The Importance of Responsive Design for SMBs

We have the opportunity to work with several independent franchises and local branches of major national companies. To their credit many see the value of having their own website to enhance relationships, better serve customers, and generate leads & sales from customers and prospects within their local communities.

Once we begin website development for one of these small businesses (SMBs) the next question is almost always:

How can my website be found when area residents are searching for my service?”

What they are referring to is getting ranked near the top of the Google ranking list when prospects and customers are searching.

However, due to recent changes by Google, even if a customer searches by the business’s specific name they may not appear near the top of the rankings of a Google search. Since April 21, Google stated that a website must be a “responsive design” or it will result in a significant impact on search results due to new search algorithms.

What’s responsive design?  It’s easy reading and navigation across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors and laptops to tablets and smartphones).responsive websites, responsive design

responsive design

With the widespread adoption of smartphones, tablets, phablets and more, a responsive design is quickly becoming a necessity for all businesses. The big enterprises are already on there way there, with many of them offering clients and consumers the ability to interact, engage, and perform business transactions via mobile. But, what about small businesses? While 60% of SMBs consider mobile solutions essential, 93% of small business websites lack the responsive design for mobile compatibility and better ranking opportunities.

That disconnect could prove fatal as consumer habits continue to shift, and the preference for interacting with businesses via mobile becomes more prevalent.

While there are many within the SMB community that will say they do not have the time or resources to invest into a responsive website that is mobile friendly, there are some simple, yet effective actions they can take.

There are solutions available today from using do-it-yourself tools, to redoing the website based on a newer, mobile-optimized templates. But mobile-ready is not only about the look & design; it’s also about making the site usable for consumers on a mobile device.

Optimized templates provide a myriad of design and function features. A talented web designer can work with the available options to make each site look very customized, contemporary and very importantly, mobile-friendly. By making the key information of the business readily available, and the main actions easy to complete – you can expect a great increase in engagement, as well as better rankings.

Like any website, your main page should display your phone, address and other key facts of the business. It should also provide a quick way to interact with your business, and have clear, bold call-to-action (CTA) that is easy to complete from a mobile device.

Online scheduling or appointment-booking capabilities are examples of great features for a small business’ mobile site. With a short form or a live calendar where customers or prospects can select times that fit them best to schedule an appointment.

A responsive design, mobile-friendly website is pivotal to accelerating long-term growth of a small business. As the digital landscape continues to mature, small businesses—traditionally slow to adopting technology—will need to aggressively use technologies and strategies to give themselves an advantage.

Mark Weinstein