• http://twitter.com/jasongreeno Jason Greeno

    Interesting stuff. Could you explain how the use of a second website, in this case a mobile site, is better than one site with good modular design and strong funnels? 

  • Bryson Meunier

    Thanks, Jason. I thought I did that in the article when I mentioned how in many cases mobile users are going to have different goals than desktop users, and a single web site is unlikely to have the content necessary to meet those goals. As I mentioned, Walgreens, State Farm and esurance have mobile web sites that address the mobile context, not just reformat content not made for a mobile user, and that’s why they’re better than a single web site that tries to be everything to everyone all the time. James Pearce, Facebook’s mobile developer relations head, said it better than I did here if you want more of a design than an SEO perspective: 

  • http://mikemai.net/ Mike Mai

    Responsive is one of the MANY mobile web solutions. Of course it doesn’t replace anything. What solution you choose depends on your needs. Responsive is most suitable for blogs, editorial sites, or anything that requires to display the exact same content on all devices, just laid out differently. A separate mobile website is most suitable for marketing website where you’d want to edit down your messages to be short and sweet, meaning not displaying the exact same content. And lastly, a mobile web app is most suitable for a product obviously (facebook, twitter, linkedin, ect.).

    The downside of responsive is that it doesn’t optimize (user experience, SEO, and load time) for each specific device, or at least not very well at this moment. But if we are brushing responsive off solely on the the terms of SEO, we’d be too stupid. Because SEO is evolving rapidly due to the rise of mobile. There’s just no absolute rights or wrongs right now.

    What I don’t like is that responsive is just a buzzword, like HTML5, lots of people hype it up without knowing what the heck it is. Responsive doesn’t fit everybody. If you truly care about your mobile presence, do research and figure out your needs, then you’d be able to pick the most suitable solution.

  • Bryson Meunier

    Mike, thanks for your comment. I wrote this article as a reaction to the trend in the SEO industry toward responsive web design, and the slogan “one URL to rule them all”, which is not appropriate in all cases. As I say in the article, there is a time and a place for responsive web design, but it’s not every time and every place. As I explained in my Search Engine Land column recently, I actually recommend a hybrid solution that uses mobile URLs when appropriate and media queries when appropriate. My problem, and yours it seems, is with those who recommend responsive web design as the best solution in SEO and web design, and treat mobile sites as a thing of the past. In fact, mobile sites can be very powerful for SEO and user experience if done correctly. You just have to take the time and resources, as you say, to figure out what your site and your users actually need.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001698454187 Leonardo Lima

    Bryson, I think you made a good point about not serving content that is meant for different context or device. With that in mind, I totally agree on making a dedicated mobile site. But don’t forget that even making a dedicated mobile site requires you to use responsive web design. Think about the variety of screen sizes, resolutions, viewport and on top of that, orientation changes. Those are things we have to consider even making a dedicated mobile site. Now, going back to the serving the right content to the right context, there is another point to be considered. If you use conditional loading, depending of the context of course, you don’t have to make that dedicated mobile site. Have a look at this article: http://adactio.com/articles/5043/

  • http://www.brysonmeunier.com/ Bryson Meunier

    Leonardo, you make a good point about responsive web design not being completely at odds with a dedicated mobile site. I was reacting to many people who have characterized it as such, but your point is well taken.

    Mobile first responsive design is definitely preferred to reformatting a desktop site, as you at least have the content on your site in order to display. I still prefer a dedicated mobile site from a usability perspective, as people who follow a link to a URL might not see the content that they were promised, depending on what platform they’re accessing the site from. But it is definitely a step up from the reformatting of desktop content that is unfortunately very popular among designers and SEOs right now.

  • http://keithbloemendaal.me/ Keith Bloemendaal

    I love responsive design… for blogs. But for clients like my homebuilder client, a mobile site/app is more appropriate. 

  • http://palimadra.tumblr.com/ Pali Madra

    I agree with Bryson that responsive design is cannot be treated as a fail safe method for having a mobile website.

    I had a couple of questions which I wanted to clarify 
       a) Does it mean that a mobile optimized website and the desktop optimized website should have different back-end since they would have to be optimized for different keywords (in most cases)?
       b) Should mobile optimized websites focus on local search optimization as most mobile search users would seek a business near the place where they are searching from?

    This is an interesting ‘new development’ (if I may say) in the field of SEO and has got me excited as it lends a different perspective to the whole SEO approach.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001698454187 Leonardo Lima

    I’d like to highlight that even dedicated mobile sites should have responsive (flexible) layout, fonts, images, etc… because of the gazillion of mobile screen sizes out there. Now, concerning digital marketing: Dedicated mobile sites are good for SEO coz of the extra quality content but they are not 100% reliable for content sharing, which is as important as SEO I’d say. Let me try to explain my point with my humble Brazilizan English: User “X” accesses a dedicated mobile site “S”, finds a fantastic recipe and recommends that recipe via facebook to his/her mother, and 5 other aunts that don’t have a smartphone and only access the internet from their desktop. Can you see where I’m trying to get? A 320px X 480px page in a 1200px X 800px screen wouldn’t look very good.

    Guys, I’m not against dedicated mobile sites or apps, but I want you not to forget about these little important facts.

    Bryson, thanks very much for creating this amazing discussion!

  • http://twitter.com/TimMacc Tim Macchi

    Bryson, I totally agree with the pragmatic approach to responsive design. Its not the Holy Grail that some say it is. Actually, thats what I titled a blog article I wrote on the topic (http://bit.ly/LjaVxv).

  • http://www.reachsms.com.au/ William Clarke

    Hi Bryson, in my opinion the features of responsive web design in mobile website can help a online business to great extent. So i think combination of these two feature should be essential to improve the performance of an ecommerce website.