Industrial clients often ask us, “Is a responsive website worth the extra development cost?” We remind them their website isn’t just for them, it’s for their customers — and customers often start the buying process on tablets or smartphones.
Note: If you’re unfamiliar with responsive web design and how it works, please check out Don’t Make Me Zoom, a downloadable primer on responsive websites for industrials and B2Bs.
Why Industrials Need Responsive Websites
When helping a client develop a website, part of our process at Industrial Strength Marketing involves interviewing the client’s customers to learn how their customers source. Below are a few excerpts from recent customer interviews we’ve conducted:
- Customer #1: “I’m a project manager, so I’m never at my desk — I’m always out in the middle of a job site and all I’ve got is my smartphone.”
- Customer #2: “My team uses iPads in the field. If I’m sourcing a vendor and their site isn’t iPad-friendly, it leaves a bad first impression.”
- Customer #3: “It’s frustrating when I need to find a vendor’s phone number and it’s not on their homepage. If I’m on my phone, ready to place an order, I shouldn’t have to hunt for their contact information.”
Customer #1 uses his smartphone for all stages in the industrial buying cycle — research, comparison, and procurement. If a website isn’t optimized for his device, he’s going to have trouble accessing it.
Customer #2 finds himself in a situation where he’s ready to compare and learn more about competing products. A website that isn’t tablet-friendly automatically puts a vendor he’s considering at a disadvantage.
Customer #3 is at the end of the industrial buying cycle — he’s ready to place an order with just his smartphone. Problem is, the vendor he wants to use has a website that effectively prevents him from contacting them.
As these examples illustrate, having a mobile-ready website can be a crucial factor at key stages in the industrial buying process. And these are not isolated instances. Nearly a third of all Internet traffic in North America comes from mobile devices. And that number continues to grow by 35% each year. If you plan to launch a website in 2014, there are worse ideas than allocating time and budget to responsive design.
Budget Considerations for Responsive Web Design
The cost of a responsive website isn’t dramatically greater than that of a traditional website. There are just a few additional considerations introduced by responsive design:
- Information Architecture & Wireframing — When building a site, responsive or otherwise, you must decided on the architecture of your site (i.e., your sitemap) and what elements/content will go on each page. Budgeting for responsive design means your web development team will spend a little additional time determining how content will display on multiple devices.
- Design — A pleasant browsing experience on a mobile device means large, readable text, links that can be tapped with a meaty finger, and information (e.g., your phone number) that is easy to find. Additional design time is allotted to ensure sites are scalable and easy to use on any device.
- Development & Testing — Interestingly, responsive development can actually save you money in the long run. Responsive sites are tested to ensure they scale to the dimensions of today’s desktop and mobile browsers. Troubleshooting the scaling function of your responsive website will also help ensure that the site will scale to future devices. That means when the touchscreen iRefrigerator (or whatever) comes out in 2016, your site will likely support the new device with little or no additional tweaking.
All in all, these additional considerations for a responsive website don’t add much to the bottom line. The cost of a responsive site is generally little more than that a traditional desktop website, assuming you’re not developing a site that is too complex or extensive.
Provided your website project is manageable and fits the mold, the additional time needed to create a responsive website will end up being about 20% greater than what you would pay for just a desktop website. For this slight increase in cost, you will receive a responsive site that scales to multiple devices — desktop, tablet, or smartphone — rather than just being limited to desktop displays. You will also receive the added benefit of future-proofing your website for years to come.
A Responsive Website Is Just 20 Percent More?
As with all estimates, pricing depends on a multitude of factors. Does your site need eCommerce functionality? Will your site be multilingual? Does your site need to support Netscape Navigator v4.08 on Tuesdays at exactly 5:03 a.m.?
Whatever your requirements, developing a true budgetary estimate for your responsive website will require a detailed discussion. This article is only meant to illustrate that responsive design doesn’t dramatically increase the development time or budget for a website project.
Looking for a more accurate assessment? Visit our responsive website to contact us, or call us at 1-888-529-8908 and we can help you develop a detailed estimate that accounts for responsiveness, your customers’ sourcing habits, and any additional marketing goals and objectives. We promise to be very responsive.