Do I need one website or two (regular + a mobile website)?
Some content management systems allow you to create an entirely separate mobile site, redirecting users visiting from their tablets or phones to use a version of the site which is better optimised.
If you use your mobile devices to access websites regularly, you would have undoubtedly come across this method of mobile website delivery – noting that you might’ve been redirected to m.website.com, or website.com/mobile.
Is this the best strategy?
In short – the answer is typically no.
Desktop vs. Mobile – Website browsing
The growth in popularity of the smartphone over the past decade lead to a global tipping point (in approx. 2013) where (web-browsing*) traffic from mobile devices surpassed that on ‘typical’ computing devices, such as laptops and desktops.
This emphasises the importance of having a mobile-friendly website, no matter the method you use to deliver it to your audience.
You want your clients – current and potential – to have a rich, intuitive experience, that doesn’t irk them when they are seeking information.
Having to dig around and put up with a desktop-only website rendered on a mobile device is not providing the user with a great initial experience. We can all admit to having short attention spans, and if you a user can’t find the information they need or a method to contact you right from the start, they will likely be unmercifully dismissive of your site, and perhaps your services altogether.
Google says 61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing and 40% of those visit a competitor’s site instead.
Mobile Websites and Web-Apps
The circumstances where a separate mobile site or website framework would be advantageous is when your website is a ‘web app’ – where certain functionality from the desktop site wouldn’t make sense to be included on the mobile version, and vice versa. (eg: location-based mobile apps – like weather apps – or rich web-apps where only a limited functionality would be required on mobile, such as your banks’ internet banking service)
It also sometimes means maintaining two sites (rather than just one).
The most common solution
Responsive design is a web design terminology that refers to websites that are designed to change (or ‘respond’) depending on how wide the browser is, resizing some elements, and changing the position of others when the screen size is reduced – such as with moving from Desktop to mobile view.
For example: the PTC website is built on responsive design, which means that the website is updated and designed once, but has a set of rules for how it should operate depending on how much screen width is showing – like a desktop, iPad in landscape or portrait, or a smartphone.
Responsive design is so highly recommended, that it is just the default for all of the web design we do for our clients, and typically included when you purchase a website-in-a-can theme.
Your visitors shouldn’t need to ‘pinch-out to zoom in’ to view your website, and the navigation should be intuitive and conform to design standards.
Unless you have had a developer build a feature-rich web application for your fitness clients, you will benefit most by keeping responsive design in mind while working with your web designer, or buying a template for your DIY business website.
Tips for Responsive Mobile Website Design
- Put your website’s Call-to-Action (eg: Enquire Now! button) in a position where it is visible without requiring the user to scroll to see.
- If you’re going in alone, nearly all Squarespace + WordPress themes (thankfully) have responsive design built-in, which should give you a some peace of mind.
Pro Tip: View your business’ website on your PC/laptop browser, and drag the side of the browser window (to make the page skinny) to see the responsive design in action.
If you haven’t quite launched your business’ website just yet, do this on this very page that you’re reading now!