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Tablet, phone, desktopIn recent years, the internet’s shift to mobile has increased dramatically with the worldwide proliferation of smartphones and tablets putting an end to the days when everyone simply viewed the internet via a laptop or desktop PC or Mac. And with further innovations such as smartwatches and Google Glass now hitting the market, businesses have two choices: either adapt to this technological sea change and survive – or go under.

What do I mean by ‘adapt’? Well, it’s no longer enough just to have a website for your business; you also need to ensure that it is mobile-friendly. If your website was built ten years ago, chances are it will not look good on a phone or tablet. The text will be too small, images may not appear correctly, videos may not play, etc. As a result, customers who visit your site whilst browsing on such a device are unlikely to stay long. They will get frustrated and move on to the websites of your competitors, and you will have just lost yourself a customer.

And that’s only half of the problem that businesses with mobile-unfriendly sites face. In April this year, to reflect this phenomenal global shift towards mobile browsing, Google made a significant change to their search ranking algorithm. Nicknamed Mobilegeddon, this update by the search giants has altered rankings across the globe so that they favour mobile-friendly websites, ensuring a better browsing experience for the majority of users. So not only do outmoded websites look bad on mobile devices, they are also going to be increasingly hard to find on Google!

So what do you need to do? The answer is simple (although putting it into action may be difficult depending on the size and nature of your existing website): You need to make sure that your website is responsive as soon as possible.

According to Wikipedia, in the context of websites, ‘responsive’ refers to websites that “provide an optimal viewing and interaction experience – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling – across a wide range of devices.” In the past, companies would often have a standalone website just for mobile users, but the advantage of having a fully responsive website instead is that you only have one website to maintain and update. It also means that customers who use your website from a phone or tablet one day, but a laptop or desktop the next, will have a seamless experience as the site will look the same on both, essentially, just with minor aesthetic differences due to the optimisation process.

There is no longer a valid argument for not having a responsive website, and it doesn’t even have to be hugely expensive either, with many companies like ours providing responsive WordPress website design at affordable rates. If your company hasn’t made the transition to mobile yet, do it soon! It’s time to embrace the future.

Nick Jones is a proofreader, editor, writer and publisher. He runs Full Media Ltd, an editorial and publishing agency based in Cheshire. Connect with Nick Jones on Google+ or select any of the other options below.