3 Reasons Why You Should Use Responsive Web Design for Your Blog

Is your Wordpress blog mobile optimized?  Is it mobile ready?  Do you have a mobile site in addition to your Wordpress blog or are you using Responsive web design on your blog?  These questions are things you should be thinking about when it comes to your business.  It doesn’t matter if you just consider yourself to be a blogger or if you are running a business on Wordpress, the question remains?

It is important to understand the world is moving to mobile and as we speak new technologies are being created to make us even more mobile capable.  If you, your site, and your business are not mobile ready then you are already behind.

 

Moving to Mobile

It is expected that more users will access the internet via a mobile device than by desktop computers and notebooks in 2014.  This is a huge statistic and 2014 is right around the corner.  With more people accessing the internet over a mobile device you can see that not being mobile ready can put you way behind other businesses and sites which are.

Mobile vs Desktop

 

There are a lot of Mobile options out there, but which one is the right choice?  Do you need a mobile app for your business?  Should you use a plugin like WP Touch Pro?  Should you have a separate mobile only html site built for your business?  While there are arguments for each and good reasons fo businesses to use these different types of tools and site setups there are 3 reasons why you should consider Responsive Web Design as your Primary method for mobile optimization.

 

1.  SEO:  Because Google Says So

Who cares what Google says right?  Wrong.  As much as we don’t like to admit it, when Google talks, we listen.  On June 11th Google announced on their Webmaster Blog that YOUR WEBSITE needs to be mobile optimized.  Not only did they say this, but they said it is going to affect rankings in Google.  Meaning:  If you are not mobile optimized the way Google Recommends there is a good chance you won’t rank as high as your competitor who is.  Is this necessarily true?  No, but mobile optimization is obviously going to be a new ranking factor if it isn’t already.

Google then went on to say, not only do you need to be mobile optimized, but you also should use Responsive Web Design.  In fact, it was their #1 Recommendation.

Google recommends webmasters follow the industry best practice of using responsive web design, namely serving the same HTML for all devices and using only CSS media queries to decide the rendering on each device.

They then went on to describe exactly how they can detect responsive design and why they consider it to be better than “other” mobile optimization/ readiness methods.

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Why responsive design (from Google’s Developer Site)

We recommend using responsive web design because it has many good aspects:

  • Using a single URL for a piece of content makes it easier for your users to interact with, share, and link to your content, and a single URL for the content helps Google’s algorithms assign the indexing properties for the content.
  • No redirection is needed for users to get to the device-optimized view, which reduces loading time. Also, user agent-based redirection is error-prone and can degrade your site’s user experience (see “Pitfalls when detecting user agents” section for details).
  • It saves resources for both your site and Google’s crawlers. For responsive web design pages, any Googlebot user agents needs to crawl your pages once, as opposed to crawling multiple times with different user agents, to retrieve your content. This improvement in crawling efficiency can indirectly help Google index more of the site’s contents and keep it appropriately fresh.

Crawling requirement

Be sure not to block the crawling of any Googlebot of the page assets (CSS, javascript, and images) using robots.txt or otherwise. Being able to access these external files fully will help our algorithms detect your site’s responsive web design configuration and treat it appropriately.

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That last part is extremely important.  If you do use Responsive Web Design or are going to use Responsive Web Design, make sure you do not block them from being indexed in Google via your Robots.txt file.  Google is using your CSS media settings to determine if you are using Responsive technology and the proper “max-widths” for use on tablets and smartphones so make sure you have a REAL Responsive theme for Wordpress versus something which is quai responsive.  For example, the Genesis Theme Framework is still not completely responsive, although it seems that it finally might be in the soon to be released Genesis Version 2.0.

So the bottom line here is if you want to be on the cutting edge of SEO in the new Mobile Generation, it is a good idea to use Responsive Web Design.

 

2.  Easy Site Management:  Multiple Devices

Earlier in the article we talked about different ways to implement mobile with Wordpress.  One of the most obvious reasons for using a Responsive Theme for Wordpress and mobile optimized plugins is you only have to manage your content in one location.  If you build Mobile Apps for instance, you may need to build an APP for each device you want to be on.  Android, iphone, iPad, and other tablets and smartphones, plus let’s not forget Kindle.  That could become a lot of work.  With a responsive site you can serve your content on any of these devices and you can add APP capability and icons to your Wordpress installation as well without needing an actual APP.

Other methods like creating a “mirror” site in html built strictly for mobile is a good idea if used strictly for specific marketing you are doing, but you still should have your main site attached to this “responsively” and have separate content.  Not mirrored content.  Once again, managing all that can be a back breaker, time consuming, and very expensive.  One site equals less money spent and more time invested in marketing your business versus building it and paying for it.

 

3.  Functionality, Optimization, and Sales

With a Responsive site you can focus your business and leverage the assets you have on your website.  In Wordpress there are a lot of plugins which are not mobile/ responsive, but when you use ones that are you have the ability to showcase enhanced “APP Like” functionalities on mobile devices which cannot be done as easily on an mobile only site or APP.

Processing sales on Mobile APPs and mobile only websites.  Being able to use your normal Wordpress shopping cart or sales pages will allow you to process sales a lot more effectively than you would otherwise.  Yes, there are exceptions for this, but for the most part it is true.

Then we come back to Optimization and SEO, but from another angle.  By using one site you can focus on Optimization for search and social sharing.  You can focus your marketing on the specific URL’s in your site which make a difference to your bottom line.  Having a Mobile-Specific SEO strategy can take a lot of time, effort, and resources, not to mention money.  Who wants to run separate SEO Campaigns when you can optimize your site for a multi-device mobile audience and normal PC and Notebook internet browsers?  Future-proof your site now with a highly focused construction and it will pay dividends for you and your business.

Even Forbes.com agrees.

Here is Forbes Ecommerce Marketing Checklist for 2013:

  1. Use Schema.org (Google Rich Snippets)
  2. Use Google Authorship
  3. Use RESPONSIVE WEB DESIGN!
  4. Use Content Marketing
  5. Use an Optimized Website (for Page Load Speed)

With a Responsive Wordpress site you really can have all of these wrapped into one.  Here at WPSocial.com our SEO Booster Pro and Social Review Engine plugins will optimize your site for Schema.org (Rich Snippets) and Google Authorship.  Because our plugins are built on the Twitter Bootstrap Framework, they are also all Responsive and Mobile Optimized.  Our Social Review Theme is also Responsive and Mobile Ready as well.  Wordpress is the ultimate Content Management System as we already know, and by using Responsive Design, you can optimize your site for all of this and page load times in one bundle.

There may be some arguments against this, but in 2013 Responsive Web Design is considered a must have when running a Wordpress powered site for your blog or business.

Edit:  I just found another article by Forbes which goes into even more detail about why you need to be using Responsive Web Design.  See it here:  Why You Need to Prioritize Responsive Web Design Right Now

9 comments
Erim
Erim

According Google almost half people around the world using their tablet like android, blackberry and other to surfing in internet. I agree with the author of this post we have should use responsive web design

Andre Foisy
Andre Foisy

Thanks for the great article Mike, very much excellent insights. That said, it is almost over a year now that I rejected everything that was not responsive, designing, recommending, promoting and selling exclusively Responsive designs, nothing less. I knew I was right, and you are... ;)

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

Thanks and Yes, we have been doing the same. Transforming everything we do into a responsive framework has been one of our major undertakings over the last 8 months, but we have done it and it is now the only way we develop Wordpress products. You are on track for sure. Mike

Eric Bobrow
Eric Bobrow

Mike - This is a very clearly written article about an important and timely topic. As a professional focused on helping architects and building designers use technology and develop effective websites, it's essential to stay up to date. While I am familiar with "responsive design" you helped me to understand more of the details about how Google evaluates websites that I will now be able to share with my clients. Thank you! Eric Bobrow

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

It is important to understand the landscape and the ever changing environment that is SEO. Sometimes understanding that SEO is not just backlinks and social sharing can go a long way in helping a business truly move ahead. If we can help in this, then we are truly doing our job here. Mike

Samuel Heins
Samuel Heins

Another great and well researched blog post. Informative and encouraging that I purchased the Social Review Theme from you and it is totally responsive. Love it. Thanks for your quality products. I always click thru and read your posts actually hoping that you have a new product released. They are that good!!

Brett
Brett

Thanks for the article Mike. This is definitely the way of the future. One thing to watch out for is that elements that look OK on a big screen also look OK on smaller screens. This very site for example has a large sign-up button on the left, which looks fine on my large monitor, covers up some text on my netbook, but on my mobile is just downright annoying. See: http://screencast.com/t/jwwajsIcTETC

Mike Johnson
Mike Johnson

Its not always perfect, but in the big scheme of things, you can see the point here. Plus, we are working towards optimizing each and everything here for mobile. So expect more and more changes to come. :) Mike