The Rise and Rise of the Responsive Web… But Long Live the Mobile Site!

Month by month more and more sites online now are going responsive (adjusting in size and shape depending on the form factor of the device viewing the page).

At our sister marketing agency business when we had tested responsive themes a year or so ago we found them clunky and limited in their functionality and ability to seamlessly morph shapes depending on devices.

We feel that the responsive web has come along way in maturity in the last year and that responsive themes available for common platforms like WordPress and Magento now work seamlessly.

An example of a mobile site with ‘Click to Call’ and ‘Find Us’ features

This is great news especially for eCommerce stores where maintaining a standard site and a mobile site and keeping them in synch can be cumbersome when dealing with large numbers of SKU’s. The general buying public is becoming more and more comfortable with buying what they want at any time, from any device, so a responsive eCommerce theme is now a must.

But what is the best solution for the average business owner such as a tradesman or a physical shop owner or service provider?

If I was to just follow the industry trends I would say a responsive site, but when I really think about it 9 out 10 businesses we meet really need inbound phone leads and so in this case I say the industry trend is just plain wrong.

Our research is showing that for these types of businesses having a mobile site at their m.domainname.com is resulting in far more leads than for those who choose purely the responsive design without a mobile site.

The reason for this is two or three very important tools for lead generation. The first of these is ‘Click to Call’ – having this at the top of a mobile site for many businesses results in as many leads if not more than their enquiry webform on their traditional website.

Another important feature on mobile sites is the ability to add one click to Google Maps to ‘Find Us’. Whilst from mobile analytics we only see this get used about 30% as much as the ‘Click to Call’, its still a very important lead generation feature for getting potential customers to the door of physical stores.

A new feature on many mobile site platforms is ‘Click to Text’ which enables the mobile site visitor to click one button and then be able to send the business owner a text. The jury is still out on this one as we are new to testing it, but will share the results with you in the months to come as we test it in the wild across a number of different industries mobile sites.

So I think if you have a large and complex site then responsive is the way to go. If you need the phone to ring for lead generation then there is no better move than a mobile site with ‘Click to Call’ functionality. Perhaps a hybrid solution of a responsive design that only redirects to a mobile site when the form factor of the device is a hand held the size of a smartphone will prove to be the best solution for the majority of businesses moving forwards.

 

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