Which Is Best, A Responsive Website Or A Separate Mobile Website?
The way we access the internet has changed a lot over the past 10 years and in fact, more than 50% of all internet users are now viewing websites on mobile devices. With this in mind, it’s crucial for business owners to ensure they have a fully optimised and mobile-friendly website.
When it comes to mobile-friendly websites there are typically two options available, a responsive website or a dedicated mobile website. Within this article we’ll discuss and compare the differences between responsive websites and dedicated mobile websites so you can decide which is best for you.
Dedicated Mobile Websites
What Is A Dedicated Mobile Website?
A dedicated mobile website is completely separate to your main website and is designed specifically for mobile devices. They are often accessed via a separate url or subdomain, for example m.yoursite.co.uk, and users to your main website are redirected to the mobile site if they are identified as using a mobile device.
Pros of Dedicated Mobile Sites
- User Experience – dedicated mobile sites are designed specifically for mobile devices so in theory they should provide the optimal mobile user experience.
- Cost Savings (when updating a existing site) – if you have an existing desktop website which is not mobile friendly then it is often cheaper and quicker to have a separate mobile website built rather than redesigning and rebuilding your existing website to be responsive.
Cons of Dedicated Mobile Sites
- Difficult To Maintain – having two separate sites means double the maintenance work required.
- Lack Of Content – generally speaking, most dedicated mobile websites lack the same level and quality of content their desktop counterparts display.
- Easy To Neglect – because most people in business sit behind a desktop computer, it is easy to forget about and neglect your mobile site especially when it’s an additional website which needs to be updated separately.
- A Dying Practice – like it or not, dedicated mobile sites are a dying practice. However, it can be argued that they still have their place for websites which double as a mobile app, for example Facebook and Youtube.
What Is A Responsive Website
The purpose of responsive web design is to have one website which responds to the device and screen size it is being viewed on.
Pros of Responsive Websites
- Ease of Maintenance – having one website to maintain is much easier than maintaining two separate websites. It also means all users will receive your updated content immediately regardless of what device they’re on.
- Cost Savings – if you’re starting from scratch or planning to redesign your existing website, it’s much more cost effective to build one responsive website rather than two separate websites.
- Works Across All Platforms – Provided you work with a web design agency who builds the site correctly, there will be very little in the way of changing code to make it work responsively across all platforms.
- Consistent Look And Feel – because it’s one website, the user experience and look and feel remains consistent across all devices.
- Great For SEO – Any content and work you do towards improving your websites SEO will be available across all devices. Responsive websites also free SEO managers from the worry of redirects from a dedicated mobile site and the possible impacts they may have.
Cons of Responsive sites
- More Assets To Load – because responsive sites need to work across all devices they tend to have a large file size and more assets to load.
It can be argued that there is no right or wrong answer when choosing between a responsive and a dedicated mobile site, as long as you’re providing the best experience for your users. However, from taking a high-level look at the points above it’s clear to see that in most cases a responsive website is the best route to go.
If you’re looking for a new website or if you’re planning to redesign your existing one, it’s important to discuss all of the different options with your web design agency.