The Mobile-friendliness of a website is a confirmed ranking signal for top search rankings. Hence it is very much important for you to make your website mobile-friendly. This is the era where most people are accessing the Internet on a smartphone than on a computer. Mobile designs are a must for the best future of any website, if you don’t want your site to be left behind. But how exactly do you program your website for this increasingly mobile Internet? There are three main options to do so; however each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Below are the details of each to help you choose the best way for your website and SEO strategy.
Responsive design means the resolution of the screen on which a page is being viewed, and then adjusting the size and layout of the page properly. Google has already mentioned that it prefers responsive web design, which makes it super important in this discussion. There are various benefits of responsive design, for example there is only one version of each page. The same page adapts to the type of device displaying it, instead of detecting the type of device and then putting different content based on that. Having the same HTML and URL on all devices eases your site maintenance. Responsive design also doesn’t depend on user-agent detection as the other options do. User-agent detection means detecting what browser or device is requesting a web page. This isn’t bad in itself, but it’s not very good also because even with a slightest glitch in the process, the users may get the wrong version of your site. Besides, this can save the search engine spiders from having to crawl your site every time as different user-agents which means more of your site gets crawled.
Drawback: In spite of the various benefits there are some minor drawbacks such as, there are chances that pages with lots of images would load more slowly with responsive design. So while thinking of opt for responsive design, keep in mind that you’ll need to optimize your images and test your site on various browsers and devices before pushing it live.
It is also referred to as user-agent “sniffing,” sometimes. Dynamic serving can be implemented in two ways and it is a bit tricky. Google outlines some common mistakes made while doing the dynamic serving. This technique detects what device a user is using to view your site and then redirects at the server level. One of the very effective ways to implement dynamic serving is unidirectional redirecting. In this process, links to your site default to the desktop site but mobile devices get redirected to the mobile site instead of the desktop site.
The second type is bidirectional redirecting, this means having the code on both the desktop and mobile sites and making sure that visitors, regardless of the device type, get the appropriate content. These pieces of code are named as switchboard tags. There are some benefits of this design like the redirection is done at the server level hence you would only need one URL per page.
Dynamic serving works very well for feature phones. A feature phone is a cellphone that contains a fixed set of functions other than voice calling and text messaging, but doesn’t have functions as much as a smartphone. For example, feature phones can’t download apps but can have some web browsing capability. The biggest difference is that feature phones can’t process CSS, so they are not sufficient enough to handle responsive design very well. So it’s very important to know what type of mobile devices your audience is using.
A Mobile Site
This option includes creating a separate domain specifically for mobile users. The most common example is mobile.domain.com. It’s a popular option among large retailers. Like dynamic serving, this technique is based on developing content specifically for people using a mobile device however; a separate mobile site’s URLs are distinct. For bigger sites with page counts in the hundreds of thousands or millions, implementing responsive design may simply be too much work. A mobile site provides options to alter a user’s experience, and slowly build up a unique mobile experience.
So, these are some significant aspects of website design. You need to know and implement to your website design as well.