Selecting a responsive or mobile version website

Building for Mobile

By Erich - January 10, 2017
Updating your site, or creating a new website opens up a lot of options. An important consideration is to be mobile compliant. What's the best choice? using a responsive web design, or should you include a separate website for mobile visitors. The following will help you make an educated choice.

View Detailed Version

Mobile vs Responsive

Choosing to use either a mobile version sub-site or a responsive design.

Mobile Version Sub-Site
What is it?
Design that responds to all devices. Details
Full website with a mobile version inside a folder. Details
Mobile compliance
Mobile compliant.
Mobile version is mobile complaint.
Fully responsive.
Mobile version is fully responsive.
Good for mobile ranking.
Extra pages may be beneficial for SEO.
Ease of use
Restricting and difficult to work with. Includes double the code.
Two websites must be maintained.
You will have to compromise the design to accommodate all devices.
Allows for more creative freedom.
User experience
Site will load slower and/or have more limited interaction.
The mobile version is tailored more for smartphone users.
Mobile and desktop
All webpages must always work on all devices. More testing.
Includes a site for desktop and a site for smartphones.
Slower due to extra code.
Mobile site is specifically designed for speed.
Updating an older site
Media Queries css code can be added for responsiveness.
The mobile version is "plugged into" an older site as a separate website.
Building a new site
Best if you plan no layout changes.
Allows a better mobile & desktop experience.
Uses the top level domain.
Uses the top level domain but inside a "mobile" folder.
Our clever analogy
It's like having a kitchen device that works both as a toaster and a blender.
It's like having two cars and two custom fit garages.
Future considerations
Should be compliant for many years.
Mobile version is also responsive and compliant.
Our findings
We were able to make an older website pass the Google mobile friendly test by adding some Media Queries.
Pagespeed Insights may rate low if the webpage has many images.
Best choice for smaller sites and if you stay with the default webpage layout.
Best choice for larger sites and to target desktop and mobile separately.
Web Template


Responsive Webpage Templates
View Responsive Web templates

Desktop Sites With a Mobile Version
Websites With Mobile Sub-Sites

Mobile Version Sub-Site