Responsive web design is the most effective way to get your site mobile-friendly, according to Google. While Google does support different methods to get your website mobile-ready, they recommend responsive web design as the most effective way because it avoids common mobile mistakes and considerably simplifies things.
If you want to get your site responsive, then you have basically three choices. First, you have the choice to do it yourself. However, this takes time, ability and technical know-how. So if you do not possess these skills, then doing it yourself is not recommended. Second, you have the choice to purchase a template or a theme that is already responsive then this is the easiest, cheapest and quickest way to get your website mobile responsive. However, this may not work if your site has more complex needs and working with a developer many be inevitable at this point. Working with a developer can be a very difficult experience, so it is important that you be very cautious when hiring one. Here are some things that you should ask for when hiring a developer to get your site responsive.
First, you should always request to see a developer’s portfolio, if it is not already available on their site, and specifically look for their experience with responsive web design. To take it a step further, you can ask what experience they have with what you need. For instance, if you need your desktop site to be responsive, then ask to see sites that they have done that to.
Next, it is important that the developer understands your business and the tasks that you want optimized on your website. It is also critical to ensure that the developer can develop your website to support the functionality that your mobile users need. It is difficult to satisfy both mobile and desktop users, however, there should be an attempt to. With that said, do not just focus on looks, as functionality is just as important. Rather, build a site that is useful for mobile users and optimized for their most common tasks.
Third, there should be a commitment to speed. Why? If you make your website visitors wait too long for your web pages to load in their browsers, then you run the risk of losing them and damaging your reputation in the meantime. To mitigate this risk, ensure that your contract includes a provision that ensures that your pages render as fast as your competitors. Or, if that proves impossible, rather get a commitment to a Page Speed Insights that results in a green checkmark. Page Speed Insights is a tool offered by Google that allows you to measure a page to see how it performs on mobile and desktop devices. And a green checkmark shows that there are no issues.
Fourth, you should have them install web analytics, like Google Analytics, so that you can collect data on your site's performance. This data, in addition to customer feedback, will help you to figure out how to make your website better. With that said, you will want to ensure that your contract includes improvements to your site after its launch.
Last, it is important that the developer understands the criteria of Google and other major search engines when getting your site responsive. For example, it is recommended that you and your developer are aware of Google's Webmaster Guidelines in order to fully meet Google's criteria.
Getting your site responsive does not have to be that time consuming and difficult. Follow these five tips and avoid hiring a developer that is not right for your project.