Mobile websites are no longer a luxury. They’re a necessity. At this point nearly half of all local searches start on a mobile device. That’s a lot of traffic. If you go to an even larger scale, sites like Amazon.com have seen an average mobile growth rate of 87% year over year!

Today, responsive websites are the norm. They have the flexibility that allows the design and layout of your site to respond to the device that it’s being displayed on while only having to maintain one website instead of several for each device. To read up a little more on responsive websites check out our 3 Reasons why responsive websites are the new mobile.

His website is fast and responsive. I wonder when he will be?

So how can we implement a solution without breaking the bank? We’ve put together these tips that can get your business back to the future and start seeing some of the growth rate other sites are seeing.

1. Plan For It From the Start

Even if your current budget doesn’t allow for responsive design, at the very least make it part of your plan. If you’re at the point of revamping or creating a new web presence, then this is the perfect time to implement a responsive site. If your web team is worth half a ham sandwich, they’ll be developing your website to be mobile responsive anyway. Be sure to ask this question before starting the project.

Think of it this way: You’re building a house with several rooms for the kids, but once they move out, you want to blow out a few walls and turn that sucker into a five-star penthouse party suite. Just as your architect will need to build the house so that load bearing walls are in the right place, your designers and developers should have a plan to lay the groundwork for a mobile responsive website.

2. Use a Framework

Speaking of laying the groundwork, frameworks give developers a jumping off point to start from when building a site, allowing for much more affordable custom websites. Most of today’s frameworks have some great tools in them to create responsive sites.

Twitter’s Bootstrap framework for instance, is great for this as it’s billed as the most popular front-end framework for developing responsive projects on the web. It is designed to incorporate as many different design points as you need, in order to respond to all of those devices out there. Make sure your developer uses a framework that can respond to multiple devices so that they aren’t billing you for a bunch of time to reinvent the wheel later on.

This is Travis from development, I need a billing code for stalking my ex on Facebook.

3. Use a Template

This part always comes with an important disclaimer. For a small shop or hobby business, etc. pre-built templates are great. They don’t cost much and they are already three quarters of the way there. The issues that arise with templates is when you need specific features, layouts or even if you want the design to match the rest of your brand.

But if you’re looking to add a quick blog to your online marketing or if you absolutely need a site up tomorrow, a pre-built template works wonders and most of them are already built to be responsive. Just make sure that you have a professional assist you in choosing and setting up that template. Even though it is technically easy to get it up and running, the marketing plan behind it is what will ultimately decide if it is successful or not.

4. The KISS Rule

KISS is an acronym for ‘Keep It Simple, Stupid.’ One of the traps we see people fall into every day is that they feel the need to incorporate all of the bells and whistles from the full desktop website. They tend to forget that the key to an effective mobile site is usability.

Sometimes, these features can be incorporated fairly easily, but really think about it. Does it really make sense to load all of these extras on a mobile device? Not only is it extra work, but you also aren’t doing your mobile users any favours by sucking their data plans dry. One way to save money on any web project is to embrace what is known as Progressive Enhancement. What that means is that instead of wasting hours of time resetting and overriding all of the rules for each and every web browser and mobile device, you embrace the limitations of each and work to make sure the base experience is the same, and not fuss over a shade of purple or a missing drop-shadow on your buttons.

Mobile needs to be quick and easy, so spend less time on eye candy and more on preserving functionality. It’s about the bare necessities.

Now Is the Time to Go Responsive

With these 4 tips you should be armed and ready to get the best bang for your buck on a responsive website. As always, drop us a line or leave us a comment and we would love to answer your questions.

Other Resources
3 Reasons why Responsive is the new Mobile
5 Ways to Convert Your Mobile Visitors into Customers

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