Responsive website Vs standalone mobile version

Posted by Stanislav Furman  on June 16, 2014

We all use mobile devices every day. Well, at least most of us. All those smartphones, tablets, gadget-watches, etc. Most of us cannot imagine life without these things. Of course, these devices are used a lot to access the Internet. Howerver, not all websites will look the same on different screens. In fact, a lot of websites will look really bad on smaller screens. I'd even say most of web sites!

In the modern web design there is very common dilemma whether to create mobile standalone website, or create responsive design. As usual each option has its pros and cons. In this article I will look at both options and show a sort of comparison.


  Responsive desgin Mobile site
URL Same URL for both website versions. Which means easier to administer just one wesite instead of two. Mobile website would have it's own domain. Something lilke So, you'd need to maintain two domain names. 


and maintenance

Responsive website would use same codebase a PC version. Which again means easier to administer. Updates on the site and content changes only need to be made once. More-likely, you would need to have a separate code base for your mobile website. Not necessarily though. 
Time & Cost  Creating just one website is cheaper and faster than two, right?  Creating a mobile website generally is not a cheap thing. However, you can save some time and money working on non-responsive PC version. Would this be enough? Not sure. More-likely, this option would cost more.
Search Engine Optimization Same URL and same content will be displayed on mobile and PC versions, which means the contnet will be unique. If you share same content on two different domains (PC and mobile) this will cause damage to your SEO. 
Performance If your PC website is supposed to provide more features for PC users, and hides some features for mobile users, then your performance on mobile devices won't be the best. With a mobile website you can micro manage the performance and tune your web application for mobile devices as much as you need.



So, which is “better”? At very first look it seems that responsive design look better. However, the correct answer would be "it depends". Choosing a mobile option is like choosing a car: depends how you are gonna use it.

If you need to provide mobile users with very specific functionality, then go for standalone mobile website.

If you want to share same features and same content with both mobile and PC users, then go for responsive design.

In my opinion, all modern PC websites must be optimized for mobile devices. As much as possible. Of course, it is only possible in perfect world. :)

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