Spotlight on Responsive Website BuildersJustin Leedy
Responsive website builders are all the rage for small businesses these days. Providing flexibility, adaptability and next-level user-friendliness, it’s easy to see why people love them.
Responsive websites are like having a desktop and mobile website in one. But they’re not the same as those types of websites. We plan on distinguishing between mobile and responsive websites below. We’ll also take a deeper dive into the features that comprise responsive website builder tools.
With an understanding of what they are and what they do, small business owners may start to feel pretty good about these tools - and they should! There are plenty of responsive website builder benefits that we can all feel good about. You’ll know what I mean by the end of this article.
What Is the Difference Between a Responsive Website and a Mobile Website?
The terms “mobile” and “responsive” are often used interchangeably. It’s easy to understand why people confuse responsive websites with mobile websites because there are some similarities. Let’s untangle these two for a moment to get some clarity.
Responsive websites are defined as:
“[a website design] approach that suggests that design and development should respond to the user’s behavior and environment based on screen size, platform and orientation. The practice consists of a mix of flexible grids and layouts, images and an intelligent use of CSS media queries. As the user switches from their laptop to iPad, the website should automatically switch to accommodate for resolution, image size and scripting abilities.”
Mobile websites are slightly different than responsive websites, in that they’re made to be mobile-friendly as their primary purpose. That can mean reducing the amount of text for the reader, optimizing images so small details are visible on small devices and making sure content loads fast on mobile devices.
To break that down a bit more, mobile-friendly websites are designed to work the exact same way across all devices, and the content is static. A responsive website design has dynamic content that changes. A mobile-friendly website has simplified navigation and the images display smaller, whereas responsive design means the images are optimized, and the navigation is condensed.
Think Mobile compares a responsive website with a mobile app here, highlighting that there are differences and similarities between each:
While in the past business owners sometimes created a separate mobile website, that practice isn’t common anymore. In fact, some business owners may choose to develop a site that is both responsive and mobile-friendly! Finding a responsive website builder is key to making that happen.
What Is a Responsive Website Builder?
A responsive website builder is a tool that allows anyone to create their own responsive website. Traditionally, creating a website required a high degree of experience with code and technical know-how. With advances over the last five years, responsive website builders have eliminated the need to have knowledge of code and have made it easy for anyone who’s computer literate to create a website.
You don’t have to be a website designer either, with experience photoshopping and resizing images or creating a mobile layout of your site. This type of builder eliminates the need for a mobile version of your website and rearranges the text, images and menu bar so that they fit well into a smaller screen.
Here is an example of our website responding and being displayed differently based on how it is being viewed:
Responsive website builders use intuitive drag-and-drop functionality that allows small business owners to build and update a website easily. Plus, many website builders offer high-quality templates to fast-track design and guide content creation. Templates offer you a quick and reliable approach to website creation, ensuring the format is modern, tested, standardized and in line with the expectations of your visitors. Here’s an example of choosing a template inside our responsive website builder:
Once you choose the theme of your website, follow the rest of the prompts through the builder experience until your responsive site is built! Whatever the site turns out like, you can rest assured knowing at least that it’s responsive to all devices and sizes.
The Benefits of a Responsive Website Builder
Using a responsive website builder has many benefits for you, your business and even your customers!
Speed of Implementation
With responsive website builders, websites can be created in a matter of hours or days — not months as is common with custom coded websites. For anyone looking to build their own website, builders provide a shortcut that doesn’t require technical expertise. This type of builder typically walks you through every step of the process, meaning you don’t need to worry about missing a step or not knowing what to do next.
Creating a separate website for mobile can be cost prohibitive for small businesses, so choosing to go with a responsive website means you have one website that can function across all devices. You really save money on expensive custom website design and development, by using best-in-class templates. While some builders claim to be free, they may not actually offer the builder (you!) or the end-user (your customers!) the best experience. Beware of completely free responsive website builders.
By choosing to work with a website builder program, making updates to your site is simple because you’re not paying a developer to make changes for you. With a responsive website builder, you can also add or change content on your site in minutes. In this example, text can easily be changed by clicking and replacing existing text.
Since responsive websites respond to mobile formats, they kind of check that box for you. At the very least, since Google favors mobile-friendly sites, you can be sure your site won’t be penalized in search results by have a responsive website.
Also as we just established, you can easily make updates to your website content, and when it comes to SEO, Google loves good content. So by adding high-quality information pages or by publishing new in-depth blog posts, business owners can send a positive signal to Google, showing their site is up-to-date.
Last thing I’ll say about responsive and SEO is that the whole point is for the site to be responsive to different screen sizes and formats. That means loading the most optimal size of an image etc., which can result in improved website speed. And guess what? Google loves speedy websites.
Choosing to use a responsive website builder ensures that critical items that impact user experience, such as the website menu, are set up so your visitors can find what they need.
Many times with non-mobile sites, menu items become impossible to read on mobile devices. Plus, a responsive builder will eliminate images that don’t work on mobile, so you can show or hide elements that impact the mobile experience.
Ultimately, offering ease of navigation helps build trust and increases the likelihood of a customer doing business with you as they’re able to find what they need quickly and easily.
Why You Need a Responsive Website
According to 2017 research, 57% of all U.S. online traffic now comes from smartphones and tablets, meaning that now more than ever, offering a responsive experience on your website matters. Knowing that more and more people are using mobile devices to view websites, choose a responsive website builder that offers better functionality at the same time.
Doing so ensures that your website can handle visitors regardless of screen size, device or platform — which helps improve the overall user experience on your website. Visitors who land there won’t be trying to zoom in on tiny text or view broken images, with the impression that your business is passé.
Having a responsive website helps you save money and time with website updates. Simultaneously it also helps improve search rankings! As of 2018, Google prioritizes sites that are mobile-friendly in search results, and Google recommends companies of all sizes create a site that is mobile-friendly and uses responsive website design.
When it comes to connecting with your audience as an SMB, it’s more likely than ever that their first experience with your business will be online. This means that now is the time to move towards using a responsive website builder. Ensure your customers have the best customer experience possible from day one by building a responsive website.