the web design ninja

Making Your Website Mobile

Responsive Design vs. Mobile Apps and Mobile Sites

responsive devices

The mobile internet and web world is exploding almost beyond comprehension. Back when we built our first website in early 1994, we could not imagine someone wanting to order a pizza over the internet. It took longer to dial the modem then it did to browse the entire site and place your order. Today, as we all know from our own experience, the world is moving mobile and fast.

Lets look at a few stats, as some of our customers cannot get a grasp on just how important a mobile presence is.

Of course it is always the shoemakers kids who have the worse outdated shoes and this is the same with our website.  Thank goodness we have been blessed with awesome website customers who look to us to build their online presence, but our own site gets neglected.  When we first wrote this page in 2008 we were just playing with mobile websites.  Then around 2010 we revamped and then again in 2013.  Now it is 2018 and it is amazing how the world has changed in just 10 short years.   For those history buffs, we will keep the page up and will simply add to it this time.

According to Media Behavior Institute, Mobile users increased 32% in the 2nd half of 2012. In January of 2013, 43.5% of worldwide users are accessing the web via mobile device. According to Nielsen, that number is 62% for users in the 25-34 age bracket. By 2014 – or 2015, by some estimates – mobile internet usage is expected to surpass desktop usage. On the numerous sites we have developed and manage we are seeing real data of up to 68.3% of traffic for certain sites.

Responsive DesignBy the end of 2013, analysts predict there will be more mobile devices on Earth than people!

2018 UPDATE:  Not surprisingly the above came true.  The current stat for 2018 is that 79% of the traffic to your website is mobile!  The mobile usage grew 240% between 2012 and 2016

What does this data mean to you when thinking about your web presence? In simple terms, it means that if your website doesn’t display well in mobile devices, you are missing out on potential customers and clients and you are losing significant web traffic which translates into fewer donations, fewer supporters, fewer members, and fewer advocates. With the phone calls we are getting inquiring about mobile websites, your competitors are taking advantage of this technology.

iphone responsive

Which is right for me?

“Why should I have a responsive site if I have a mobile site?” and “Should I build a mobile app?”  these are common requests we hear from our clients. The answer is not always straight forward, but for the hundreds of customers we have discussed this with, the answer is almost always boiled down to Mobile vs. Responsive. We have a few customers who can actually benefit from a mobile app, but for minimal confusion, we will skip over mobile apps for now. And while the choice between Mobile Website Design and Responsive Website Design can be confusing, in ALMOST all cases, we still recommend a Responsive Design.

2018 UPDATE:  We have for a few years now only do Responsive Designs.  EVERY website we build is responsive by default.  All of our shopping carts are optimized for mobile usage.  The main thing to note when working with us or another web designer is that you will most likely run into a scenario where you need to make a business decision regarding layout choices.  In some cases, people really want the contact form on the homepage slider.  The issue with that is that is it not mobile friendly.   Can we make it work flawlessly on both?  Absolutely.   BUT, and here is the caveat, it all depends on your budget.  If you are working with a tight website budget, it might not make sense to put that hours into making the site work exactly how you want it.  With over 3500 websites, we have the experience to know what works and what can be time consuming to implement.  We can always suggest an alternative to get you where you want to do and keep your website conversions up there with some simple adjustments.



A Mobile Site vs. Responsive Design


 Mobile Site
 Responsive Design 

Browsing and Display Experience



Responsive Design

A mobile site is essentially a copy of your website, where the server detects the device and displays the appropriate version to either the phone or computer. The mobile version is simpler and easier to navigate. The solution can really customize a unique experience for mobile users and retain your branding. We will almost always include a click to call and a map on the home page. A good choice when it might be too expensive to redesign responsively. Many CMS websites have a mobile applet that allows you to have a dedicated mobile site with minimal expense using your existing content.
In responsive design, the device lets the website know what resolution it can handle and the responsive website adjusts accordingly (large or small) and orientation (landscape or portrait). It will display differently depending on if it is an ipad, tablet, phone or desktop. A very good and flexible solution.

Domain Relevance

domain relevance

With a mobile site, most of the time you create a different domain (many companies choose to differentiate theirs by “” or “”). Can dilute domain and hurt organic search traffic. Can add to website management because you have to maintain two separate silos of content. Responsive design lets you keep all your content on your main domain.  The browser resolution decides what format the data will be displayed in. Google thinks this is the better solution:
…Maintaining a single shared site preserves a canonical URL, avoiding any complicated redirects, and simplifies the sharing of web addresses.

Link Value and SEO Implications

link value

Because a mobile site uses a separate domain in most cases,  the links that are generated from mobile devices can dilute the search link value in your SEO quest. Not as good for search ranking and can have a negative effect on SEO results. Since responsive design simply embeds new code to change the display resolution on your website, the sites for all devices are the same, just displayed differently. This allows your link value to be combined across all devices. Better option for SEO results.

Technology Tolerance

Responsive Design

To stay current with next-generation phones and mobile browsers the mobile version may need to be reworked on a regular basis. We saw a lot of rework done when Apple Released IOS 6.  Many of the mobile sites did not detect the browser properly and had to be adjusted. Could require higher maintenance expense as the technology shifts. The technology is more forward-thinking because once added to site it will work on next months and next year’s devices without having to be programmed further. A better return on your investment.

Experience Matters!

At Tampa Web Design we have been building Responsive and Mobile Websites for quite awhile. We have hundreds of them. The responsive concept has been around for since around 2008 with the “fluid and flexible” design concepts.  That was the onset of the responsive design trends and we were building those fluid designs in 2008-2009.   But the full responsive sites to work well on mobile devices with the appropriate CSS really started in 2012.  Prior to that we built many Mobile Websites that were simplified versions of the desktop versions.  Today,  everything we build is responsive by default. Even the last 70-80 eCommerce websites we have built all were Responsive with optimized checkouts for mobile users.  With several hundred sites used by mobile devices, we have gained the knowledge to understand how mobile customers are navigating and what types of content they are browsing on the devices by industry. For example, for most service businesses, the majority of the mobile users are looking for a number to click on to call, a map for the location and the hours the business is open.

Whatever you needs are – please call us for a no hassle discussion and quote for a solution for your business.