differant screen sizes togetherIn speaking with clients, we often find the need to explain the differences between a responsive site and a mobile site, and why a business might want to use one over the other. Here’s a brief explanation that may give you some insight for your business needs.

responsive site is a website that detects whether a user is visiting the site from a computer, tablet or smartphone, and displays the page appropriately by rearranging, removing or changing elements that look good on the computer, but not on a tablet or smartphone.

mobile site is a completely separate entity (using a different URL, code and server space.) The main website detects if a user is visiting from a non-computer device, and if so, redirects them to the mobile site, which is usually a simplified version of the main site. This all happens behind the scenes and is usually transparent to the user.

Of course, the big question is, which should your company invest in? This seems to be an area of debate among marketing experts, but in reality, the answer is not complex. private cloud . In a perfect world, the responsive site is a no-brainer, but as this is not a perfect world—do the best you can with your company’s budget.

Responsive sites can be expensive to build. This isn’t a simple HTML website, or a WordPress theme; it is a complicated and robust application that serves dynamic content based on the device being used, and the orientation of that device. This is done with a lot of programming code on the server-side. Programming and web design often go together, but the skills for each are quite different. While many people can create a basic website, it takes a web programmer if any special functionality, like responsiveness, is to be implemented in the application. This equates to higher prices for the final product.

If your company can’t afford shelling out the necessary bucks to support a responsive site, or you’ve already invested thousands in a large, non-responsive site, then a mobile site may be your best choice. A separate mobile site can be less expensive and will serve the same content to your mobile users. Keep in mind that here we’re talking about a website specifically created to run on a smartphone’s browser in an aesthetically pleasing and functional way—NOT a mobile app. A mobile app is a completely different beast. While the mobile app route can impress mobile users and give them a much better experience, the cost of development can be even more expensive than a responsive site. Unless your business provides a service that can be leveraged by a mobile app, this is probably not the best use of your budget.

There is a huge disadvantage to choosing the mobile site, however, in addition to the maintenance costs of running two separate sites. That disadvantage centers around SEO (search engine optimization.) Google announced in June 2012 that it favors responsive sites and this is their recommended configuration. Keeping the search engine gods happy with our clients’ sites is very important to us — it matters not how beautiful your website is, or how excellent what you have to offer is, if nobody can find your website. For SEO purposes, this statement by Google alone is a compelling reason for a responsive site, if it is within your means to do so.