As many of you will be aware, one of the big buzzwords for web design of the last couple of years has been 'responsive', with the need for a website design that responds to all screen sizes having become integral to online success. With over 50% of all website visits now coming from mobile devices and tablets, ignoring the lure of a responsive website now runs the risk of alienating a large proportion of your online audience and can potentially hurt your school’s brand.
We are sure that your school positions itself as premium supplier of top-class education so your website needs to reflect that. Your website is your digital hub of information, and is often the first port of call when parents are considering your school, so you want to portray yourself as best as possible. Responsive web design is no longer a luxury afforded to a few, but an affordable and necessary development of your school’s online presence.
IT'S NOT JUST MOBILE ANYMORE
As we briefly discussed above, the fact that a significant proportion of your audience will be viewing your website on a mobile device or tablet means you need it to be optimised to all screens. Many schools have, in the past, simply opted for a mobile-friendly web design but the problem with only optimising your site for mobile viewing is the rise of tablet usage. With desktop browsing on the decline, many are opting to surf the web on their tablets, and a mobile-friendly site on its own simply won’t cut it.
It should also be noted that one eye should be kept firmly on the future of developing technologies; the emergence of smart watches just goes to show that the tech industry is continuously innovating and creating new ways to browse the web, so you really need a site that will be able to accommodate and respond to any size and device.
GOOGLE REWARDS RESPONSIVE WEBSITES
Responsive development is Google's recommended approach for mobile web design. According to Google, responsive websites will perform better in search rankings because they provide a better user experience than sites that are not mobile-friendly.
Google also prefers responsive sites versus mobile sites when it comes to search engine optimization. Previously, mobile sites required a different URL for it to crawl and index multiple versions of the same site. Since Google doesn’t like content repetition, with multiple versions of the same site, you would be promoting content repetition. Thus, Google is likely to demote your site if you still have different versions for desktop and mobile.
Google isn’t playing around either; it already penalised static sites when it released an update in April, dubbed Mobilegeddon. According to Google, this update affected around 40% of its mobile searches and websites’ SEO rankings were severely reduced if they did not adhere to the evolving design principles.
YOUR USERS WILL THANK YOU
Responsive design gives users a better experience. For example, users don’t have to fool around with zooming and shrinking the text or images on screen. Instead, all of the content automatically adjusts to the screen of the device. This makes it easier and more convenient for users to read and navigate on your site.
According to Google’s Think Insights on Mobile, whenever a user arrives on your mobile website and is unfulfilled, or doesn’t see the content that they are searching for immediately, there’s a 61% chance they will leave and head to a different website.
Furthermore, the increased importance of social media means that many of your website visitors may be coming to your site through links from your social channels. Given that there are well over 2 billion active social media users, with 1.6 billion of those being active on mobile, the chances are that if people come to your school’s website through a social link, it will be on a mobile device. It is imperative to keep the user experience consistent and offer a responsive website to accommodate for mobile links.
Is your school website responsive? To find out and learn more about the benefits of a responsive website for your school, contact our US team on (727) 608-4389.