What are mobile website methods?
Two common mobile design methods are: responsive design (RWD) which simply means a website will respond or adjust to the correct screen size on different devices. And dedicated mobile sites, which are a separate site that is created, customised and heavily optimised specifically for use on mobile and hand held devices.
Responsive web design combines all device version into one easy to manage website. This simplifies a website by avoiding the need for redirects and separate updating. Responsive design works by adjusting webpage lay-outs with percentages rather than pixels.
Downside to responsive web design can be somewhat slower loading times as a result of a poorly constructed RWD website. This can easily be resolved by optimising images and various other methods discussed in the speed and performance category on WEB SWIFT SEO. Content cannot easily be customised to suit only mobile users. If a website has a specific function for mobile phones it may also be visible to desktop users.
RWD website navigation can be sometimes difficult on a mobile device. This can usually be avoided with thorough testing of content management systems and themes before website construction begins.
Dedicated mobile sites make sense if a site specifically targets mobile phones. There are a few big advantages to having a dedicated mobile site that include.
Faster webpage loading speeds can be expected if it the site is constructed professionally. Since the dedicated site will only be viewed on mobile devices its possible to heavily optimise the pages to suit. This essentially means smaller images and page layouts which reduce data size, downloading times along with data usage.
Customising a site to specifically enhance the mobile usability and user experience. This makes a lot of sense if you want users to see different content on a mobile version than on a desktop version.
Dedicated mobile sites will often be easier to navigate as a result of being fully customised to suit the screen size on a portable device.
Downside to dedicated mobile websites
More time or money will be needed to create and update a dedicated mobile website if it’s to work along side a desktop version.
Having multiple URL’s with similar content will need to be linked using ‘Rel Alternative’ or ‘Canonical’ Meta-tags. This can cause duplicate content issues unless properly managed.
Redirects need to be put in-place so the desktop user doesn’t land on the mobile version and vice versa.
Redirects can slow down webpage loading times. They can also affect website ranking and SEO scores if implemented incorrectly.
Mobile method affect on SEO
Both responsive web design and dedicated mobile sites can be equally powerful for search engine optimisation and achieving high website search status. Both have the ability to be customised to gain a high quality user experience and site usability. Mobile websites are a strong SEO ranking signal that will only be given more importance by search engines as the internet grows in popularity and availability.
WEB SWIFT SEO summary
The big difference between RWD and having a dedicated site is the time and effort it takes to manage two websites instead of one. If the resources are available and it makes sense to have a dedicated site then it can be a worthwhile task. As far as affordability goes responsive web design can achieve similar results at a much lower price tag. Today could not be a better time to ensure your site is mobile, and if it is, then it might be time to look into the quality when viewed on various device types.