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2014 has been the year when a lot of dealers and a handful of vendors have embraced responsive website design. We've heard a handful of rebuttals and seen some blog posts from industry experts explaining why they haven't invested into RWD, but the most absurd excuse came to us the other day when a dealer told one of our partners what their website provider said about responsive design.

"It's just a fad. It will pass."

Really? At first, I thought that maybe they had misspoke. Maybe they meant to say that it was the current trend. With companies like Google promoting the concept that websites in an ideal internet would be responsive, one could definitely say that it's trending and will soon be the accepted norm, but to say that it's a fad that will pass is ludicrous.

Responsive websites offer consistency. They eliminate excuses. They allow dealers to make their content pop across all devices, whether it's inventory, a landing page, or even a blog post. There are downsides to some of them such as load time, but we've eliminated those detriments on our own platform and we've seen a couple of other platforms out there in our industry that have also made adjustments.

For those who are not familiar with the differences between the various types of websites, here's a quick breakdown of the most common types in the automotive industry:

  • Mobile "Apps" - There are a handful of companies that call mobile website housed on a separate server "mobile apps". Technically, they are not apps, but it sounds better in a sales pitch to call them apps. You can identify them by their URL - usually,, or These are considered by Google and others to be the worst option.
  • Adaptive Websites - Adaptive has grown in popularity over the last couple of years. They determine at the server level which variation of a web page to present. In other words, when a request comes in to present a page on a device, the server decides which type of device it is and serves the visitor the page based upon their device. I know it sounds confusing and they may be why some companies promote it so heavily. Unfortunately, this technique has too many flaws to list here, but the most important one is that most landing pages or other created pages render improperly on mobile devices (or disappear altogether).
  • Full-Website Only - While most dealers have a mobile version of their websites, there are still those who have only one desktop variation that is served regardless of the device. This isn't ideal, but an argument can be made that it's still better than bad adaptive sites or any mobile "apps" out on the market for the sake of search, speed, and consistency.
  • Responsive Websites - The reason that Google loves them so much is because there is technically only one variation of each web page on your website. The pages adjust to appear differently and often function differently at the device level, allowing for the smartest way for people to get the experience they expect from your website regardless of which device they use.

I would be happy to answer any questions from the ADM community about responsive websites. Simply post your comment below.

Views: 138

Tags: adaptive, responsive, responsive website design, rwd, websites


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Comment by Alexander Lau on September 4, 2014 at 4:35pm

Additionally, CSS frameworks like Bootstrap, Foundation and Skeleton are being constantly updated and that only benefits the likes of RWD. It's only a matter of time before many of the issues that cause minor glitches in RWD sites are fixed, such as far too large CSS files being reduced on load, etc. It's out there now actually... Pre-processors such as Sass, LESS and Stylus can do the hard work for you. Build tools including Grunt.js or Gulp can automate your workflow or, if you'd prefer a GUI, Koala provides a free cross-platform application, etc.

Comment by Alexander Lau on September 4, 2014 at 4:35pm

But why does Google prefer responsive design? For starters, it's more efficient for Google to bot crawl the site and then index and organize all the content that is online. The reason for this is that with responsive design, all sites have just one URL and the same HTML across all devices. When a business has both a mobile site and desktop site, there will be a different URL and different HTML for each. This forces Google to crawl and index multiple versions of the same exact site.

Also, when there is just one website and URL, it's much easier for users to share, engage and interact with the content on that site as compared to a site that has different pages for mobile and desktop users. Google is a fan of that as well. Why? Because what if someone shared a mobile site on a social media outlet and one of their connections viewed that mobile site on their desktop? That viewer would then be viewing a less than optimal site because it was intended for mobile. This makes the user unhappy.

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