They are very useful, and I would even say “a must” for any business today.
But if you are not a web designer, maybe you don’t know why you actually need one?
So let’s take a look at what exactly a responsive website can do for you and why you need such a website.
The problem with fixed sized websites started with laptops and large screen monitors.
Then came mobile phones with internet connections, smartphones and tablets like the iPad.
All of these computers and devices have different screen sizes.
And you might have noticed that a lot of websites do not look very good on them. In fact, some are downright horrible.
You have probably given up on some websites too.
That is why you need a responsive website.
Responsive websites adapt to the size of the screen and look great on almost any device or computer.
So instead of zooming in or out and scrolling all over the place, responsive websites provide a fantastic experience for anyone who visits your site.
Without getting all “techy” on you, I will try to provide a simple explanation of how responsive websites work.
Basically, when you visit a website your browser sends information about the size of the screen you are using.
The website can use that information to re-arrange the webpages, to display them differently (better) for you on your phone, iPad or computer.
Almost anything can be changed – font sizes, colors, images, positions of elements on the page, and so on.
You can even show some things, and hide others. It really is quite flexible.
If you want to see some examples, here are 5 great ones from Social Media Examiner
Responsive websites are not perfect, because they have to make some estimates of the screen sizes to expect.
However, having one means your website looks great on almost any device.
So anyone who visits your website will be able to find, read and interact with your site, without cursing your name!
And they will probably come back too, because it was so easy to use.
For any kind of responsive website you need a web designer to get involved, but there are some easy ways to avoid this.
For example, if you are using WordPress, you can use a Theme for your website that is already “responsive”.
This means that a web designer has already developed a responsive design for you, that looks good on smartphones, tablets and PCs.
You should always test their design before you buy, to make sure you are happy with the way it looks on at least a few devices.
However, normally they do a pretty good job.
I have used quite a few and the results are fantastic.
If you want to test a specific responsive design or WordPress Theme, there are a couple of ways you can do it:
Option 3 is often the best as you can see the results for a large number of screen sizes all on one page or specifically see what it does at certain screen sizes.
If this is something you would like to try, here are a couple of good responsive test websites I have used:
Matt Kersley’s Responsive Tester – Tests many sizes at once
ResponsivePx – Test a specific size
Tip: Find lots of other useful website building tools
With so many people on smartphones or iPads today, you cannot afford to NOT have a responsive website.
If you already have a website, use the testers above and see how good or bad it looks.
If it’s good, pat yourself on the back. Your customers probably love you.
If not, have a serious think about moving to a responsive design very soon. You could be losing customers.
Ashley is obsessed with SEO and WordPress. He is also the founder of Mad Lemmings. When he is not busy helping clients get higher on Google he can be found doing crazy sports in the Swiss Alps (or eating too much chocolate - a habit he is trying to break).