A responsive website is one that adapts to the screen size on which it is opened. Which means it ‘responds’ according to browser, screen size. Thus the name responsive.
Now, why is this important?
According to data ( BGR) more than 51% of online data is now consumed on mobile devices, be it small screen phones, big screen phones or ipads.
Thus, for better readability, your website content should be legible on mobile devices. Earlier, as fewer models of mobile devices were available so there used to be separate mobile version of websites. You could access that with m.example.com, with ‘m’ here denoting the mobile version.
But, now with so many screen sizes available, what looks good on certain pixels may not look good on other screen and pixel ratio. Hence the smart solution of responsive website.
Check the responsiveness of your current website:
Checking the responsiveness of your current website is matter of devoting few minutes at max.
One of quickest way ( though not entirely accurate) is to open your website in any browser and then resize the browser window from the smallest dimension to the bigger.
What you have to look for here is how the content of your website arrange themselves across different browser window dimensions.
But, this can be misleading. So the better approach is to test it via proper tools.
Here is the list of 2 tools to check responsiveness of your website:
How to have a responsive design?
Thankfully, nearly all the popular themes, be it of wordpress or HTML, have responsive layout. So it is all about researching a little bit about the overall outlay of your website and looking to suitable theme.
Buying well designed theme is especially a good idea, if you are not a coder and would rather focus on presenting the content in proper way.
For example, on themeforest, when you are searching for a good design for your website, simply go to search column and select responsive as one of filters:
When you purchase a theme like this, it saves you a lot of time and headache about testing that your website looks good in different screen sizes.
Plus, you get support from the developer as well as upgrades for all the bugs & fixes ( which are bound to happen).
But, if you are the adventurous soul, who likes to work on his own, then there are plenty of free (and paid) resources available online which can guide you about how to design a proper responsive website.
[If you are interested in learning about best practices of responsive web design, please take this free course by google on udacity]
Does responsive design helps in SEO?
Short answer: Yes, it does!
Your content quality is worth it only when your website visitor is able to read it. Now, as from first paragraph of this post, more and more people are consuming content on their mobile devices.
Which means, your content should be readable on mobile devices. Thus, responsive design helps you content to reach more people. Which is considered as good option by search engines.
It goes as far as to state that, Google says “Responsive Website Design is the best way to go”.
And currently Google rules search engine market. (unless you prefer duckduckgo for privacy). Which means, you take their way forward seriously.
Additional point: These days most of people share interesting content via messages. Which means the recipient of the message will click open the link on whatever device he/she is using. Thus, a responsive website has higher chances of being shared. Point proven.
RWD ( Responsive Web Design) is not a choice anymore, but a necessity. It is better to align your website/blog to what is going to be way forward.
With the effect it has on overall growth of your blog and subsequently on your income (or side income), get it over and done with this weekend.
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Also published on Medium.