When do I need a separate website for mobile devices?

Your business may be better served by having a separate mobile device site

In our August 28, 2013 blog post, titled “2013 Is the Year of Responsive Design (RD)” we described the many advantages of creating one website both for potential customer PCs and mobile devices. Responsive web design resizes content automatically depending on the size of the screen. And, in fact, in 2012, Google pronounced that they prefer website owners to use responsive design.

There is more to the story, however. Mobile website technology continues to advance in parallel with responsive design. As we move into 2014, it’s important to take a close look at how your business may be better served by having a separate mobile device site.

For example, if you have a brick and mortar business (restaurant, retail store, etc.) a separate mobile site can help your customer more quickly and easily determine your location and perhaps buy your product(s) or service(s) on the spot. RD mobile device screens, by comparison, may display distracting, extraneous information that result in lower conversion rates. In addition, desktops more often have older browsers that are less often updated compared with those for mobile devices, further compromising RD mobile device speed and functionality.

Answer the following questions for a quick assessment of whether a separate mobile device website would be best for you:

  1. Does your business require different input fields for mobile device users compared to those of your standard website?  If so, the consistent formatting of RD won’t work.
  2. Do you already have a good quality standard website? Revamping it to integrate with mobile functionality can be costly.
  3. Do you require the fastest possible download speeds? Know that RD websites generally load more slowly on a mobile device because larger screens are supported by higher-powered bandwidth and better resolution than what can be accommodated by even the best mobile devices on the market to date.
  4. Are you willing to pay a bit more for better mobile device navigation? A one-size-fits-all RD approach requires consistency of design and formatting that can hinder small screen navigation.
  5. Do you need the best possible advertising format for your customers’ mobile devices? It’s easier to integrate advertising into a separate mobile device format.

If you answered yes to most of the above questions, having a separate mobile device website is your best choice. If not, RD offers SEO and many other advantages, including lower development costs.