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February 19, 2015

Six Key Rules for Responsive Web Design

Image courtesy of (Stuart Miles) / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 Over the past decade, the amount of mobile Internet users has more than doubled, skyrocketing from 800 million to 1.9 billion, and one in every four of those Internet users accesses the Web exclusively from a Smartphone device. As this explosive growth continues to transpire, companies need to adjust marketing strategies to ensure survival. According to eMarketer, mCommerce sales are expected to increase by almost 33 percent from 2014-2015, meaning that enhancing the mobile user experience is more important than ever before.

These days, the most popular choice for organizing a mobile site lies in responsive web design, which is the recommended configuration by Google. Responsive design is the term used to describe a website that automatically serves up content in the proper layout and sizing for the device it is being accessed on, saving gobs of time by eliminating the need to update multiple versions of websites when you could be creating great content. It’s not the only solution, but for most small businesses, it’s the best for mobile spaces. This form of configuration works according to units on a grid as opposed to specific measurements, producing website displays that are always proportional despite the size of the screen.

Although having a responsive website is quite crucial, it is not an endgame. There are several other high priority design elements to a successful mobile presence that should not be ignored. Sincere thanks to Austin Paley of Blue Fountain Media for compiling this compelling data.

Do Not Use Flash for Mobile Responsive Designs

If flash is being used on the mobile version of your website, Google may tag the Meta description as not being optimized for small screens, discouraging potential customers from visiting the site and harming a business’s overall reputation. The fact is, largely due to security reasons, flash is on its way out in the mobile world since Web browsers are starting to phase out plugins such as Flash and Java in favor of alternative technologies.

Even with Responsive Design, One Size Does Not Fit All

Even when Flash is not being used, particular aspects of a desktop site are not going to translate well to mobile. Review the site for images, videos, or other multimedia elements that may be bogging down its performance. Remember that speed is the most important factor to a mobile website; small screen users are not patient. They want things at light speed. Shun complexities and fancy media in favor of simplicity and speed. Ensure that you are hosting a version of the site that is conducive to mobile for a first-rate consumer encounter.

Speed Rules

Users aren’t the only ones insisting your mobile site be turbo; Google demands it too. As significant as loading speeds are on desktops, Google is even more stringent when it comes to mobile. Every second it takes for your site to load will can damage your SEO rankings, preventing companies from gaining much needed exposure. Want to help your cause all the more? Host your site on a premium server. Follow stringent best hosting practices; don’t let this be an area where you skimp and save. Hosting is crucial to a healthy, fast-loading website. Choosing a more frugal server could potentially have a larger financial impact on your business than it would to pay for a top notch experience.

Use Schema Tags

 Including schema tags assists search engine crawlers in identifying the content on your website in a more effective manner, ultimately increasing the amount of mobile traffic received from your organic rankings. These tags will also carry through across platforms., Do not assume, however, that this tactic is in any way a black hat SEO trick; that’s a myth. Schema tags are a widely adopted best practice that makes it easier for search engines to understand the information being displayed on a website. Use them; every little bit helps.

Guarantee Your Site is Optimized for Your Mobile Audience

For all the content you create, be sure to have icons that are adjusted to size and easily clickable by fingertips, not a mouse. If your visitors need to zoom in to click a links and images, you’re creating a barrier to entry. Buttons should have a minimum target area of 44 x 44 pixels, as suggested by Apple. Additionally, a customer support phone number should be a clickable option that automatically dials your number, making it is easy to access. Usability is essential to a mobile site.

Standard SEO Practices Still Apply

 An optimized mobile site is not a cure-all, especially when it comes to SEO. Many of the more common SEO tactics still carry through to the mobile side, such as link building, meta data, and keywords (which need to be specifically targeted to your small screen demographic).Some of your SEO priorities from the desktop side will carry over, while others need to be Smartphone specific.

There you have it: The lowdown on responsive design and mobile best practices for 2015.

If you have set up a responsive site, how has effected your business; both positively and negatively? Please share your pros and cons with the process.


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Conscious online marketer, web executive, and multi-faceted writer Tina Courtney has been creating and fostering online innovations since 1996. Tina has assisted many clients in maximizing online production and marketing efforts, and is a staff writer for SiteProNews, one of the Web’s foremost webmaster and tech news blogs. She’s produced and marketed innovative content for major players like Disney and JDate, as well as boutique startups galore, with fortes including social media, SEO, influencer marketing, community management, lead generation, and project management. Tina is also a certified Reiki practitioner, herbalist, and accomplished life coach.  Learn more on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.

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