What Is The Difference Between a Mobile Website and Responsive Design

The way websites work has changed dramatically in recent years to include different platforms and browsers. For example, a mobile phone user doesn’t view websites the same way as someone using a laptop.

Mobile websites are optimized to load faster by including limited content, fewer graphics. Basically, a mobile website acts as a skimmed down version of a company’s main website.

However, some business owners opt for responsive design, which acts as a standalone website for their company regardless of what type of device the site is accessed on.

Responsive web design focuses on the actual device used to access the website, and in turn, the website is optimized to fit the dimensions of the device. For instance, an 8-inch portable tablet will have different website dimensions when compared to a 3.5-inch smartphone.

More and more people are using tablets and smartphones to access the Internet. In fact, by the end of 2013, it’s estimated that tablet sales will equal more than $100 million.

So being able to provide customers with a site that’s responsive to whatever device they choose to access the Internet from will help businesses tremendously.

However, with a mobile website, an entirely separate site is built to make mobile viewing even faster and more convenient.  Designs, graphics, and videos are usually kept to a minimum in order to ensure users can access only the information they need – and do it quickly.

When a mobile website is created, a subdomain typically hosts a set of files that that are similar to the traditional site. When entering your domain, visitors will be taken to the site based upon the type of operating system they are using.

For example, if they use a mobile device to visit your website, then they’ll be taken to the mobile version of your site. If they’re using a desktop computer to access the site, they’ll be taken to your main website.

Which Should You Choose?

Well, both are good. But if your mobile audience does not need to access every bit of information on your traditional website, a mobile website is the better option so you can scale things down to what they need to access.

Mobile websites allow businesses to specifically accommodate mobile users who are on the go by providing only the information they need; making it convenient and useful for the end-users.

How QR Codes and Mobile Websites Work Together

A QR code is a two-dimensional barcode, that when scanned by QR scanners, smartphones, and certain cameras, will provide information about a particular product or service.

In addition to a plethora of product packages, QR codes are seen quite frequently on business cards, restaurant menus, brochures, mail advertisements, flyers, and more.

It’s basically a simple way for smartphone users to quickly scan items and find out more information on the service and/or product they are interested in. As a result, QR codes also go hand-in-hand with mobile websites and can provide invaluable information.

The Main Purpose of QR Codes for a Mobile Website

The main purpose of a QR code is to provide a way for people to move along to your company’s mobile website for added details on services and products they are interested in.

Once they arrive on your mobile website, the scanned QR code will take them directly to the specific product or service details and any deals or specials you’re promoting.

Even the most optimized mobile websites can still be frustrating for consumers if they have to browse around before finding specific information. QR codes eliminate the hassle by taking people directly to the product or service data they scanned.

QR Codes Statistics and Benefits

  • Per a recent study performed by QR Aware, more than 52% of consumers have heard of QR codes, and at least 28% of them have used QR codes to scan for additional information. As more and more people become smartphone users, these numbers are expected to grow. Keep in mind that mobile marketing has more than quadrupled over the past few years, and QR codes are the next growth portion for mobile marketing.
  • Since so many people are turning to smartphones for shopping decisions, QR codes act as a gateway for product and service facts in print. It’s one of the easiest ways for someone to get information from print form into a more detailed, digital format.
  • Small businesses can especially benefit from QR codes as they can be placed literally anywhere. As previously mentioned, you can place a QR code on your business cards, on your products, in direct mail, on advertisements and flyers, and on brochures. While QR codes can lead consumers back to your product or service, they can also be used to lead people to event information, social media, a mailing list, product registration, and much more.

Source: QR Aware: A Mobile Barcode Awareness Study: http://visual.ly/qr-aware-mobile-barcode-awareness-study

Staggering Mobile Consumer Usage Statistics

As more and more people use smartphones and other mobile devices, the frequency of making purchases and finding new businesses via mobile Internet has increased significantly.

If this trend continues, which professionals affirm will, we can expect more people to search the web on their mobile devices than desktop computers by 2015.

  • As of 2013, 55% of all mobile users have a smartphone. Since at least 91% of adults worldwide own a cellphone, this means that half of these people use smartphones.
  • Out the 70% of all shoppers who brought their smartphones with them to shop, at least 62% went to the company’s mobile website before visiting the store.
  • Mobile coupons are expected to increase within the next year because of the sheer amount of people who now use smartphones. By 2014, experts predict there will be over 53 million mobile coupon users.
  • Over 65% of shoppers in the United States visit business websites before making in-store purchases. Most of these users would like to use a touch screen device while in the store to help make purchasing decisions.
  • Thanksgiving and Black Friday sales have seen more activity after consumers browsed mobile websites for deals.
  • Smartphone users, at least 74%, have used their phones to get directions to store locations and other business information.
  • 50% of smartphone users have accessed GPS location applications in order to find businesses.
  • Close to half of all smartphone owners access mobile websites to find local stores to visit, while a little under half use mobile websites to find reviews of local businesses.
  • By the end of 2013, it’s estimated that there will be more mobile devices worldwide than people.
  • More people make purchases via business mobile websites when compared with mobile social media accounts.
  • Close to 80% of smartphone users stated that they would like to have more business information optimized for mobile-friendly viewing.
  • Half of all American shoppers feel that mobile websites and product information has made them more informed than in-store associates.
  • Almost all cellphone users have used their phones to locate new local companies and in turn, many went on to become new customers.
  • Along with purchasing decisions, cellphone users check email, listen to music, and watch videos via their phones.



Luxury Daily: US Consumers Crave In-Store Digital, Mobile Touch Points:


eMarketer: Mobile Spurs Digital Coupon User Growth:


Pew Internet: Smartphone Ownership 2013: http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2013/Smartphone-Ownership-2013/Findings.aspx

What You Can Expect With a Mobile Website

With the increase of mobile web use, whether it is via smartphones or portable tablets, many companies have created mobile websites to ensure that consumers can view their business information easily and quickly.

There are many benefits to having a mobile website for your own local business. Consider the following:

The Consumer Viewing Experience

Consumers are a lot less likely to invest time or money in your service and/or products if they can’t access a mobile-friendly business website. Keep in mind that you’ll want your company’s most important information to be at the forefront and easy to find. For example, when a consumer visits your mobile site, your business phone number and address should be prominent. In addition, the services and/or products you offer should be simple to find.
Better Brand Image

Companies with a mobile website boost their brand’s image in a few different ways. First, it shows potential customers that you understand mobile technology and its progression. In other words, you won’t allow your company to be left behind as technology moves forward. Moreover, having a mobile website shows that you want your customers to have the best viewing experience possible.

Higher Search Engine Rankings

Fortunately, major search engines such as Google and Bing are able to determine what kind of device someone is using when performing an Internet search. Therefore, when a consumer searches for a local business from a cellphone or mobile device, the search engine results will provide the mobile website information first. What this means for companies is that mobile websites will rank higher in the search engine results. This in turn, will potentially bring more business.

Increase in Sales

Combined with the aforementioned advantages, sales can increase with a mobile website. Mobile deals and coupons are already a major factor in consumer decisions, and this is expected to increase as more and more people start to use their cellphones and mobile tablets to shop online.

According to a recent survey performed by Google, at least 65% of the 1,500 people who joined the survey stated that they prefer using mobile websites as opposed to applications when researching company information, shopping for new products, and finding directions. Over half of these users end up going into a store to make a purchase after visiting a company’s mobile website.

In addition, 42% of smartphone users don’t consult a traditional website via a laptop or desktop computer before making purchasing decisions. In other words, these consumers rely solely on mobile websites for product and service information. For companies with mobile websites, this of course means increased sales and exposure.

Source: Google: Think Insights: How Mobile is Transforming the Shopping Experience in Stores: http://www.google.com/think/research-studies/mobile-in-store.html

Why Every Business Needs a Mobile Website

By 2015, experts suggest that more people will use mobile and other portable devices to go online more than laptops and desktop computers.

There are already millions of consumers who rely on mobile Internet access to research new products, locate new businesses, and purchase new products and services.

In this day and age, it’s imperative for companies to have a mobile website that consumers can utilize. The most common and most important reasons every business should have a mobile website include:

  • Today’s consumers are completely different from consumers in any other time period. Not too long ago, people used to have to flip through a phone book, watch a television commercial, or wait for weekly advertisements to get product and service information.

Those days are completely gone thanks to the emergence of smartphones and mobile tablets. Consumers today seek business and product information online, and more and more are turning to their cellphones while on the go. Trying to access a traditional website that has not been mobile optimized is frustrating to mobile users because the pages load a lot slower and it’s hard to find the information they need.

  • Mobile users almost always carry their phones with them. For spur of the moment purchasing decisions, consumers may rely on mobile Internet. In fact, spontaneous purchases these days are made, in many instances, via smartphones. Having a mobile website in place will ensure that all mobile users have a way to access your business with ease.
  • Many consumers have stated that a great mobile website will make them more inclined to purchase from a business. If a website is too difficult to utilize on a mobile device, consumers will move on to another site that affords them more options; a competitor’s site.
  • Traditional websites that use Flash will usually not be available to cellphone users. People will typically get a message that either they need to install Flash or that Flash isn’t supported on their mobile device.

As you can see, not having a mobile-friendly website causes a lot of roadblocks when it comes to connecting with more potential customers, as well as existing customers.

Optimizing your company website for mobile has never been more important than it is today; and it’s not too late to start.  Do yourself AND your target audience a favor by mobilizing your website as soon as possible.


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