URLs. Unlike a responsive website where you’ll only have one, you’ll need separate URLs for your mobile website(s) and your standard website. This will require more marketing and SEO work.
  • Extra maintenance. Instead of maintaining only one website, you’ll need to maintain two or more. If time is at a premium for you, you might not go this route.
  • Compatibility issues. There are lots and lots of mobile devices out there. Even if you have a dedicated mobile website or two, you may still experience compatibility issues with some devices. Again, working with a web designer will help to minimize most compatibility issues.

What steps have you taken to accommodate the growing mobile demographic?

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