In the 90′s there was a lot of poorly written code. There still is, but to my point, the browser developers improved their browsers and that helped even poorly written code display the way the coder intended it to.
We’ve always had W3C Standards and we’ve always had people who ignore them and yet, if you search Google for almost any key phrase and run the top 5 sites through the W3C validator, you’ll be lucky to find one that validates without errors. So, having your website validate doesn’t really affect your ranking in the SERPs.
Now, the big buzzword is “Responsive Web Design” and everyone is saying “You must have it!” and they quote statistics that tell us 26% or 36% or 56% of our website visitors are on mobile devices.
We are supposed to believe those stats even though Google Analytics tells me 2% of my traffic is on mobile. So, the percentage varies from site to site. If you get a large percentage, even 5-10% of your traffic from visitors using mobile devices, you do need to be sure they can view your website.
But is responsive web design the answer to that? Well, it does work. It does re-size your website to fit the size of the users device, so I don’t dispute that it works.
My question is why do we believe the browser developers for those devices won’t fix the problem for us? History shows that, besides maybe IE, the browser developers do code their browser to fix errors. Browsers for smaller and larger devices already use zoom and other methods to help fit a website onto the screen.
That shows they are aware of it and working on it. They want users of their browsers to have the best experience using the devices that have their browser. So it’s in their best interest to fix most of the issues. So, why do we think they won’t do that?
If your website is built with CSS and built using %’s rather than fixed width, you’re probably just fine. But go to your website on various devices, particularly those that Google Analytics tells you visitors to your website are using and see for yourself whether you have any issues that need to be fixed.
There are a ton of blog posts that tell us mobile is the future so you should build with responsive design now to be prepared for the future. Well, the proof is in the pudding. If people are not having a problem viewing your website on the devices they are actually using to visit your website, then there isn’t any hurry. Besides we don’t know that the browsers won’t overcome some of the issues for us.
My point is this. Responsive website design is a good way to make sure mobile users can view your website the way you want them to. But, don’t listen to the fear-mongering posts that tell you your business is going to lose tons of sales if you don’t rush out and have it done today. Use analytics to determine the number of people who visit your website to determine whether you need to address the issue right away.
Also, don’t let anyone tell you that it costs twice as much to build a responsive website than regular website design. Whenever a new buzzword comes out, services offering that buzzword as a service pop up right away to charge a lot of money for it because they know people don’t understand it yet.
Check out this article and video on converting a fixed-width website into a responsive website. They call it 5-minute responsive web design.
I have websites that were built years and years ago that still use fixed width tables and no CSS at all. People can see them on a smart phone. So, I’m just taking a wait and see attitude.
If you have the budget to spare, or you were about to redesign your website anyway, then responsive web design is something you should look into. If not, you don’t have to adopt new buzzwords as soon as they come out unless you find it actually does affect your bottom line.
In the last week, I’ve encountered quite a few websites that offer services I was interested in that did not list their prices on the website. These were not services where a bid needs to be made for customized projects. These were sites that offer products or services that had a price list, but the company decided to leave the price list out of their website.
One, even had a statement, “Fill out this form and we’ll reveal our secret price list”. Others just offered the form you need to fill out to get prices. They wanted my name and email address before they are willing to tell me their prices.
Do you really think I’m going to do that? Maybe there are some people who do and you think your approach is working. But each of these sites lost me as a customer and I was ready to buy if the price was right. I’m not the only customer you’re losing.
What does it tell me when you use this approach?
1. You may not be reputable.
2. You think your prices are too high and that only by talking to me can you get me to buy your product or service.
3. You are more interested in emailing me a bunch of promotional stuff I don’t want than having me as a customer.
4. You don’t mind inconveniencing me as long as you get my name and email address.
5. You don’t care if I needed your product or service now rather than when you get around to contacting me.
Which of those things on my list do you think makes me want to do business with you?
No prices, No Sale