Responsive Websites Vs. Dedicated Mobile Websites
Today, more than ever, people can easily access content on electronic devices. In fact, we can now access content while on the move. The faster and easier accessibility of content can be attributed to mobile devices, which have become the primary way to access information.
Considering all the advancement that is being made, businesses must try to cope with the changing and improving technology. One way to keep up with the technology and beat your competition is by creating a good website for your business, a website that can be easily accessed on a mobile device.
Having a website for your business will give you an upper hand in the competitive world, as the website helps to market your business to the world. The web design agency can create a catchy website for your business that will attract more traffic and have a high optimization in all search engines.
However, before you go ahead and create a website for your business, you need to understand one essential thing: the difference between a responsive website and a dedicated mobile website. Both the responsive and dedicated types of websites can be accessed on mobile.
Each of these types of websites has its own merits and demerits. The choice you will make on which type of website to go for will have implications on factors such as cost, user experience, and search engine optimization (SEO).
Therefore, having a clear understanding of what each type of website entails will help you make the right decision on which website will be best suited for your business or blog. So, let’s dive in!
Dedicated Mobile Websites
Dedicated mobile websites are very different from the main website. In other words, they are separate versions of your main website, specifically designed for mobile devices. This type of website is usually housed under a completely different URL to the main website.
Therefore, it redirects a visitor to the mobile site, but only if the system identifies them using a mobile device. Most of these mobile websites are implemented by adding a suffix or prefix to the main domain.
For instance, if your main website is ‘yoursite.com,’ then the dedicated mobile website will be ‘m.yoursite.com.’ When a user visits the main website (yoursite.com), they will be redirected to the dedicated mobile website (m.yoursite.com).
On a dedicated mobile website, the user does not have full access to the desktop site’s entire contents. After all, having full content would mean managing the content across the two websites (both the desktop and the dedicated mobile sites). In turn, this would mean double the work for the website developers and content managers.
The good thing about dedicated mobile websites is that they are specifically designed for use through mobile phones. The website presents a smaller proportion of all the content users would access the desktop site version.
Therefore, users can easily choose and customize the features, settings, and content that will work best on their mobile devices. As users work with their most preferred settings, their user experience will be made even much better.
More so, dedicated mobile websites allow the owners to have a clear picture and understanding of the website visitors who access the website on their mobile devices. Such information is like gold to a business owner, as it provides valuable information on how website owners can optimize the site content for mobile devices.
Advantages of Dedicated Mobile Websites
The following bullets highlight the benefits of creating a dedicated mobile website:
Ø Fast loading time – With a dedicated mobile website, the only content you can submit is that which is specifically suitable for mobile devices. Therefore, unlike when loading regular desktop sites on mobile devices, the load time for dedicated mobile websites is made dramatically lesser.
Ø Creating different content and designs for different devices is possible – Having separate dedicated mobile websites makes it easier to target different desktop users and mobile users. The mobile sites also make it possible to align with online strategies for specific devices, such that business owners can promote different products and services.
Ø Improved user experience – The structure, content, and navigation features of dedicated mobile websites are optimized explicitly for mobile devices’ tasks. Hence, the site focuses on improving the user experience.
Ø Content is well-tailored – Dedicated mobile websites feature separate desktop and mobile content, whose navigation is customized for mobile users.
Ø It can be quickly developed – Mobile sites can be quickly built and launched, especially if you have an existing separate desktop site. Also, the building and launching process of dedicated mobile sites is usually done at reasonably low expenses.
Disadvantages of Dedicated Mobile Websites
Even with all the benefits associated with them, dedicated mobile websites also have demerits, as outlined below:
Ø It is quite impossible to implement multiple domain names. This demerit is especially an issue when sharing the mobile website link to desktop users, and vice versa.
Ø The content provided may require regular updating, both on the dedicated mobile website and the desktop site. However, this mainly depends on the structure of the site.
Ø Some of these mobile websites limit what users can access, which tends to be annoying to most users.
Ø The design of the dedicated mobile websites can become inconsistent.
Ø This type of website targets specific mobile devices or devices of specific sizes. Such specificity may not account well for upcoming new mobile devices.
Ø Dedicated mobile websites require redirection to the optimized mobile view, which adds additional load time for the page.
Unlike a dedicated mobile website that targets specific mobile devices and sizes, responsive websites adapt to the type and size of the device used to access it. For every visitor, a responsive website will change its content layout to fit the visitor’s device’s screen size.
For instance, with a responsive website, content that is accessed as a three-column format through a desktop computer can also be accessed as a two-column format on a tablet or phablet device. More so, the same content can be accessed as a one-column format by a user who accesses the same website on a mobile device.
A responsive website adjusts the site’s layout, format, and content using CSS3 media queries. These media queries function to access queries, such as the device’s screen orientation, platform, and size. This same basic HTML is also used to show content on other varied devices, such as web TVs, tablets, desktop PCs, and other mobile devices.
However, despite using the same HTML for all devices, a responsive website displays different text sizes, image sizes, and page layouts, depending on which device is being used to access the site.
Each responsive website contains the same overall design and content, irrespective of the device being used. Such a design ensures that all users enjoy a consistent experience when accessing the website through any device.
Therefore, if your main intention is for all the visitors to your website to access equal content, irrespective of the type of device they have, then a responsive website would be ideal for you.
Not only does a responsive website simplify the process of content management planning, but it is also easy to develop and maintain. After all, responsive websites only require a single site, unlike dedicated mobile sites, which call for creating a separate leading site, adding the development and maintenance costs.
Advantages of Responsive Websites
The following are the key merits you stand to gain by having a responsive website:
Ø One website can serve different types of devices – With a responsive website, you do not need multiple site designs. Instead, one single design is enough for various devices since it can adjust the web page’s content and layout to match the size of the visitor’s device.
Ø You do not need duplicate content for different website versions – Since it only requires a single design, a responsive website eliminates the need for creating duplicate content on multiple site versions. All that you will need to do is update your content, and it will be updated for all.
Ø Only one domain name is required – Having only one domain name is very beneficial. It not only simplifies how your website is shared, but it also reduces the risk of visitors linking to the wrong URLs.
Ø Future-proof for upcoming new devices – Responsive websites do not target specific devices or sizes. Therefore, there is a higher likelihood that this type of website would still work with new devices that will be developed in the future.
Ø They are easier to maintain – Responsive websites only require a single website. Maintaining a single site is much easier than maintaining multiple designs.
Ø Responsive sites promote consistency – Since the websites offer the same primary content on all types of platforms, they encourage a consistent experience among all users and visitors.
Ø They require a single domain/URL – With a responsive website, there is no need for redirection related to specific devices. Therefore, sharing content is made much more manageable.
Disadvantages of Responsive Websites
However beneficial they are, responsive website designs also have several drawbacks, as is outlined below:
Ø Responsive websites take a longer time to build and develop.
Ø The building and development process is costlier than other types of sites.
Ø At times, responsive sites load unwanted content on mobile devices, resulting in bad performance and longer load time.
Ø The mobile pages usually have the same-sized or even larger file sizes with responsive websites than the desktop pages. For instance, while only a 720px wide is enough for a smartphone, a responsive website may instead display a 1600px wide image on the phone. Such inconveniences also cause slower performance on the mobile page versions.
Ø The content provided by responsive websites is not fully optimized for mobile devices unless a mobile-first approach is used. Hence, these sites are usually not fully optimized.
Ø Responsive websites can cause usability issues. For instance, some mobile devices may be accustomed to performing mobile-specific tasks or prefer user interfaces specific for mobile, yet this is not possible with responsive sites.
Which is Better; Dedicated Mobile Website or Responsive Website?
Now you know the differences between a responsive website and a dedicated mobile website. Each of the websites has its associated advantages and disadvantages. So, which of the two types should you choose?
First, if you have a desktop site, and are also very content with it, then a dedicated mobile website would be ideal for you. Also, if you are looking to target content specifically to mobile devices, go for a dedicated mobile website.
When you choose this website approach, ensure that your users and visitors also have easy accessibility to your desktop site. After all, the users may, at times, need to access content that is only available on the desktop website. Also, try as much as possible to keep the styling and layout on the mobile websites consistent with the full desktop site.
On the other hand, if you don’t have a website and plan to build one from scratch, a responsive website would be ideal for you. Also, a responsive website would be your best solution if you already have a current website but intend to re-design it.
In fact, you can choose to get both desktop and mobile website versions, all in a single pack! Having a responsive website will be like getting an all-in-one solution. These types of sites usually deliver the same experience and content to both desktop and mobile users.
When it comes to implementing mobile user experiences, you have all types of options; from mobile-dedicated to responsive websites. While the dedicated mobile websites are specifically designed for mobile phones, responsive websites adapt to the type and size of the device used to access them.
Therefore, choose the type of website that would match your needs and preferences. And when you have settled on which type of website to go for, contact web design agency, and they will create the best responsive or dedicated mobile website for you!