Not just the content of a website, it should be pretty clear by now that the design of a website also plays a major part in determining the success of the SEO efforts. The design elements are the first items that catch the attention of the visitors. And if they find any glitch with the design, all it would lead to is a high bounce rate and an eventual fall in the SERP rankings.
The rise of Tablets and Smartphones is also a reason why web designers must be even more cautious when designing a website. This rise was inevitable since more and more people started preferring mobile Internet usage to desktop Internet usage. However, there was initially a major glitch. The screen resolution of websites, when viewed from desktops and laptops, was working perfectly. But when those same websites were viewed from devices with smaller screen sizes (say, mobile devices), the screen resolution always got disrupted, and so was the user experience.
There were only two ways how this problem could be tackled – one, by creating a separate mobile-based website and two, by modifying the existing website in such a way that it fits every screen size. The result from the former technique is known as a ‘Mobile Website’, and the result from the latter is known as ‘Responsive Website’. Hence, both of them were adopted with immense joy, and they are very much in existence today. However, their individual success stories compelled them to become each other’s rival too. There have been debates (and they will continue in future) about which technique or strategy is superior. Frankly speaking, both of them have their pros and cons. Let us have a look:
The biggest advantage of using a responsive design is that it doesn’t require the creation or maintenance of a second website. The only necessary adjustments are scaling down various aspects of a website that won’t be important on a mobile device. All that is needed to be done is include the responsive techniques into an already-existing website.
A separate mobile website means that it becomes more accessible and viewable. Moreover, the information received from the content is compact because of a consolidated design. In addition to these benefits, the load speed is faster as a mobile website is created with smaller pages.
Let’s face facts! Even a well-designed responsive website can have flaws, and this means that there is no 100% guarantee a responsive website will function perfectly when viewed on smaller devices. As it has been pointed out earlier, responsive techniques hide certain elements that won’t be required on a mobile device. These elements remain hidden, but still, exist! And therefore, their presence can add to the page load time.
The biggest problem with a mobile website is the existence of two separate URLs. As a result, chances are high that the page rank of a website will get divided between the two websites. When it comes to maintenance, a flaw on the desktop site will have to correct along with the same one on the mobile website. This means that efforts behind maintaining a mobile website are double.
Both of these techniques have pros and cons that need to be seriously considered before taking the plunge. It totally depends on the tastes and needs of the designer, however, which will act as the guide in deciding which one to opt for in the end.