Writing Content For Responsive Design

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To achieve success with digital marketing, you need to have great content. It's also important to ensure that content is accessible to as many people as possible. This post looks at the issues facing content marketers writing for 'responsive' sites - when the needs of two (or more) audiences need to be considered.

A few years ago, accessible web design simply meant testing your site in the most popular browsers and ensuring that you had descriptive ALT tags and easy-to-use navigation. Today, the popularity of smartphones and tablet PCs has made designing accessible, attractive websites much harder.

More and more people are accessing online content using their iPads or mobile phones. They do product research during their daily commute and book their holidays on their phones while they're at work. As a marketer, you need to make sure that your web content looks as good on a four-inch screen as it does on a desktop PC.

Responsive Design vs Multiple Websites

Responsive design is the answer to the problem of browser and device compatibility. Instead of having one website for people surfing on their Mac or PC and another for mobile visitors, you simply create a website with a theme that dynamically resizes and rearranges itself to fit the available real estate of the screen.

Not only does this save the hassle of having to maintain several websites, it has other content marketing benefits. Marketers can focus their SEO and marketing efforts on just one site – and all traffic statistics will be on one site too.

Creating Content for Responsive Sites

When designing content for a responsive site, it’s important to bear in mind the kinds of devices that your users will be browsing on. Make copy functional and to the point, yet engaging. Few people will be willing to read long essays on a mobile device.

In addition, it’s best to avoid writing content that requires the user to click through several pages. Photo-gallery style content, such as "The 10 Best Hats at Ascot", with one photo per page, are OK for PC users, but someone on a mobile may not want to have to keep reloading pages to read the entire article.

Ideally, posts should be reasonably short, but informative. A few hundred words should do the job. If you cannot convey your message fully in such a short post, it’s a good idea to write a series of posts and upload a new one each day. This gives visitors a reason to return to a site each day, keeping its brand in their mind. So, in theory, it should be easier to sell to them.

On mobiles, calls to action are more important than ever. Do not think of mobile users as PC users with smaller screens – remember, they are more likely to be in a hurry. Give them the information they need, tell them what to do, and make it easy for them to do it.

However, as content will likely be the same across the site, whether the visitor is using a mobile or a desktop, it's just as important to consider the needs of desktop and laptop users when writing content. It's very much a balancing act!

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