You probably don't think too much about your website—after all, you're a deck builder and not a web designer. Maybe you check it from time to time to make sure things aren't outdated or to make slight changes to the text to keep up with the times, but that's probably about it. You certainly aren't thinking about the devices through which prospective customers view your website. But maybe you should.
More and more people are accessing the web through their mobile devices—tablets and smartphones—every day. How do you reach these clients so that you don't leave prospective sales out on the table? With a responsive website design.
What is responsive design? It's the ability for a website to automatically format itself based on the device on which it is being viewed. A responsive website is designed to know when it's appearing on a smartphone and when it's appearing on a laptop and format itself properly and cleanly. It's the reason why most brand name websites show up just as cleanly on your smartphone as they do on your iPad or desktop computer.
Making a website responsive isn't a DIY project; in fact, it will cost money and require rebuilding of your website. But it will position your website and company to reach a wider pool of prospective clients by allowing them to access your information on various devices. It's also a great opportunity to evaluate your current website and either redesign or freshen it up.
As with just about any decision regarding your business or website, it's always a good idea to do a little research beforehand and check out what your competitors are doing. Do they have responsive websites? What makes theirs stand out? If you're savvy with Google Analytics, you can find out how many customers are coming to your site from a mobile device and how many are using a laptop or desktop computer.
You'll need to hire a website designer to handle the coding and help with the design unless you're well-versed in the world of coding. If you hired someone to design and build your original website, you may want to start by talking with them. This may lead to another important question: Do you need a mobile web design or a responsive web design?
There is a difference. A mobile website is designed for use on a smartphone and therefore doesn't work as well on a desktop, while a responsive designed website is made for both mobile and desktop computers. As a small business owner, you will most likely get more bang for your buck with a responsive design, as it is easier to maintain and can reach across more platforms. And with the number of mobile Internet users expected to reach 1.9 billion by 2015, you don't want to miss out. For most small businesses, responsive is the way to go.
Have you already made your website responsive? How did you do it? What was the process like? Let us know by leaving a comment below.