Site Speed or Responsive Design: Which is more Important?

Even though most of you probably haven’t had the experience of driving a slow-moving Tin Lizzie in your lifetime but can surely recall the early days of slow-speed Internet that took hours for a file to download. What’s more, the Internet was available only through your phone, thus spoiling your communication line. In short, the connection was slow and inconvenient for regular users.

Thankfully, over the years, Internet speed rapidly increased. Instead of waiting hours for a file to download, it only took minutes and now merely seconds. It’s great progress for those of us who recall those olden days of dial-up internet.

As of now, we expect a website to load in a matter of seconds; else we become really fretful and move to other sites that promise quicker page loading. In a way, that’s similar to rise of mobile-friendly websites.

 Site speed or Responsive Design-which is more important

With the advent of Smartphone, which is a mobile phone with an advanced mobile operating system that combines the efficiency of a personal computer operating system along with other features useful for mobile or handheld use, faster page loading has become a fairly pressing issue. Add to it the problem of viewing content meant for 14” screen of a desktop in 4.7” Smartphone screen, which is as exasperating as snail speed page loading process. However, we are coming to it later.

Importance of site speed

Whoever surfs online becomes keenly aware of how essential site speed is to his or her online experience. Even if a site promises amazing content that very few have ever come across, but takes long to load, its appeal will be totally lost due to the long wait, resulting in people leaving the site in utter disgust.

To elaborate the issue in more detail, here are few relevant stats to show how poor speed and related matters can spoil the efficacy of websites in general.

  • 42% of users leave a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load.
  • 69% of mobile internet users complain that they often encounter websites that are too slow to load.
  • 51% of mobile internet users state with grief that they have come across sites that have either crashed, froze of found with no content.
  • 6% of mobile users confirm that they have never been able to open some websites despite best efforts.
  • 48% of searchers expect a web page to load under 2 second.
  • 1 second delay in page response can mean 7 per cent loss in conversion

Apart from statements given above, the speed of also affects search ranking, while Google categorically states that site speed is also a ranking factor vide  Google’s algorithm in 2010.

As for marketers, the speed of your site can surely impact your AdWords Quality Score. Moreover, the search giant truly believes that load time of a landing page is very much a part of the viewing experience.

Importance of Responsive Design

Before delving deeper into the nitty-gritty of responsive design, we might as well find out the basic difference between the responsive and the mobile.

To be precise, responsive means one website that will adjust and fit all screen sizes that includes both desktops and mobile devices, such as PCs Smartphone. Mobile, on the other hand is meant only for mobile devices, thus necessitating a separate site for desktops.

In order to assess the popularity of mobile devices these days, all you have to do is to take a walk down any busy thoroughfare where you are sure to find large number of people using Smartphone or other similar devices while on the go. Needless to say, they are mostly bombarded with responsive websites for convenience and ease of operation. However, the following stats provided by Smart Insights will show in larger detail the use of this versatile form of website design by searchers young and old alike.

  • 20% or more of Google searches are performed on mobile devices.
  • As on 2012, over half of local searches were conducted on mobile devices.
  • 25% of internet users in the US access the net through mobile devices.
  • 61% of people reportedly form better opinion of brands when they are using mobile devices.
  • 85% of emails are opened on mobile devices while another 10.16% are done through tablets.

Nevertheless, if you find yourself getting divided between choosing mobile and responsive design, the scale will eventually turn in favor of the latter not only because it is easier to crawl just one website to reach a decision but also that it provides better user experience.

So, what appears to be more important: site speed or responsive?

To be honest about it, both are equally important; besides there are few things that are common to both the issues. For instance, both can impact on a site’s ranking. Also, as Google controls 67.6 percent market share of search engines, that’s a key consideration. If your website proves to be too slow, there is every chance that its Google ranking will drop. At the same time, if your mobile practices are found too poor, you are likely to be penalized.

Yet another common occurrence is the case of speed. As with a desktop site, a mobile site also must load quickly; perhaps a little more quickly. And Google is quite clear on this issue, recommending all of the content visible above the fold to load in under one second. In fact, the entire page should load under 2 second!