Today, businesses are expected to have their website available and performing at its best 24/7 regardless of how the user is accessing the information. This means whether a visitor is using their desktop, laptop, mobile device or tablet—your website better be addressing their needs. Since the growth of mobile devices and tablets, many companies have implemented specific mobile websites to address slow performance and load times, which can often frustrate users and deter them from visiting a website. This practice can be detected when there is an “m.” at the front of the URL (e.g. “m.yourwebsite.com”)
Albeit a good solution for the advent of mobile, today the practice of the “M.dot” (or mobile site) is slowing in popularity. Thankfully, there is still a solution to continue communication with your mobile audiences. Responsive website design is trumping mobile sites in terms of usability, design and cost effectiveness. Here are the top reasons you should ditch the M.dot and go responsive:
With mobile sites, most companies cherry pick their most popular pages to be viewed by mobile viewers. Oftentimes this leaves visitors with a limited online experience—restricted to the homepage, services or products page, resources and/or contact page. If users land on a page in the site that isn’t mobile friendly, it prompts them to view the page in the constraints of their screen size. Responsive web design eliminates this problem. During the development process mobile-friendly design and coding is implemented to the website as a whole—for a 100% optimized website regardless of the page visited.
M.dot was originally a tactic to address slow webpage load times. Some businesses may be hesitant to “go responsive” if a mobile browser needs to crawl an entire responsive website as opposed to a mobile site with fewer pages. In reality, M.dot’s load times aren’t performing better than most fully responsive sites. This is due to the time it takes browsers to redirect a mobile user from the full page to the mobile page. Responsive web design requires no redirection—the CSS detects the screen dimensions and loads accordingly.
Having a website and a mobile site creates the problem of having to manage two separate entities. Meaning each time the site needs an update or modification (e.g. content edits, new copy, image formatting, new design, usability testing, analytic performance, etc.) the efforts must be duplicated twice—increasing the risk of human error. With responsive web design, changes to the HTML and CSS are completed one time and reflected across all screen versions.
In June 2012, Google recommended responsive web design as their preferred configuration for websites. Why is this so? With a separate website and mobile site, Google is then forced to crawl two sites using different Googlebots, therefore slowing down the load times and accuracy. Additionally, responsive web design keeps all web content under a single URL allowing Google to assign accurate index properties (aka – SEO keywords) to the website’s pages.
For the modern day marketer looking to go mobile-friendly, responsive web design serves the needs of both the user and the business. The user experiences a tailored, easy and speedy browsing experience, while the business showcases a well-designed, forward-thinking brand.
How did your business do in 2013? If you’re like most small business owners in Manta’s latest survey, the answer is “Very well, thanks!” Nearly three-fourths (72 percent) of entrepreneurs polled in Manta’s End-of-Year Small Business Wellness Index report that their businesses flourished last year. What’s more, a whopping 83 percent are optimistic that 2014 will be even better—an increase of 5 percent from last year.
But small business owners aren’t just wishing and hoping for a better 2014. They’re setting lots of goals to make this year a success. The top goal (cited by 40 percent) is finding new ways to promote and market their companies. Other top goals include improving customer service and getting new business (21 percent), networking more frequently (9 percent), launching new products or services or enhancing existing ones (14 percent) and delegating more to employees (5 percent).
Success isn’t all about the numbers. Small business owners finally seem to be recovering from a period in which the economy was stressful for both business and personal reasons. When asked if their business affected their overall health in 2013, 65 percent claim business had no impact on their health. How did they keep business stress from getting to them? The top stress-relievers are exercise (36 percent), taking vacations (25 percent) and getting more sleep (14 percent).
That doesn’t mean there’s no room for improvement, however. When it comes to personal goals, improving personal health was the top goal for business owners, with more than one-third (34 percent) saying they plan to exercise more, eat healthier and get more sleep in 2014. Other personal goals include saving more money (19 percent), improving personal relationships (19 percent) and helping others (15 percent).
How can you make sure that you achieve both your business and personal goals this year? One thing I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that you can’t do it without a support system. Small business owners in the survey apparently agree—they rely on a variety of resources for business advice, including other business owners (27 percent), industry experts (20 percent), customers (16 percent), the Internet (14 percent) and friends or family (13 percent).
Make a SCORE mentor part of your business and personal support system if you don’t already have a mentor. Visit www.score.org to get matched with a mentor and get free business advice 24/7.