Responsive Design Or Separate Mobile Website?

There is no argument here: Every company with a website has to deliver mobile visitors a great user experience (UX). With more than half of all Internet traffic coming from mobile devices, no business can afford to limp along with a desktop-only site.

So the real question today is: Which is better, creating a separate mobile website or using responsive design on a single website?

Responsive design is a web design technique that enables your website pages to automatically adjust for optimal viewing on desktops, tablets and mobile phones. With responsive design, you have only one website to manage.

A separate mobile website is just that — a second company website designed for and used by mobile viewers only. It has its own URL, navigation, page structure, content, design, etc.

Advantages of Responsive Web Design

Generally, a responsive website is the most practical and effective way to go. Obviously, it’s more efficient to manage one website versus two. Beyond that …

  • Having two websites confuses visitors who want to visit you online via mobile phone and desktop.

  • Having two websites dilutes SEO, and is likely to increase the cost and complexity of SEO, PPC and other forms of Internet marketing.

Advantages of a Separate Mobile Website

A separate mobile website has one advantage — delivering the best possible UX to mobile users. A mobile website gives designers complete freedom to cater to mobile user preferences. For instance, a mobile site can be jam-packed with images and video with very little content, and can have a slimmed-down shopping cart for 10 of the most popular products rather than the desktop site that has a complex cart for 1,000 items.

A separate mobile site may be the better option if …

  • Your company has an extensive e-commerce site and wants to offer mobile users a simpler shopping experience.

  • Your company has a very high percentage of mobile traffic.

  • Your company has a very high percentage of mobile conversions.

Even if one or more of these conditions apply, you should think carefully before pulling the trigger on a separate mobile site — in particular, examine the impact it will have on your Internet marketing budget and results.

Need help sorting through these issues? Please contact us! We can help.

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