Purists want to believe it’s all about that code, but in reality, code and styling go hand in hand. To ensure that your web site works on any size or type of screen, touch screen or desktop, it needs to be responsive. Responsive design futureproofs your web site, so no matter the next great gadget (Apple Watch anyone?) your site looks great on any screen size.
Multiple views. Where past convention called for a separate site for mobile applications, contemporary coders go for a one-code-fits-all approach. So you’re using the same code, styled differently for different devices. Not all mobile devices are the same size, so responsive sites adjust to make sure all content is legible and ensure a pleasant viewing experience on any device.
SEO rankings. If your site is built with the afore-mentioned older convention of two sites for standard and mobile viewing, your SEO rankings will be impacted. Search engine optimization – how far up in the list your site appears when certain keywords are entered – includes a penalty for multiple sites. So Google, for example, views duplicate sites as duplicate content, thinks it’s spam-like, and docks your rankings accordingly.
User frustration. Who hasn’t looked at a site on your phone only to find out a link won’t work because content has shifted on top of it, you can’t complete the purchase because the “buy” button shifts off the page (or in portrait versus landscape), or that you can’t read content or see photos because they’re so small on your device? All signs of sites that aren’t built responsively. And all signs of sites that frustrate users, and thus repel rather than attract return visits.
Easier management. If you have a CMS (content management system) behind your site to allow you to update your own content easily, having more than one site adds frustration for you too. Or if one of your staffers has the task in their job description, you’re breeding unhappy employees, not to mention paying someone for doing the same work twice. Entering content once just makes sense.