Trends show that around 60% of the online traffic comes from mobile devices and is expected to grow in near future, so it becomes very important for the website owners to have a mobile friendly version of their website to provide good user experience across devices of all screen sizes.
There are two options to create websites that are mobile friendly i.e responsive design or a standalone mobile website. Each version has its own pros and cons, so let’s take a look at both of them in detail.
Standalone mobile website
- Highly optimized: Will be much faster and light as compared to responsive website. All the elements will be optimized for mobile view like image of smaller resolution, less content etc., which will greatly enhance the user experience.
- Faster load time: You can have only those features that are required for a mobile version removing features that may not be required for a smaller version, resulting in faster load time.
- Needs more effort and resources: You will have to build same website again for mobile, which will result in more implementation cost and resource usage.
- Difficult to maintain: You will have to make same changes twice to sync functionality in both mobile and web versions.
- You will have to do SEO from scratch: Your separate mobile website will have URL something like m.website.com which will be different from your main website. So your SEO team will need to put in the extra effort to get your pages rank up in search results.
- Good user experience and navigation flow : Responsive design being a compact version of your website, the user is quite familiar with the website design and navigation flow and learning curve for user is very less which will also result in high conversion rate.
- Less cost and effort: If you plan everything efficiently you can achieve responsive design with very little cost and effort. There is also no need for separate maintenance cost.
- No additional SEO required: As you are making changes in your existing website, the URLs of the responsive website remains same, so you do not need to put in extra effort for SEO of your mobile version of website.
- High load time: Studies have shown that majority of responsive website have load time of approximately 4 seconds which is not acceptable according to industry standards.
- Lack of independence in communication with server side data: Suppose you have a web page showing 15 articles per page at once, this may not go well with your mobile version(showing 5 articles per page may work well) as both versions are being served the same server side content. This kind of independence can only be achieved only you have a standalone mobile website.
If you are considering responsive design for your website, do checkout Responsive web design guide by Google.
Choosing which version to go with totally depends on the specific needs and goals of the website.
Hope you find this article helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, please add them in comments.