Why your Website Needs to be Responsive in 2019

The Basics

For those still not in the know, when we talk about responsive websites we mean a site that will move pictures and blocks of text around to fit onto different screens.  Your 24 inch monitor pretty much fills your field of vision and is landscape.  Your phone fits in the palm of your hand and is (usually) portrait.  To think that a user will have the same experience on both of those screens is the first mistake a company can make with their website.

Why is this important?

A usable mobile site is vital to good customer experience.

It’s simple, if users can’t easily navigate your website, they will leave, quickly.

Responsive web design makes your website much easier for visitors to read and navigate. The result is an improved user experience, and that means a better overall experience of your company and brand, and a much higher chance the user will engage or even spend money.

Not only that but did you know Google gives your website a ‘score’ and that directly impacts your ranking? Amongst other key factors, Google recognises ‘time on page’ as a fundamental measure of a site’s quality.  The better the site, the longer people will stick around.  The longer they do, the better you score.  This leads to higher ranking and better visibility.

Your website is a reflection of how much you care.

Your audience are switched on to the idea of responsive websites, and they are very discerning.  Besides being harder to use, a site that hasn’t been optimised for mobile tells your visitors that you’re not investing in the future, or that you simply don’t care about their experience.

Consider this: You (probably, hopefully) keep your centre looking as nice as possible because you understand that it impacts on your members perception of your company.  Why is your website any different?

Numbers person? I’ve got you covered too.

So now you’re saying: “Well ok, but how can I be sure people are even using our mobile site?”  Read on…

Most of your Google traffic will be on mobile.

65% of all organic searches are now on mobile.  Yes, people are now more likely to take their phone out of their pocket and Google something than sit at their desk or get out their laptop, which is obvious when you really think about it. 

It’s also worth noting that of the remaining 35%, a large amount of that will be work-based, so the statistics for searches in the leisure/fitness sector are probably significantly higher.

Nearly ALL of your social traffic will be on mobile.

80% of all social traffic comes through a mobile device.  That means that if you are spending money marketing on social media (and in your sector, you really should be), 4 in 5 of your click throughs will land on mobile version of your site. Think about it – would you spend money promoting an event and do a really bad job of hosting it? No.

People do eCommerce on mobile now.

Not including groceries, a staggering 87% of all UK sales were online in 2018.  40% of those were done using a mobile.  Now, you’re probably thinking: “Yeah but that’s mostly Amazon”, and you’re not far off, but that’s not actually the point; the point is that, emotionally, people now trust their phone as a route to transaction.  For a company in the leisure/fitness sector, that means your users are more than happy to book their free trial or even sign up to a membership on mobile as long as that’s an easy thing to do.  Say it with me… ”User experience is key”!

Your competitors are doing it.

You operate in a sector where your potential customers have options and will research them. There are 7,038 gyms and leisure faculties as of April 2019 , up from 6,728 in 2017.  For many, joining a gym is an emotionally charged, tentative decision and people will take their time and explore their options.  When you factor in all the statistics from above it’s clear to see there is a large chance their research will lead them to your, and your competitors’ mobile sites.  52% of users state they would never align themselves to a company with a poor website.  If they’re on their phone and you’re not mobile optimised, a poor website is what they are seeing.

Hey you in the corner with the ‘separate mobile site’.  This is aimed at you too.

A separate mobile site is not the same as a responsive website, and the differences are becoming more and more apparent.  It’s actually great that you’ve already understood the importance of mobile, but the powers that be are working against you on this one.

In early 2018, Google announced that they were going to start something called mobile-first indexing.  It’s complicated and a bit boring but it basically means that your content and the overall quality of your mobile site will start to affect your Google ranking more than your desktop site will.

If you went responsive, then that problem goes away because Google now only has one site to rank you on. The benefits are clear:

  • One SEO/AdWords/Social marketing budget
  • One set of Google Analytics.
  • One site to protect and maintain
  • One eCommerce platform to manage
  • Universal changes – when you change a picture or plan prices, add a new special offer etc. you only have to do it once and the changes will appear on desktop, tablet and mobile, because it’s all the same site.

Final Thought

Ask yourself seriously, how many potential customers might never walk through your doors just because they didn’t like their online experience of your company?

Responsive web design isn’t a trend anymore, it’s a fact of life. In 2019, if your website isn’t accommodating users on multiple screen sizes, you’re going to lose out in ways you might not ever have foreseen.

Marco Frezza is Creative Director of Apex1 – brand and digital specialists. We would love to talk about how we can help you both increase and improve your exposure to your core audiences.  Click here to visit our website.