Optimising your real estate website for mobile devices has become crucial in today’s digital savvy market, with mobile devices making up for over 50% of total website traffic. However, there are different options available in the mobile arena and this can lead to some confusion about which method works best. Therefore, this brings us to the question of whether it is best to switch to a responsive website design or develop a separate mobi website.
Responsive web design refers to a single website that automatically fits the screen size of the device on which it is being viewed. This is done by adapting various features of the website, such as: navigation, design, content etc, in order to deliver one website that looks the same on all types of devices.
A mobile website is essentially a separate copy of your website designed specifically for the limitations and opportunities of mobile platforms. Mobi websites usually direct to a different URL (usually m.yourwebsite.com or mobile.yourwebsite.com) where the server works to deliver an optimised mobi site that’s smaller and easier to navigate on mobile devices.
There are several factors to take into consideration when choosing the best option for your company:
Search Engine Optimisation
There can be technical problems with responsive websites as it is a relatively new technology and some outdated devices with old browsers may load the website too slowly or not at all. This can negatively impact your ranking within search engines. However, responsive websites that pass Google’s mobile friendly test, are given preference in Google’s mobile search results over those that fail this test.
Google values websites which offer a great user experience and because Mobi websites are specifically tailored to mobile, they usually provide a better user experience than their responsive counterpart. Because these websites are designed specifically for mobile users, these websites are given preference in Google’s mobile search results.
Responsive websites are usually slower due to the fact that there are usually many more web page elements and extra content. This is because a responsive website is one website which has been scaled to fit all devices and some of the content which suits a desktop, is not necessary for mobile and can slow the site down.
When coded well, a mobile website will usually be stripped of many of the elements that slow down a mobile device. Technology such as PHP auto-redirection has ensured that smartphones never load the full site and are automatically redirected to the mobile site, allowing for faster loading times.
Desktop is a completely different experience than mobile and so having a single, responsive website can hinder your overall user experience on both platforms if certain elements aren’t carefully considered and coded.
Due to the fact that mobile websites are designed specifically for mobile devices, they typically offer a better user experience. This is because the site elements and content are geared towards mobile devices, allowing for faster loading times and better navigation.
Responsive design usually entails a simpler overall design and fewer elements because it must comply with several different devices. This can often be limiting and designers often need to make compromises in order to find a suitable layout that will adapt to all screen sizes.
Although this can often lead to extra maintenance and work, mobile websites allow for total creative freedom in terms of design. Designers have full control and freedom for both the desktop version and the mobile version as they are two separate websites. This can also ensure that both designs and layouts are geared towards each respective device, allowing for a better user experience.
Responsive design can be a very powerful technology depending on the scenario. For simple websites such as blogs or news sites, responsive website design is a suitable choice. This is because it is a simpler solution that allows a webmaster to maintain a single website. Whilst a mobi website solution creates a customised and unique experience for mobile users and is best suited for complex websites that can target specific devices.
Due to the nature of real estate websites and their complexity, Prop Data offers a desktop and accompanying mobile website. A separate desktop and mobi version of our websites remain the best option for our clients as it enables us to provide users with the best possible property search experience, regardless of the device the user is browsing.