I’m gonna come right out and say it…There is no place in 2016 (or whatever year in the future you’re reading this) for a mobile version of anyone’s website.
But wait, aren’t mobile websites and mobile responsive websites the same thing?
A mobile website is one that delivers a scaled-back, bare bones experience on smaller screens, compared to viewing the same site on a computer. Mobile sites tend to look like apps, but not in a good way.
Responsive sites, on the other hand, don’t sacrifice appearance or functionality just to fit on a tiny screen. To see responsiveness in action, play with the size of this window and watch the page elements bounce around and rearrange, remaining sexy and true to their original purpose.
Which brings us to the first reason why mobile sites are bad news…
Imagine your main site design is your business’ flagship store, a physical location. Your mobile version is like a second branch, allowing you to tap into twice as many potential customers. In other words, allowing you generate more leads.
But now imagine that your second store doesn’t have bathrooms, is always out of stock, has exposed wiring, and always has some strange new liquid spilled in aisle 3. Building a mobile version of your main site instead of a responsive site is just making half of your visitors’ lives as difficult as possible.
The issue of quality is one thing—it doesn’t make sense to give a huge chunk (even a majority) of your site’s visitors an inferior product. But the other problem is consistency—mobile sites just don’t look much like full-blown websites, and can mess with your branding efforts.
And do you know what people do when they visit a mobile site and become confused, frustrated, lost or angry?
They leave. Then they find a responsive site that’s easy to navigate on their phone, and you’ve just lost their business.
If you think web design doesn’t really matter that much, think again. Web users have certain expectations when they land on your site, and if your design and usability experience is neutral or negative, you’re dropping the ball.
Having a mobile version of your site isn’t as simple as magically transforming all of your content into a shiny new package. Actually, that means rebuilding your entire site in duplicate. All the pages. Every last one of them.
As you can imagine, that can cause you to run into problems with Google. You see, Google doesn’t like duplicate content. In fact, Google hates duplicate content.
So not only are you delivering an inferior experience to your customers, you’re also making Google angry. That means you risk getting penalized, all because of your website.
Having (essentially) two sites means you have to update and maintain two sites instead of one. I’m sorry, but that’s just nuts.
Personally I’d rather spend my time NOT updating the same exact site twice, thank you very much. So what’s the solution?
Responsive websites solve almost all of the problems of converting your average website into the dimensions of a small phone screen. And even though phones are getting bigger and bigger, odds are they’re never going to be the same size as a laptop screen or desktop monitor.
That means businesses will always need to cater to the still-growing segment of the population who prefer to browse the web on mobile devices.
All of the sites we build for ourselves and our clients are responsive because that affords every business—from the smallest law firm in Montana to the biggest Chinese manufacturer—the most opportunities to grow.
Failing to adopt responsive web design means you’re stifling your biggest demographic in terms of potential eyeballs landing on your site, and that’s just bad business.