Responsive vs Mobile Websites: What Are the Differences?

There are two major mobile-friendly designs to choose from: responsive and mobile. Although they are both mobile-compatible, they differ in terms of budget, flexibility, content, link equity, and more. Discover more differences between responsive and mobile websites below.

Responsive vs Mobile Websites

  • When accessing a link from a mobile device, the link automatically redirects you to either the mobile-friendly layout of a responsive design site or the mobile (e.g. m.domain.com) site. Alternatively, the link opens the desktop-oriented website that’s not optimized for mobile viewing.
  • Responsive designs make websites compatible with devices of all sizes and layouts (PCs, iMacs, laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc.). Thus, a responsive design website changes its layout and width according to the screen size and orientation of the device you are using.
  • Unlike responsive design sites, a mobile site is specifically created to be viewed on mobile devices, although they work on any device. A mobile site’s content is simplified to provide a more streamlined user experience on small screens.
  • Another difference between responsive and mobile is that the mobile site requires a different domain, such as m.domain.com. This can increase the efforts put into maintaining the site since there are two separate ones.
  • A different domain can affect the link equity in that links shared from mobile browsers will not count as search link equity toward your main site. In this respect, the responsive design is better since it lets you keep your primary domain, simplifying the sharing of web addresses.
  • Being an all-in-one site instead of two separate sites (with double the costs and efforts), a responsive website is more budget-friendly and easier to manage. However, it can cost more to implement depending on the size of the site and the amount of content.
  • In contrast with a mobile site, modern responsive design sites are not supported by several older browser versions. In addition, a responsive site may be less optimized for mobile and slow loading times, unlike a mobile site.
  • Responsive sites are more future-ready than mobile sites. That’s because they contain more forward-thinking technology for both present and next year’s devices. From this perspective, responsive sites are the better investment.

Conclusion

Choosing a responsive or mobile website depends largely on your own needs. Responsive designs are favored now thanks to their cross-platform compatibility and ease of maintenance. If you already have a mobile site that works successfully, there’s no need to invest in a responsive site for now unless you want a better display for tablets, too.

At Bright Pink Agency, we provide full web design services, including web design for franchises. Whether you need a responsive or dedicated mobile website, contact us today for a free estimate.