In 2014, we reached a tipping point in the world of web. Users accessing websites from mobile devices had surpassed those using desktop computers. Fast forward to 2018 and this trend is continually rising, with over 50% of web traffic across the globe coming from mobiles.
Within the last few years, we’ve seen many customers embrace responsive website design, reaping all the benefits they have to offer. However, there are still a large number of schools out there who don’t believe that responsive websites are a necessity, rather than a luxury. Within this article, we outline exactly what responsive design is, how it can benefit your school and why updating your existing school website to become fully responsive should be on your to-do list in 2018.
What is responsive website design?
Responsive website design is a method of web design that allows a website to display and function well across a wide range of devices, including desktops, laptops, tablets and mobiles. The site design is based on a ‘grid layout’ that seamlessly adapts to the screen size the person is viewing the website on, reshuffling content to display at a suitable size for improved usability and interaction.
Responsive sites are different to mobile sites. With mobile sites, you often need to compromise and scale back the functionality and/or content, whereas responsive sites serve up the same content regardless of viewing device.
Why you should consider responsive website design
1. Less work for you
Managing two separate school websites for mobile and desktop devices takes time and let’s face it, that’s one thing that’s definitely in short supply. With a responsive site, there’s no hassle for you – just input your content in one central place and it’ll update to display beautifully on any device.
A responsive website doesn’t just benefit your school administrators. Using a non-responsive or mobile site can be a frustrating experience, with one third of users abandoning a website if it does not display correctly on mobile. It’s critical that your audience isn’t ignored. Any issues that prevent parents from accessing your site may mean that important information is missed or could lead to increased requests for information by phone or email.
2. A positive perception of your school
Busy lives demand more immediate ways of consuming information. Your non-responsive website is likely to be alienating a large proportion of users and affecting their perception of your school. A responsive website will give a positive impression of your brand, improve parental engagement and encourage return visits to the site.
In fact, a brilliant responsive school website will make a lasting impression as soon as pupils and parents arrive on your homepage, even before they’ve started reading any content.
3. Higher ranking in Google search results
Back in April 2015, Google introduced a mobile friendly search algorithm that gave preference to responsive sites in search engine results pages (SERPs). In an effort to continue to improve usability, Google are forging on with their ‘mobile first’ agenda. The search power house are currently testing a new algorithm that will use your site’s mobile experience as a contributing factor to determine search results. If your site is not yet responsive, you risk being penalised by Google, leaving competitors with a greater opportunity to outrank you in search.
This means that neighbouring schools may appear higher in the Google search results, simply because their websites are responsive.
What are the next steps?
Now’s the time to future-proof your school website. We understand that cost is always a deciding factor, which is why we offer a range of package options to suit your budget. In our experience, the long term gain and benefits of going responsive will far outweigh your initial investment. If you’re keen to upgrade your existing website to a responsive website design but don’t want the hassle of doing so, rest assured that we will do all the hard work for you! We’ll migrate your content and provide training and support to help you make the most of your responsive website.