Design in the Shires Logo

Don’t get left behind. Here are a few valuable tips on how to make your site responsive. (No coding required!)

If you’re looking to optimise SEO, reach more potential customers and increase conversions, building a responsive website should be at the top of your priority list

In this article, we break the topic down to ensure you have every angle covered. No coding required. Just quick, actionable tips to make your site responsive in layman’s terms.

Mobile-first vs responsive design

Before you can make your site

Before you can make your site responsive, let’s address the elephant in the room. Namely, the difference between mobile-first and responsive design.

People use these two terms interchangeably. However, they serve very different purposes.

As the name suggests, mobile-first design is about putting the needs of the mobile user first. The layout you choose and everything you design is built specifically for a mobile device. You then adapt it to work on a desktop or tablet.

In contrast, responsive design starts with the desktop version. But the beauty of a responsive site is that it literally ‘responds’ to the device that is being used.

Unlike a mobile-first design which is built like a mobile app, it doesn’t need to be adapted. A responsive site adapts automatically to the viewing screen and behaves as if it has been designed specifically for your device.

The technology available now to web developers is pretty incredible. There’s no need to compromise on your mobile site design by manually changing the menu or deleting content.

Building a responsive site covers every experience and leaves no stone unturned. If you want to see a prime example, take a look at our website on different devices.

Why make your site responsive?

So, why is making your site responsive so important? Let’s explore.

·      It’s what customers expect – don’t get left behind

How many times have you visited a website on your smartphone and have had to zoom in and out to hit buttons? Or are shown images that don’t display correctly on the smaller screen? Research shows that 40% of people will choose a different search result if the first isn’t mobile-friendly, so don’t cut corners.

·      A positive user experience (UX) – introduce your customers to fluidity and flexibility

Responsive websites are built with the user in mind and require no manual resizing or fiddling to get a viewable page.

·      Lower bounce rates – keep people on your website

An adaptable website keeps users engaged and spending time on your website because it is easy and fuss free. User experience is of paramount importance with these designs.

·      Improves your SEO performance – follow Google best practice and get found

Google rewards responsive websites in the search rankings and recommends the design as best practice. In March 2021, Google also made its mobile-first indexing transition. This means the search engine giant will start indexing and ranking content based on the mobile version of your site. So, it pays to create a site that looks and performs great on every platform – especially mobile.

·      Increases sales, revenue and conversions – be accessible on the go

Your customers will easily spend more time and money on a website that is consistent across all their devices.

How to make your site responsive

Now for the business end – how to make your site responsive. In our experience, there are seven key areas that often need improving with existing sites.

Note – if you think you need to start from scratch, you may want to skip to the last section.

#1 Check your share buttons

Share buttons are innovative ways to encourage visitors to share your website content. But if you’re not careful, they can easily block your text or images on a mobile device. This is a real no-no when making a responsive website.

To avoid this, move them to the bottom or top of every page.

#2 Use long-tail keywords

Long-tail keywords are made for people on the go. While they don’t offer the same search volumes as regular keywords, they are a brilliant way of capturing colder prospects who are feeling inquisitive about a service, product or term.

For instance, if you want to know more about technical SEO, you may ask Google ‘what does technical SEO mean’. In which case, we have the answer.

To develop a top-performing website that looks great, reads well and is easy to find, web agencies need to think about user psychology and the impact of each element.

To boost traffic and enhance your website performance, think about what visitors will be searching for on their phones. Including an FAQs section on the website with commonly asked questions is another neat way to cover these topics and enhance the mobile UX.

Do users perceive certain brand colours? Good web agencies will often forget to tell you about this, while bad ones simply won’t have a clue. To find relevant long-tail keywords, try Answer the Public.

#3 Prioritise the ‘Need for Speed’

The key to creating a highly effective responsive site is to improve its speed.

Users don’t want to wait around for ages. In our Shocking Website Design Statistics blog, we revealed that the first five seconds of page-load time have the highest impact on conversion rates.

For every additional second of load time, your conversation rate drops by an average of 4.42%. Ouch!

To improve your site speed, try improving the following:

·       Compress images– high-resolution images can drastically slow your website down. Use one of these sites to compress your web images. On the flip side, you should always avoid images that appear too small or have a low resolution on mobile devices. It’s about finding a balance.

·       Use Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) – AMP-optimised pages rank better and offer faster load times on mobile devices. If you’re keen to learn more, speak to us.

#4 Make your buttons bigger

When you’re on the go, you don’t have the luxury of a big screen and a mouse to click on buttons.

If the buttons are too small, they’ll end up side-by-side on smaller screen formats. This makes it very challenging to tap on the right one.

A responsive website will have buttons that are big enough to see and use on all devices.

Take some time to test how easy it is to navigate around your site. If you’re having to stop and focus your attention on tapping a button, they’re not big enough.

Similarly, if you have a form with a drop-down menu, go back and look to style it in a way that makes it easier to press on touchscreen devices. There’s nothing more frustrating than a tiny form box.

#5 Keep content concise

Content is king. However, it’s also a pain in the arse if you have 1,000 words to digest on a mobile screen.

Unless it’s a piece of gated content or a long-form SEO blog, keep website copy below 500 words per page and always visually consumable.

Here are a few tips to consider when adjusting your copy:

Keep all paragraphs within 2-3 lines. This gives the reader a chance to breathe and absorb the copy.

Use short. Punchy. Lines. For. Dramatic. Effect. Don’t always use lengthy sentences. Take the opportunity to break it up and make people stop.

Utilise icons. Visual aids can aesthetically break up the text and allow you to be creative with the copy. They look great stacked up on a mobile device too.

#6 Make it interactive

Including interactive features are a fantastic way of improving bounce rates on responsive websites. Animated icons, funky company history timelines and product spec diagrams can really take the user experience to a new level.

For a bit of design inspiration, check out the product page we designed for Indra.

#7 Pay close attention to your navigation

The final way to make your site responsive is to take a long hard look at your navigation. A tell-tale sign of a good responsive site is a hamburger menu on a mobile device. (FYI – a hamburger menu is a little box within the header that neatly acts as a dropdown with all your page titles.)

But to go one step further, you should aim to include call to action buttons under almost every section block across your site.

By doing this, you are taking the user on a journey and giving them a clear pointer to find the info they want to see.

Think of your homepage as a supermarket. Above every aisle, you’ll find signposts telling you what type of food or drink you’ll find. Without them, you’ll get frustrated -  especially if you’ve never visited the store.

Your website is the same. Give customers a clear journey. After the homepage intro section, include a button that takes them to the about us page. Under the services or product section, add buttons that send them to learn more.

Prefer to leave the coding and design to us?

Whether you’re looking to build a brand new responsive website design or simply require additional support adding responsive elements to your existing site, our team are here to help.

As a leading design & digital marketing agency in Worcestershire, we can help you make a responsive site that’s mobile-friendly and generates leads.

To find out more, get in touch with us today.

Design in the Shires Logo Dividing Line