A responsive website is one of the most crucial aspects of growing a business online. You might think it’s unimportant for your particular line, but at least pay heed to the facts: the better the website design, the more sites can retain their audiences and prevent them from jumping to the next one. An optimal layout, design and structuring can make that crucial difference between making a sale, and not making one, particularly considering that most people don’t want to be laboring around a maze trying to find what they need. Really, who needs that? And in this generation of high speed Internet connectivity and smartphone/tablets taking over much of the online revenue, responsive website might just be THE most important aspect of your website.
The basics of responsive website designs
If you were considering building up an online website with a more responsive design, there are three main aspects that you have to take a look into: a) flexible grids for your written content that can be adjusted to the size of the device on which you are being viewed, b) image sizes which can be adjusted accordingly as well, and c) media queries which are instrumental in helping you decide on different layouts for different mediums. These are the three main requirements, and we shall take them up one by one in the order best suited to website designing.
The Road less Travelled: A from-scratch method of adjusting your website’s responsive design
If you are fairly comfortable with media queries and using CSS3, you may choose to do this yourself. What is a media query, really? It’s basically just a filter for CSS, with which you can create different layouts. These layouts are easy to switch between, depending on the medium of the device in use (phone, TV, laptop, whatever it might be). Different ways in which to handle this would be:
a) Adapting to Printing Styles: A media query that specifies how your website looks on print can be specified with the use of a simple command, incorporating all the different styles available. The entire screen layout must be fit within a sheet of paper, presumably in A4/A3/A5 sizes, and each size will have different demands. This is when the following option comes in use.
b) Applying media queries depending on the size of the viewport: This is required for when you need to adapt your website to the needs of a smaller screen. For instance, a mobile view is different from the desktop view on multiple websites. The idea is to provide users with a suitable environment to work in. The viewpoint (device in use) can determine the screen size or layout, and the media query syntax can enable you to provide rules based on the right fit. To target a mobile phone, for instance, you could use the following code and switch out a much more inconvenient layout, do height-width adjustments, or even switch out a header image.
The More Convenient Angle
Creating a responsive website may be far simpler than you thought, however. If your coding skills aren’t top-notch or you would simply like to invest your time in more worthwhile efforts, there are plenty of free software available on the market right now. Templates are particularly useful in this day and age, because they come with inbuilt bootstrap animations, HTML and CSS coding, and responsive website designs to make your site mobile-ready at the very least. There are plenty of great options, so just pick whichever you like: and we shall tell you how to apply it.
Step 1: Open the website
Select the template of choice. In this case, we’ve selected a “Response Free Template”. Hit Download if you like what you see.
Step 2: Navigate to the Downloads location on your computer and Unzip it
When you navigate to the appropriate location where your web browser saves files, you will see a zip file possibly entitled accordingly to the template design or application (such as blog-template.zip, free-reponsive-design.zip). Once you unzip a responsive website template for a blog design, for instance, you shall likely find these files within:
These files contain all the information necessary for you to create your own website, including colors, columns, CSS scripts, fonts, and images that may have been available on the free template of your choice.
Step 3: Finding an Editing Software
Editing is where you’ll be spending the majority of your time, rather than coding, so that’s possibly good news right? Once you have a software that you like and are comfortable using, just load these files using the software a get working on the preset styles, images, designs available – without hampering the coding, mind you, just so that the responsive angle of it isn’t lost in the process.
A visual editor is a good option for those who work better when they see their creation in-real time. Style Master is an option for such people. You can also use Adobe DreamWeaver for this purpose. And for some further instructions, take a look at the following video for a better idea on how to edit templates.
Templates can offer you just the right amount of flexibility, convenience, style and comfort – while saving you a lot of time. It’s probably one of the easiest, safest and best options around, and as long as you can edit some of the visual elements, it won’t be that difficult to create a unique and distinct website for yourself.
Using a Website Building Tool
There are plenty of website building tools available, such as WebFlow which offer a lot of features, but most come with a hefty price tag. Of course, if you’re looking for cheap deals, you can try out websites – most of which have free registrations – and they offer free trials: but then you must create your website within the 7-day or 14-day trial period that you are allotted, and there’s a mad rush to finish on time if you do try this option. FROONT and SIMBLA are some of the great options in this range if you would want to give it a go all the same – but remember, we offer no guarantees about this process!
Of course, for those who would like to keep to the straight and the narrow, the best option is to use a free website builder (and yes, those do exist!) The MOBIRISE website builder is free, and has a very low learning curve, which means it can quickly become your new favorite. The advantages of using Mobirise and such website builders is the drag and drop interface which frees you from the necessity of coding.
How to implement Mobirise? Good question.
a) Download (either for windows or for MAC)
b) Install it and open the friendly interface.
c) Drag and drop the blocks that you need or want for a certain page, edit the content as you go (in-line content), the preview your website as it appears on phones or tablets and laptops
d) Publish when you feel that your content is ready.
Sites built with such responsive builders have the added advantage of being based on the bootstrap framework, they come with responsive website templates (Google approved!) and can be hosted just about anywhere that you wish.