The good and bad bits of a Mobile website and whether to do it in-house or through a web design company.
The modern, and Google preferred, approach to Mobile design is to utilise responsive coding, where the site layout formats to the device accessing it. It works particularly well when the designer has considered how the visuals will look across all layouts.
In recent years most pre-built website themes and templates have included this responsive element, which gives a low-cost option for micro-businesses or start-ups. However using a theme can often mean content is squeezed into a layout and calls to action are not best positioned. If price is the main driver for choosing a website developer or platform, then this may be an acceptable trade off.
For an established business or larger start-up, outside help should always be considered as typically the Return on Investment (ROI) is better due to improved conversions. There are other factors, such as a bespoke site allows for better matching to corporate branding, an individual look and to some more advanced users a template site is a sign of an unprofessional organisation that doesn’t really value it’s web presence. Templates and Themes have also led to large variations in pricing for website development, which can often be confusing for customers.
Returning to the responsive side, although it provides multiple benefits such as having a single site to manage, better search positions, improved load times and mobile optimised structure, we are finding there is a downside; increased bounce rate. We believe this is due to people wanting to see a full version of the site, as default, on their phones. With bigger screens and higher resolutions becoming commonplace, it appears that the majority would rather have an identical website shown regardless of the device they are using.
Perhaps the coming year will see another change in the direction of how websites are created, with developers reverting to single layout sites. Ultimately this depends on the stance taken by Google and equally what the goals of an individual website are. Additionally the way in which we interact with the web may drive this and whether we actually want to access websites from miniature devices such as wearable technology.