What Are My Options for a Mobile Website?
As the internet continues to evolve, so does the way we access it. Just a few years ago, an overwhelming majority of web traffic revolved around the use of desktop and laptop browsers to surf, shop and interact with one another. These days, however, the use of mobile devices to connect to the internet continues to increase exponentially as costs decline and computing power increases. With more than one-quarter of all internet traffic originating from mobile devices, it is hard to ignore the implications that this presents. If you are planning on revising your website, then you certainly want to take this into account. What options are available to webmasters that want to offer mobile-friendly browsing solutions? We’ll discuss them below to help you make the best decision possible.
Mobile Responsive Websites
Mobile responsive websites are designed primarily by websites that have multiple functionalities that must be offered and cannot be provided via a mobile version. When someone is pinging from iPads or other mobile devices, they may find that the resolution on traditional sites does not adjust properly to their screens. A mobile responsive website will adjust the resolution automatically to any screen, meaning that it will look and fit any user’s screen. This makes it easier for mobile users to use your site while still having access to all of its features. Some of the drawbacks to this are that certain text and elements may appear smaller than they would via a mobile-exclusive version, but the ease of doing this and the costs associated with it are minimal.
Independent Mobile Version
Some people opt to create an entirely separate version of their website – hosted and operated from a different directory or domain – that can accommodate mobile users. A user will need to access the site through a different subdomain or domain (often m.yourdomain.com). This is a great option for those who do not want to tinker with the existing design of their main website, but can be tricky when it comes to SEO-related issues. As the mobile usage of this site grows, it may also become in essence a second website for you to maintain. These two issues can cause many people to reconsider the concept of an independent mobile version.
Dynamic Mobile Compatibility
This is the best compromise for those who want to provide a truly mobile experience, but do not want to have to deal with multiple web projects. A dynamic mobile version of your website will allow it to detect whether the user is pinging from iPads or other mobile devices. If this is the case, then the user will be redirected to a mobile version of the website instead. In this case, you can often configure a mobile-friendly version of your existing website without any coding or an additional installation. Some drawbacks to this approach include the need for a premium service to provide this compatibility and again, the issue of SEO compatibility will rear its head. Most, however, find this to be the best option for balancing the need of a separate, compatible website with the strenuous exercise of maintaining two different versions.