Welcome to the year 1988, the year before Tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web. The movie Rain Man was crushing it in the theaters, with a whopping cost of $3.50 a ticket. On the drive home, we were all jamming out to the Beach Boy’s groovy new smash hit, Kokomo, while Rupert Grint (Ron Weasley) was busy being born.
Then came the internet.
Many people thought getting your company “online” was just a rad fad and irrelevant to their business. After all, the internet would soon disappear as quickly as it arrived, like the Lite-Brite and Troll dolls, right?
Responsive website templates haven’t always existed. And they didn’t really need to. When the internet first rolled around, smartphones and tablet devices didn’t exist.
The whole idea behind having a responsive website is that your website responds to whatever screen size you’re using, automatically resizing itself for the best user experience possible. When the only screen size available is a desktop computer, there’s no need to have a website that automatically resizes.
But with the development of so many new pocket-sized screens, the internet is now accessible from nearly anywhere—not just a clunky desktop.
Why is it important for your website to be responsive? It’s important because when you start digging into the data, you’ll realize that the average viewing platform is no longer a standard-sized desktop computer.
Using Google Analytics, you can see exactly how many online visitors are viewing your website from tablets and mobile phones. If you aren’t actively keeping tabs on your website’s data, you’ll probably be surprised to learn how many hits you’re getting from tablets and phones.
It’s a quickly changing world out there, and traditional desktop views continue to decrease percentage-wise, making way for a variety of other screen sizes out there.
So here’s the kicker. If your website wasn’t designed on a responsive template, then when online visitors (i.e. potential customers) are coming to your website from their smartphones, plain and simply, your website looks like a dinosaur.
Think back to a few websites you’ve seen while browsing the internet on your phone.
You know how sometimes websites (viewed on your phone) have text that’s so small, you need to use your fingers to pinch/zoom-in just to read it? Then you’re constantly zooming in, zooming out, trying to figure out where to click. And when you do finally try to click on a link, you accidentally click on the wrong thing because the buttons are so obnoxiously small? Folks, that’s called having a non-responsive website.
Want to see what a responsive website looks like and how it behaves from screen to screen?
Try this out. From a desktop computer or laptop, go to www.ahfc.us. Look at how the navigation panel is laid out. Look at the homepage slider image. Take note of how the content is positioned on the screen
Now grab your cell phone or tablet and go to www.ahfc.us.
Compare the website layouts side by side, keeping in mind that it’s the exact same website—not a separate mobile site.
See how different the site layout looks on your mobile phone or tablet versus a larger screen? That’s the beauty of responsive designs.
Here’s a fun fact.
Did you know that Google thinks responsive websites provide a better user experience, too, so it actually favors responsively designed sites in the search engine results?
Not only do most non-responsive sites offer a bad user experience, but they’re actually getting harder to find.
1988 was great. It really was. But a lot has changed since then, and people are paying attention to what your brand does online.
When potential customers and clients are looking at your website, that’s a direct reflection of your brand. Your company’s digital reputation is just as important, if not more important, than your physical presence.
While your physical storefront or customer service line is only available for so many hours a day and only so many days a year, your website is accessible 24/7/365, constantly showcasing your brand—for better or for worse.
Simply put, if your business website isn’t responsive by now, and you don’t have any plans to change that, it’s only a matter of time before your website becomes extinct.