Which is Better: Responsive or Mobile Site?

This is a question many businesses have been facing as mobile usage in their audience increases. You may have seen in your Google Analytics or other analytics tool that a significant portion of your users are viewing your business’ site from a smart phone or tablet. It’s obvious that optimizing your site for mobile devices will improve their experience with your business. Now you face the decision: do you go with a responsive or mobile site?

First of all, you may be wondering: what’s the difference? Here’s an excellent example of a responsive site: Devozine. If you visit the site, you’ll notice that if you manipulate your browser’s window size, making it smaller and smaller, the layout and content changes.  It’s one site with multiple versions depending upon the user’s screen size.

Meanwhile, a mobile site is a completely separate site with its own URL. If your users tries to access your website from a mobile device, they’re directed there. A mobile site is essentially a copy of your website, where the server delivers a smaller page that’s easier to navigate. In addition, as new phones and tablets are released, you may have to update your mobile site to accommodate them which can result in additional cost further down the line.

Mobile site are usually less expensive to design, so there is less cost up front, but they can dilute your domain and will not help your SEO. Google believes responsive designs are a better solution, because they avoid complicated redirects and preserve the integrity of your domain. Because they use the same domain as your main site, your link equity is preserved in search engines, which helps your SEO. Lastly, Responsive designs are more forward thinking. There’s no need to redesign as new mobile devices are released because your site will have been designed with that in mind.