Responsive Design Won't Fix Your Website

More than 60% of Internet users access the Internet on their smartphone or tablet. With the explosive growth of mobile Internet use, not to mention Google’s recent nod to mobile users, companies large and small are scrambling to make sure their sites are responsive. But having a mobile responsive website is not going to cure your website issues until the content problem is addressed. Indeed, responsiveness may even exacerbate the content issue of most websites, increasing bounce rates and reducing organic search rankings. To be effective today, a website needs to be responsive but it must also keep mobile users just as engaged as desktop visitors.

 

Most websites are heavy with text, and many have so much content that not even the people maintaining them know what’s on the site. That much content is difficult to page through on a desktop. Expecting people to read all that text on a tablet or smartphone is outrageous. So how do you ensure that your mobile responsive website is effective and engaging the mobile audience without losing your desktop visitors?

Before you run out and turn the clock back about 5 years by creating two different websites, which would make things worse, there two things you can – and should – do to make your website mobile-friendly that will simultaneously make the site even more valuable than it is today for every visitor:

  1. Rethink your content; and
  2. Deliver as much of your message as possible in a visual presentation.

The first task is fairly intuitive but, for some websites, long overdue. Many companies still cling to the idea that their website is about them. It’s not. It’s about your visitor, and most people visit your site for one of the following four reasons:

  • They want or need information.
  • They want or need to make a purchase or donation.
  • They want or need to be entertained.
  • They want or need to be part of a community.

Trim your content and fine tune it so it addresses at least one, if not several, of these visitor objectives – in the shortest time possible. Get rid of overly wordy descriptions and keep scrolling to a minimum. Look at the value of your content to visitors, enhance that value, and deliver it as efficiently as possible. And remember that mobile conversion results in a left-to-right, top-to-bottom presentation of your site.

The second task is to create visual content that conveys the same, or better, value for your visitors. Text is difficult to read on a mobile platform; video and images are easier to view. And studies show that video and images are more likely than text to be viewed and shared by people on both mobile and desktop platforms. Video also increases the stickiness of your site – reducing bounce rates. Converting information to infographics and video will, therefore, increase the value and usability of your website on all platforms. But first, you need to trim and refocus your content. That’s actually long overdue.