Does my website need to have a mobile version?

Do I need to have a separate website, perhaps a .mobi site, specifically designed for optimal display on a mobile phone? Good question! As already explained in another article, it is vitally important to have a mobile-friendly website. But does it have to be a separate site altogether? Do I have to maintain two websites at a time for this purpose? Do I have to pay a web design company more to have a mobile version of my existing website? And what about SEO? Do both my websites have to be optimized for Google?

The short answer? No.

The long answer? With the advent of CSS3 and HTML5, the need for a separate mobi-site is becoming more and more redundant. The .mobi extension is also fast becoming irrelevant. The main reason for this is that most websites nowadays are made to be “responsive” in their design. This means that they “respond” well to different platforms, devices and even browsers. The majority of desktop computers and laptops have screen resolutions of 1366 pixels or wider, while the latest mobile devices have somewhere between 300 and 800 pixels screen width. Add tablets to the mix, and you end up with a third variable between 600 and 1200 pixels, give or take.

This headache has caused for the clever people to come up with responsiveness as a solution, by simply making components or modules display below each other on smaller screens, and next to each other on large screens. This is done by using client-side scripts to determine the user’s screen width, and serving the contents of the website accordingly in a sensible manner. There is also the added factor of letting fonts display as a certain minimum, so that a small screen size does not shrink it to nearly invisible. Some modern CMS themes and templates also give the webmaster the functionality to choose which elements should be excluded from the mobile view.

The conclusion is therefore that you don’t need a separate website for specifically mobile devices, as long as your web developer gives you a fully responsive website solution. If they are using the latest versions of CMS platforms like WordPress or Joomla! it shouldn’t even cost much more than a normal site, as most of these themes and templates are inherently responsive.

If you are still apprehensive on the topic, why don’t you contact us for a free quotation?

About the author: Chris van der Walt is a Pretoria-based SEO consultant with more than 10 years hands-on experience in the field. Chris is sole proprietor at Integriweb Pretoria East.