Shopify is regularly named the best e-commerce software for small businesses and we totally agree! It’s chock-full of great features that make the process of taking your idea for a business into an actual business so much easier. What makes it stand out from the rest? Let’s take a look!
THE BEST PRICE
What really grabs our attention about Shopify is that it offers several subscription plans for any stage of your e-commerce business. The key Shopify plans start at just $29 per month and that includes unlimited products, a custom domain, Shopify’s payment processing (which allows you to easily accept credit cards without any addition setup), two account users, awesome customer support and more. More advanced plans are available once your business grows and you can upgrade at any time!
Shopify also boasts no hidden fees. If you use Shopify’s payment processing system (mentioned above), there are no transaction fees. However, note that these fees are separate from payment processing fees, which vary depending on your plan.
You can learn more about Shopify’s pricing here.
Shopify has partnered with experts across the globe so that once you select your plan, you’re able to affordably get help with setting up a professionally customized storefront and then taking your business from there.
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Responsive web design simply means making websites that can adapt to the size of the visitor’s viewport. The goal is for content to render differently depending on the device or screen size so that visitors have an optimal experience no matter how they access a website. The primary benefit of responsive web design is that sites load quickly without any distortions, so users don’t need to manually resize anything to view content.
The concept has existed for decades, but developers began truly recognizing the benefits of responsive web design during the mid-2000s as more consumers started using mobile devices. As designers struggled to make sure that their websites looked attractive on desktops, smartphones and tablets, they quickly discovered that flexible layouts were needed. Therefore, they created websites that “responded” to users’ devices.
Today, more users access the web with mobile devices than with traditional laptops or desktops, so the field continues to evolve.
Companies with websites that don’t cater to mobile users are going extinct.
To reach a wider audience of potential customers, businesses must embrace the benefits of responsive web design. Similarly, it is a concept that all working developers must understand.
The Top Ten Benefits of Responsive Web Design
Responsive web design benefits designers, developers, businesses and, most importantly, users in the following ways:
More Mobile Traffic
According to a report from SimilarWeb, more than half of traffic to top websites in the U.S. came from mobile devices in 2015. Therefore, it’s increasingly important for companies to have websites that render properly on smaller screens so that users don’t encounter distorted images or experience a sub-optimal site layout. While some businesses still choose to have a separate version of their website for mobile users, responsive design is becoming the norm because it offers greater versatility at lower development costs.
Faster Mobile Development at Lower Costs
Making one responsive website takes considerably less time than making a stand-alone mobile application in addition to a standard desktop website. Since time is money, responsive design naturally costs less than the alternative. Even if the initial investment of a responsively designed website does end up comes out to being more expensive than creating two separate websites, you’ll end up saving in the long run due to maintenance costs, special configuration costs, etc of a website that uses two separate versions.
Lower Maintenance Needs
Maintaining a separate mobile site requires additional testing and support. In contrast, the process of responsive design uses standardized testing methodologies to ensure optimal layout on every screen. Having separate desktop and mobile sites also necessitates two content strategies, two administrative interfaces and potentially two design teams. Responsive design’s “one size fits all” approach means less headache for developers, business owners, and consumers. Spending less time on maintenance also frees up time to focus on more important things like marketing and content creation.
Mobile users, in particular, have short attention spans. Studies show that mobile visitors tend to abandon webpages that take longer than three seconds to finish loading. If a site isn’t optimized for smartphones and tablets, it will also take more time to navigate, which can frustrate customers to a point of no return. Ensuring that your responsive website uses modern performance techniques such as caching and responsive image display will help improve your webpage’s loading speed.
Lower Bounce Rates
A responsive and optimized mobile site provides a much better user experience for the visitor. Therefore, it is much more likely that they’ll stick around for a longer period of time and explore different areas of your site. Alternatively, if your site isn’t responsive, it is much harder to keep the visitor engaged and therefore more likely that they’ll bounce.
Higher Conversion Rates
Lowering your bounce rate is only half of the battle. Creating a consistent user experience across all devices is key to converting new customers. When users are deciding whether or not to subscribe to a service, they don’t want to be redirected to device-specific websites because the process often takes longer. Having a single secure website that looks professional on all platforms makes users less likely to get frustrated or turn to a competitor.
Easier Analytics Reporting
Knowing where traffic is coming from and how users interact with your website is necessary to make informed improvements. Managing multiple versions of a website requires developers to track users’ journeys through multiple conversion paths, funnels, and redirects. Having a single responsive site greatly simplifies the monitoring process. Google Analytics and similar tools now cater to responsive websites by condensing tracking and analytics into a single report so that you can see how your content is performing on different devices.
Responsive web design is becoming as important to search engine optimization as quality content. Stronger backlinks and better bounce rates translate into higher search rankings, but there’s an extra SEO benefit for mobile-optimized sites.
Starting April 21, 2015, Google Search will be expanding its use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. –Google
Having a single responsive website rather than separate desktop and mobile versions avoids the issue of duplicate content, which can negatively impact your search ranking.
Improved Online Browsing Experience
First impressions are everything, so whether someone is visiting a website for the first time from their desktop or their smartphone, you want them to have a consistently positive experience. If visitors must do a lot of zooming, shrinking and pinching their screens during their first visit, they’re likely to give up and try another website.
Improved offline browsing experience
Now that many smartphones and tablets are HTML5-enabled responsive web design benefits users by making it easier to continue viewing content within HTML5 web applications without an internet connection. Learn more about HTML5 Application Cache.
Liquid Amber Media specializes in creating modern, responsive websites that will help your business get much-needed attention on the web. We can help grow your business by improving user experience, increasing visibility on search sites like Google, Bing and Yahoo and creating a more enjoyable overall experience on your website.
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It can be hard to face the fact that you need to invest time, energy, and money in a new website for your business. Keeping cost-savings in mind, it is easier and really tempting to stick with the website you already have with the thought of “well, it’s worked okay so far.” However, this view may be counterproductive and you may be turning away potential customers without even realizing it.
A potential customer will make a snap judgment about your website, and therefore your business in just 7 seconds. That means you have only those 7 seconds to grab attention and impress. What does your website say about your business?
Here are a few alarm bells you should be looking out for. If more than a few of these are familiar, then you may need to consider a website redesign.
First are technical clues…
Your website is difficult to navigate
This is a huge problem. Just because you know where everything is doesn’t mean everyone else does. A significant sign that important information may be too hard to find on your website is receiving frequent questions from customers about where to find something.
If in doubt, simply ask a friend or relative to check out your website and find bits of information (don’t help them). Watch them do it and you may be surprised at how differently people view or navigate your website.
Most people are more likely to give up or try another company if they can’t easily find what they are looking for. Quick wins are having a menu visible on each page and making sure all your links work.
Your website is too slow
A slow website is very frustrating for customers, especially when being viewed on a mobile device. In general, if each page takes longer than about 5 seconds to load then you probably need to make some adjustments. It’s possible that you may just need to run some updates or compress some files but in some cases a complete website redesign is required.
Your website isn’t mobile responsive
Smartphones and tablets are so widely used now that having a website which doesn’t render nicely on these devices is the equivalent of tossing money in the trash.
Not on is a website which is not responsive difficult for customers to navigate from a mobile device, but it also will not appear in mobile search engine results pages. You won’t even be in the race for business from a mobile device.
You need to add new functionality to your website
You may need to make a major change like adding Ecommerce functionality (the ability to process transactions) or something more simple like a map. Whatever the change, you should check your current options before just adding the extra element to your existing website. The options available with your current design may not be the best ones and a redesign might actually work out both easier and sometimes cheaper.
If your website is a bit old, you may also not have the newest range of technical components which are optimized for search engines—once again taking you out of the race for search engine results.
…and then there are visual clues…
Your website looks differently than your other company merchandise
If the design of your current site doesn’t match the way your brand is represented elsewhere, then it’s really important to change that and have a consistent visual message. Whether you’ve change your logo, color scheme or font—it’s essential that this change is reflected across every way in which you interact with customers, especially your website.
Your target customer has changed
As your business grows, your target customer may potentially change as well. If you begin to target a different type of consumer, you may need to consider the voice or tone you are using in the text on your website and also the color scheme which might better appeal to them.
Your website looks shabby next to your competitors or it’s more than a few years old
While of course you shouldn’t simply copy everything the competition is doing, if they have a fabulous new website with a lot of innovative features and yours has any number of problems then you may lose out on some customers to their gain.
The frequency at which a website should be refreshed does vary from industry to industry. If your website is regularly accessed by customers then a fresh, sleek design is of more importance. However, as a rule—what looked good 3 years ago is likely outdated now.
…and finally there is evidence you shouldn’t ignore.
You website traffic is static or declining
If fewer visitors are accessing your site or you have a high bounce rate (visitors view then leave your website quickly), then it’s time to investigate. Your first step should be to check through the technical and visual clues we’ve mentioned.
When your website is the first interaction a potential customer has with your brand, as it often is, a good first impression is imperative. Ultimately a great first impression is frequently the difference between a sale for you and a sale for your competitor.
If you notice issues with your current design and you’re ready to move forward with a fresh new website or free consultation, contact us today and we’ll be more than happy to help.
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