With a growing percentage of global internet traffic adopting mobile devices to view web pages, responsive designs are quickly becoming the new standard for any website. In fact, I recently wrote an entire article on why you need a responsive website right now. If you are serious about your online marketing strategy, then you should know that it’s time to bring mobile and tablets into the equation.

As a quick refresher, here’s how responsive websites work: Traditionally when building a website, you would build it for desktop computer viewing and that was it. Then people started viewing web pages on phones which required a different design and sometimes entirely separate website. Then tablets showed up. Before you knew it you were having to build and maintain a whole slew of websites just to cover all of your bases. With a responsive website, the site uses one design that readjusts itself based on the screen size. A graceful degradation if you will, or progressive enhancement if you look at it from the opposite direction.

From a marketing standpoint, you also need to make sure that your responsive website works not only for us humans, but for search engines as well. You may feel like you want to include all the bells and whistles for every device and every experience, but it may not always be feasible. Remember that whole graceful degradation thing? Well it’s important. You need to understand the capabilities of each device your website is being displayed on. Here are a few things to keep in mind when developing your responsive website:

1. Don’t duplicate the content

One of the great things about working with responsive websites is that you have control over what content is displayed on what devices. But like Uncle Ben says in the Spiderman movie – with great power comes great responsibility.

And blood poisoning.

Duplicating content and changing the layout for each device may look great in the web browser, but search engines really don’t like it. In fact, our Googlebot overlords can penalize you for trying to sneak extra keywords in via duplicate content, even if that wasn’t your intention.

What you can do about it:

Ask your development team if they are taking actions to eliminate duplicate content and make sure they are using a technique like php scripts that will stop the duplicate content from even leaving the server based on which device is accessing it.  

2. Don’t play hide and seek

Another trendy faux-pas in responsive websites is treating every new device as a separate canvas. If you have a marketing strategy in place that takes advantage of mobile-only content, this could be an exception, but for the most part changing it up for the sake of changing it up just confuses people. If someone has already made several visits to your site on a desktop version and then visits again on a phone for example, those two experiences should be connected. It shouldn’t be an easter egg hunt to find the very same content like when they go and change all the cable channels on you.

Finding the Space Channel is the most I’ve accomplished this week.

What you can do about it:

If your team is going to be hiding important content between desktop and mobile, punch them in the face and don’t be afraid to ask why as it can have a big impact on your lead generation.

3. Don’t forget the middle guy


A great responsive website doesn’t just work for desktops and phones. What many people forget are the varieties of tablets on the market. If a user is running something like a full sized iPad, they would most likely want the full desktop experience anyway, but we can’t forget about the people running smaller tablets and even large screen monitors. Both the large screen and small tablet business are booming, so if your website is built properly, then adding another breakpoint to an already responsive website should be a breeze.

What you can do about it:

Have a discussion with your team about the optimal number of breakpoints that will accommodate your target audience. Also make sure that your developer leaves the door open for adding new responsive breakpoints in the future.

4. Be careful with the luxuries


Stunning animations and cool effects can really grab attention, but to create these effects, developers often use script libraries or custom scripts to make that magic happen. It’s easy to go overboard and can get trickier the more devices you add. Luckily, there are ways to deal with script bloat by employing techniques that only load and run scripts that are needed depending on what device the page is being viewed on. The faster the site the better – especially on mobile. The average time a visitor spends on most pages now is a paltry 15 seconds before they hit the road.

Once again, remember graceful degradation. If it’s not a integral element to the design or layout of the page, think about if it is really necessary to implement on smaller devices.

What you can do about it:

Ask your developer if they’re selectively loading site scripts and ask them to run a speed test on the site before launching. At the very least, make sure they are compressing their scripts so that they are as small as they can be. Site speed is a huge ranking indicator for Google.

5. Don’t forget to provide a next step

Let’s be brutally honest here. If the main call to action on your website is still ‘Contact us’, then we need to have a little chat. Your call to action is dryer than mom’s meatloaf. You see, unless I’m ready to buy from you right now, ‘contact us’ does nothing to get me into your sales funnel.

Integrating actionable next steps for each level of your sales funnel puts you in a much position to generate leads. You could also simplify the process for mobile users by having downloadable content offers that are emailed to you to download later as you can’t necessarily read the large files on a small phone.

What you can do about it:

Take the time to go through your CTAs and see if there’s something that can optimize them for the platforms they are on.

Be sure to discuss with your web developer the benefits, challenges and any potential consequences of going responsive with your website. Make sure that you know what you are getting. Too often we’ve seen companies end up with cumbersome setups that require too much upkeep. With these 5 tips you’ll be well equipped to ask what you need to know.

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