more than half of the adult population owns a smartphone, marketers and webmasters are taking practical steps to ensure their websites render properly on mobile devices. In reaction to the steadily increasing rate of mobile adoption, Responsive Web Design (RWD) has emerged as the industry standard for configuring mobile-friendly websites across devices. Because RWD offers a number of significant advantages over other mobile formats, developers have adopted this format with gusto. In fact, Google officially recommends RWD as the best way to render the same HTML across different devices. The major advantages of RWD include:
- The ability to set your site’s dimensions to display on any device type;
- The ease of managing one set of content for all devices; and
- The SEO benefit of consolidating the site’s value under a single domain destination.
- The top 20 sites with the highest scores ALL used dedicated mobile sites, not responsive web design. This is despite the fact that RWD sites have a slight point advantage.
- Although Google officially recommends RWD, only 9 of the 100 sites we tested used RWD, while 47 of the 100 sites used dedicated mobile sites, and the remaining 44 simply served the desktop site.
- Average load speeds for the different formats varied widely: dedicated mobile sites took the shortest times to load, with an average of 2.90 seconds; interestingly, RWD sites took the longest time to load, at an average of 8.42 seconds, even exceeding the sites that served desktop versions, at an average of 6.57 seconds.