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  • Mar 14 2013

    Mobile Template Vs. Responsive Template: What to Select

    Smartphones and Tablets have become the buzz word in today’s digital media marketing industry. Now an entrepreneur cannot afford to miss the bus by avoiding them as a medium to promote his business or products and services. That’s because Google, the no. 1 search engine in the world, in one of its market surveys/studies, revealed that the world is witnessing the waves of change, and people are switching to smartphones and tablets at a great speed. And in the next few years, these devices will outnumber the desktops and laptops.

    To explain to you more about it, here’s a Google infographic.

    Google infographic

    Smartphone user study by Google

    A few years back certain individuals and companies realized the potential of smartphones and tablets and started getting a separate version of their website developed. However, in this age of technology things don’t remain the same for a longer period of time. And the era of specific mobile sites is also touted to be nearing its end, as Responsive Design’s popularity is spreading like wildfire.

    Now the business industry is in a dilemma to understand what to choose between the mobile templates and responsive templates for making websites that respond well to smartphones and tablets of all sizes. And the business owners are giving a preference to their own choice without even analyzing what actually the smart (gadget oriented) consumers want. But is it really the right course of action? In fact, one should assess all the pros and cons related to mobile sites and responsive sites, and choose what’s best for the consumers.

    Here’s the report on a study done by Google that shows the big picture on ‘what actually the smartphone users want from mobile sites.’

    In addition to this, to make entrepreneurs and companies aware of the smartphone usage all over the world, and what they are missing out on if they haven’t gone mobile yet, Google has started ‘The Mobile Movement.’ Here’s a short video to understand what the mobile movement is all about.

    What Google Recommends

    As far as Google’s own recommendations related to smartphone optimized websites are concerned, Google clearly states to choose responsive web design over mobile templates. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t go with a mobile specific version of your website. But in fact, while recommending a responsive design, Google clarifies why people or businesses should opt for responsive web design above all.

    Here’s what Google says about responsive web design and why it recommends it:

    • In responsive web design, only a single URL is used to serve the content to the visitors, which eventually makes it easier for them to interact, share, and link back to your content. Additionally, a single URL for serving the same content on different output devices helps Google’s algorithms to allocate the indexing properties.
    • A responsive web design doesn’t leave any room for redirecting your users to get to the mobile optimized view of your website. This in fact, increases the web page loading speed. Moreover, on many occasions a user agent-based redirection can result in errors, which may generate negative feedbacks in terms of your site’s user experience.
    • A responsive design helps in saving resources for both your site as well as Google’s crawlers. That’s because on a responsive web site, any Googlebot user agents needs to crawl the pages only once, whereas it needs to crawl multiple times with different user agents to retrieve your website’s content. This eventually improves the crawling efficiency, which in a way helps Google to index more of the website’s contents and keep it aptly fresh.

    Mobile Templates or Responsive Templates?

    Though responsive design works pretty well on almost any screen size, but that doesn’t mean that mobile templates are completely out of the game. That’s because mobile templates have their own benefits above responsive templates that are listed below. These benefits will help you identify your actual needs and select the best medium to serve your consumers on smartphones.

    • A mobile specific site generally consists of large menu buttons that help you browse through a website completely. But if you access a responsive website on a smartphone, the menu buttons or menu bar gets converted into a drop down menu, which may have a negative impact on your business/sales conversion rate.
    • A specific mobile site helps you get the much required boost on mobile search engines, as they are made specifically to cater to the smartphone users. Hence, they give preference to mobile sites first. But for this, what you need to do is inform the smartphone Googlebot-Mobile about your mobile site via URL redirection.
    • With a mobile site, it is not necessary to display the entire content you have on your desktop website; instead, you can always squeeze up the content in multiple links or buttons redirecting them to other pages, so that your users get to see only what they want to see. But in a responsive website, that is not possible as it’s a complete version of a desktop site, which only adapts to the screen sizes, and puts the content (section/division wise) on top of each other.

    In addition to this, there are certain things you need to work on if you opt for a separate mobile site, and they are;

    • Before building a mobile site, try and analyze what your consumers expects from your mobile site, and this could only be happen after you have a clear understanding of the differences between a mobile site and desktop site.
    • Use a separate mobile site home page using ‘m.yoursitename.com,’ which should be unique. However, don’t forget to add a link to the full site.
    • Don’t use robots.txt to block your mobile site URLs.
    • Promote your mobile site via your business cards, flyers, brochures, newspapers, broadcast media, and online, as along with backlinks, authority and social shares also matter in mobile search.

    Moreover, if you look at the top brands and the companies that rank higher in mobile search, you’ll come to know that most of them are using a separate mobile site instead of going responsive, and here’s a detailed report on that produced by Mongoose Metrics.

    Conclusion

    By now you might have got some idea of the difference between a mobile site and a responsive site. And based on that you can select between a mobile template or a responsive template.

    We love your comments and feedbacks, and would like to know your viewpoint on this too, so please share it with us via the comment section provided below.

    Posted by ajeet Posted in: web design Comments: 0