Radar Hill Blog

Then and Now Part 1: Responsive Websites

Then and Now Part 1: Why Have a Responsive Site?

Radar Hill has been in business for 16 years, and the magnitude of change in the 21st century when it comes to websites is staggering. What was a shiny new website just 5 years ago can now be outdated and leave your business with a huge potential gap in visitors and clients. There are various measurable ways that the World Wide Web has changed in 16 years, and so we are publishing a “Then and Now” blog series to demonstrably show what a website in 2017 requires to stay current.


Then:

A few years ago, there was no such thing as Smartphones or Tablets. To go to a website one had to painstakingly go into the computer room, wait forever for the blocky monitor and computer machine to turn on, open a browser, wait, and finally type in http://www. before whichever website you wanted. Not the smoothest process, but it was consistent and websites only had to be formatted for a select few types of browsers.

Now:

It would be an understatement to say that in the 21st century a lot has changed in computer and cell phone technology, and with them, websites. No longer are sites being viewed from only one platform in a specific instant – from your home computer – but people are constantly on the Internet going onto websites, from anywhere. The amount of daily technological contact that occurs now versus a generation ago is astoundingly more. Thus, having a responsive website that can be viewed on mobile devices is essential for success in the current state of the World Wide Web. But why is that?

One of the major things to keep in mind is Google. Whether you like them or not, Google has an enormous market share of the search engines, which means most people are using Google to find anything on the Internet. What Google shows a person searching “painters” for example, is not random nor will it be the same for each person. Not only do they operate using algorithms, cookies (browsing history) and location, but the quality of the website helps to determine where it sits in the results. From content to image resolution to being mobile-friendly, everything is taken into account by Google (more detail in a future post). It used to be easier to be noticed on Google, but now, Google is ranking responsive sites higher than non-responsive sites, no matter the content. Thus, to be noticed on Google you need some kind of mobile-friendly site.

It should be noted that there can be a difference between being “mobile-friendly” and being a “responsive” website, although the two are often used interchangeably. Mobile-friendly can refer to a site that is replicated based off the desktop site but is an entirely separate entity created to be displayed on a smartphone, which means having to select content and keep both updated. However, a responsive website will tailor the ‘master site’ to each form of media, so that whichever kind of computer you are viewing it on, be it desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, the entire architecture of the website will be adaptable, and thus a more pleasant experience for the consumer; one website, aesthetically pleasing to any platform it is viewed on, with all the content.


Is It A Frictionless Experience?

Whatever kind of website you have, that is the question you need to ask for the sake of your consumer.

A restaurant with an easily read text menu and responsive design

Imagine this: You are out having a great afternoon shopping at the mall with your partner. The mall is closing, so you walk back to your car, and decide to have dinner out. You want to try somewhere new and are hungry so you Google “restaurants near me.” You click on one that has a few good reviews and seems close enough to the mall, but you can’t find the menu. It takes several clicks to find the menu and when you do finally find it, it is a .pdf and your phone memory is full so it doesn’t download. You go to the contact page to call and see if they have vegetarian options, but it says they are closed, so you go back to Google and try the next listed place. The next one does not have a responsive design site either, so you have to squint and zoom way in to find the menu, but get frustrated by going around in circles so give up. Back again to Google, and now you’re frustrated and really hungry. The next site is responsive, clearly states at the top they are open, and a nice text read-through menu you quickly peruse and find a few vegetarian options. It’s only a 10-minute drive away and it becomes one of your favourite restaurants.

That scenario is not an exaggeration. People do not stay on frustrating websites if they do not need to. So while you could be generous to your competitors and sacrifice your website and company by having an old design that creates a frustrating experience for the user, that is not a good business practice for you.

Do not aggravate potential clients into going onto nicer websites which will entice them into using the services of your competitors.


What Can You Do?

Have a responsive website to give a smooth experience to the user

A REALTOR® with a responsive website

If you are a tradesperson that deals with emergencies, it is vital that you have a comprehensive responsive site. In cases of urgency, people do not spend the time browsing the Internet looking at your reviews or past jobs. All they want to know is: can you help them, how to contact you, and when can you be there.

It is not just emergency industries that need a fast and efficient site. While it’s true that most purchases won’t be made on a mobile device, most research will be conducted on one. People want information easily accessible and fast. Just one second of loading time can have a huge effect on a site’s performance and the consumer’s experience of it – most people will leave a page if it takes too long to load. This causes increased bounce rates and fewer conversions, which means fewer potential clients are seeing your site and the services you offer.


Get a Responsive Site!

Having a website that is responsive is vital for Google search results and for personal usability. Mobile usage is on the rise, so you need a site that is going to be inviting for prospective clients, whatever device that they are on. If someone can’t easily find the information that they are looking for, they will leave the site quickly and go somewhere else. Thus, to stay ahead of the competition, get a responsive site!

An example of an optimal responsive website: www.veridisplumbing.com. If you are viewing it on a desktop, shrink the page gradually to see how the entire site adapts to fit the size of the window.

Yes, there is a cost up front but it is an investment for the future. For most people, the point of their website is to bring in more clients. And those prospective clients will mostly find companies based on Internet searches, and those searches will occur on a mobile device.

The best first impression for a site is a smooth welcome with no frustration, and why wouldn’t you want to give a prospective client an optimum experience?

To book an appointment to discuss upgrading your site to a responsive one or if you have any questions, call us at 250-477-6395 (Victoria) or 250-748-0979 (Duncan), or click here to do it online.

 

About Caitlin O'Hara

Shawn's daughter, Caitlin has been around Radar Hill her entire life, but only recently in a full-time professional manner. In 2017 she began managing the social media accounts, writing articles and newsletters, as well as being an administrative assistant when needed. When not in the office she enjoys cooking (including those samosas that have been huge hits at Radar Hill open houses) and travelling, and plans to move to Scotland in the near future.
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