Mobile Only vs Responsive – Responding To The Mobile Site Dilemma

31/7/2013 with

With the steady increase of mobile web users it is with urgency that James convinces all website owners to be ready for it. Here are some tips on making the best decision for your business.


In this Video:

00:13 – Have you seen our Recent Google Adwords news?
00:27 – Reviewing the Mobile Viewer Stats Again
00:44 – Factors to Watch Out Before You Decide
01:11 – Answer These Questions
01:44 – What Do You Want to Happen?
02:08 – Is Your Site A Blog?
02:27 – What Do Your Visitors Want?
02:48 – Mobile Responsive Themed Site
03:04 – Mobile + PC Versions
03:17 – Things To Be Aware Of
03:38 – Disadvantage of Mobile Responsive Sites
03:56 – 2 Sites Mean Twice the SEO
04:23 – Google Algorithm for Mobile
04:36 – 2 Sites is Also Twice The Work


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Being mobile friendly is an absolute must! In this week’s training I’ll help you choose between a mobile responsive theme and a mobile website.

Ok, if you watched my Google Adwords update from a couple of weeks ago, hopefully by now you’ve got some real urgency in making sure that your website is mobile friendly. If you haven’t, let’s just review the stats for a second. Over 65% of consumers now have access to a smartphone or a tablet device. By the end of this year, 2013, over 20% of internet traffic will originate from mobile devices.

As you now transition from a one size fits all website to a mobile friendly website, let’s take a look at some of the factors that may affect your decision over a mobile responsive website that works on both mobile and desktop devices, or whether you go for a mobile only website served up to mobile users and you keep your original site for desktop users.

To answer this question is actually pretty simple. All you need to do is look at your current website and ask yourself the question, do I want to serve up mobile users the same content as I have got on my current site or do I want them to have different content? If the answer is the same content, you can probably go for a mobile responsive website that works on both types of devices, desktop and mobile.

If however you want to show your mobile users different content, you want a separate site for mobile and a separate site for desktop users.

To break that question down you really want to look at what the outcome you want to be from your mobile friendly site and what the outcome you want to be for your users. In terms of you want, you may want to consider really what type of business you’ve got. If you’ve got perhaps a high street store you may want to serve up different content to mobile users. Perhaps while they’re browsing around the high street you may want to offer them a coupon that really helps drive them in to your door and make a purchase.

Mobile or Mobile Responsive?

If however you’ve got an information based site, a blog style site, pretty much as we have here, you really only want to serve up the same content to your users but serve it up in a fashion that makes it easy  to digest, perhaps, while they’re browsing on their tablet or mobile phone, commuting to or from work.

To look at what your visitors want, there’s only one place really to go and get that answer and that is your analytics. Have a look at what your mobile users do currently on your website. Are there certain pages they visit more frequently than others? It may give you some clue as to what type of stuff they want from your site when browsing on a mobile device.

Once you’ve answered those questions, if you find that you and your users want the same thing from a mobile site as they do from your current website, then perhaps the mobile responsive theme is the best way to go. If however your mobile users and you want different things from this new mobile site as opposed to your existing site, then perhaps choose two different sites, your current existing site and a mobile site would be the better option.

Before you finalize your choice, what are some of the things that you might want to be aware of? With a responsive theme, the big advantage is that you’ve got one site to update. The other advantage is that because they are the same site, your mobile site will get a very early SEO boost because you’re going to have links pointing to your original site that will point to your mobile site – it is one and the same thing. As a disadvantage, it could perhaps be a little expensive. If you’ve got a current static site and you want to make it mobile responsive you have to update the whole site. That’s one thing that you may want to be aware of.

For separate sites, the big advantage is you can customize content. As we said earlier, you can serve up to your mobile users different content than that to your main website users. The other big advantage is with having two sites is you can then tweak the content for mobile type keyword searches. Mobile users to search in a different manner than that of desktop users because generally they are on the go so you may want to optimize your mobile site for different terms; having two different sites allows you to do that.

Google also do have a separate algorithm for mobile searches so this might actually work to your advantage so it is the option that they do recommend. However the disadvantage of it is that you have two sites to manage; that’s two resources to keep the tab on, create content for, etc. Two is always more difficult to manage so do be aware of that.

Remember when you come about this decision, it always starts with the user. What experience do they want and make sure that your set up matches that. I’d like to hear about the choice that you are going to make, please post your comments below and let me know whether you are going for separate mobile and desktop site, or whether you are going for a mobile responsive site, I’d love to hear from you.

This has been James Reynolds for another SEO update, I’ll catch you back here again sometime next week.

About James Reynolds

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