Mobile devices are changing everything. They have significantly changed the way we communicate. Now they are also changing the way marketers reach us. This article takes a look at responsive web design and how it is changing the world of content marketing.
The Early Days
When smartphones were first introduced, only a few early adopters were actively surfing web pages using their brand new mobiles phones. Most people continued to browse the web on their traditional laptop and desktop machines. Websites too, remained largely optimized for the bigger screens of laptops and desktops and visitors from mobile devices had no choice but to take what they got.
During those early days, webmasters, website owners, and content creators could afford to ignore the growing mobile market. Not anymore! These days, mobile phones and tablets play a much larger role. They now account for almost 50% of all web traffic, so any business owner or content marketer who doesn’t take notice and embrace responsive and mobile-friendly design is bound to lose business.
Google has taken notice. And on the 21st of April, 2015, they announced a major algorithm change that would affect how search results are ranked – mobile-friendly web pages would be favored.
Enter Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design is a very technical topic. I have previously written a short article introducing the technology behind responsive web design – CSS3 media queries. In simple terms, however, responsive web design adjusts the look of the content on a web page based on the size and shape of the screen the user is visiting with. You might have noticed that some websites look different depending on the device you view them on. For example, if you visit the page you’re reading now on an iPhone, you will see a number of changes compared to if you were browsing this page on the wide screen of a desktop computer. Layout, menu and navigation, etc. will look different. That’s responsive web design.
How It Affects Content Marketing And Businesses
Besides the technical challenges associated with making existing websites responsive, there are a number of other ways content marketers and business owners are affected by the growing trend of responsive web design. For one thing, there’s really no need for mobile specific websites these days anymore. Previously, you would find sub-domains like m.domain.com or mobile.domain.com representing the mobile versions of websites.
Business owners with such mobile specific websites now need to make a decision about whether to keep such sites running or to modify their existing website to use responsive design. Also, there may be fewer opportunities for developers who specialize in building such mobile specific websites.
Responsive web design could also mean reduced amount of content creation. Some companies create some content specifically for the mobile version of their website and more content for the regular desktop version. With responsive web design, this practice is no longer necessary. If such companies hire freelancers for content creation, this could potentially result in lower production costs and higher profits.
Another important way responsive web design is changing content marketing has to do with the handling of images. Anyone who creates content on the web understands the importance of relevant and properly sized images. It is a big technical challenge to deliver high quality images that are small enough to load quickly. Badly sized images can greatly reduce response rates. Now that mobile-friendliness is such a big deal, content creators need to make sure their images look good across multiple devices and are properly sized as well.
Responsive web design is new and awesome. Some of the business changes that it will push are yet to be seen. In the meantime though, content marketers and business owners need to stay abreast of the changes and remain prepared to adopt additional changes that responsive web design could push.