What is the Difference Between Mobile and Responsive Web Design?

Mobile websites are becoming increasingly essential for businesses, and if you do not yet have one, you are going to want one soon.

People are using their mobiles more and more to get access to the web, and they are starting to expect you to have a mobile-friendly version of your site. If you don't, you could be losing customers.

But there are options when it comes to creating a mobile-friendly site. One is to have a separate mobile website, and the other is to use responsive design.

So what is the difference between these?

Mobile websites

Using a mobile version of your website involves creating a separate template for your website that will be accessed by the user automatically when they visit your site on a mobile device.

This will essentially use the same content as your desktop version, but it will change it to a format that is easier to access on a mobile device by making the content clearer and simplifying the menus.

Pros and cons of mobile websites

One of the main benefits of mobile websites is that they are typically easy to build. In fact, depending on the platform you are using, you can often get plugins to do the work for you.

For example, if your site runs on WordPress or another CMS like Umbraco, you can download a plugin that will automatically make a mobile version appear when someone visits your site on a mobile device. Alternatively, you can get your own mobile template designed by a professional designer.

However, if you choose this option, you will need to look after two websites rather than just one. You may even need multiple versions of your site rather than just one.

Responsive design

This is a special type of design that has become popular in recent years. It involves designing one website that then changes automatically according to the size of the screen being used to view it.

So the website will look different on a desktop, a tablet and a smartphone screen, automatically adjusting to fit each one.

Pros and cons of responsive

The major benefit of responsive design is that you only have one website to worry about. You can simply make changes to one site, and you won't have to worry about updating anything else.

Responsive sites like the ones our website designers create at CSI Media are also slick and attractive. They look great, and they work smoothly across devices.

Another bonus is that Google likes responsive design and encourages it, so this could provide you with SEO benefits as well.

However, it may be more expensive to get a responsive design because you will need to hire a skilled designer to create a responsive site for you. Despite this, the benefits may outweigh the extra cost involved.

Which is the best option for you?

Many sites are using responsive design these days. But you may prefer to have a separate mobile site instead, so this is something only you can decide.

We'll be happy to provide you with advice based on your circumstances, so please get in touch to ask. And whichever option you choose, we’ll make sure you have a mobile friendly site up and running as soon as possible.