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What’s the difference between a responsive mobile site and a dedicated mobile website?

Marketing on mobile devices is now extremely important for any business given that over 50% of all internet use will take place on mobile devices this year. It is therefore key to a business that their online presence works just as well on a mobile device as a desktop.

There are two solutions for a mobile website: responsive design and dedicated mobile which are covered below. Both solutions ensure that the user is presented with the mobile version of the website when on mobile sites and can allow the user to still switch to the main desktop site if they prefer.

Responsive Mobile Websites

Responsive sites use an additional design integrated into the desktop website design to adapt the presentation of the website on mobile devices. It means that the mobile site will largely use the same information but reformatrestyle for the mobile device. The navigation will also be adapted to be easier to use on a mobile site. It may be possible to remove certain elements of content which may not be suitable for the mobile device e.g. large video. The key advantage to this method is that changes to content on the desktop will be reflected on the mobile site. The main disadvantage is that it is still a single website with a more complicated design structure which can mean compromises to the desktop design to accommodate the mobile.

Dedicated Mobile Website

These are completely separate sites which are seamlessly presented to the mobile user. They can be designed to match the branding of the main site but are designed from scratch. The main advantage is these sites can optimise the design for mobile, have content written specifically for the mobile user and integrate mobile specific functions. The main disadvantage is that content needs to be updated separately from the main website.

Some the key benefits of a mobile website depending on the solution adopted are:

  • Small size which means a faster load time on a mobile device – quicker and potentially cheaper for the user
  • Content is structured and formatted to fit the mobile screen size, making it easier to read
  • Navigation is designed to be easier to use on a mobile site with larger buttons or simple dropdown navigation
  • Potential use of integrated phone features like “click to call”, location maps, news or social media feeds
  • Optimisation of site for Google searches on mobiles – increasing your website ranking for mobile searches
  • Content designed and presented specifically to the mobile user


Compare advantages and disadvantages of responsive and dedicated mobile solutions

Responsive Design

Dedicated Mobile

  • Changes to content on the desktop will be shown on the mobile
  • Content can be lengthy and inappropriate for the mobile user
  • Design of desktop and mobile are linked – can make both websites slower to load and lead to complications in future design
  • Only replicates the main website and some functions from main website may not be possible.




  • Higher initial cost but no extra hosting fee – may incur redesign charges if desktop changes.
  • Each site is separately maintained so mobile site may also need to be updated
  • Content can be written specifically for the mobile user – providing exactly what they need and in a shorter more precise format
  •  Simpler design means quicker to load and no compromise on desktop – each site designed specifically for the platform
  • Take advantage of mobile features like ‘click to call’, location services, news/social media feeds
  • Greater flexibility of design to use more mobile friendly formats.
  • Ongoing additional hosting and support cost for content
  • Can be supplied completely separately to the desktop website


What is the right mobile solution for a small business?

The answer of course varies for each business. However, many small businesses may find a dedicated mobile site a better solution due to it being built specifically for the mobile user.  However, if the mobile site content needs to be constantly updated in line with main desktop content, then a responsive site may be a better solution. If the main site has eCommerce functionality and the business wants to sell through the mobile, a responsive design may also be better so there is only a single product database to be maintained.

Activ Net Marketing have both responsive and dedicated mobile solutions to offer clients and are happy to discuss the best solution for their business. We can also supply dedicated mobile websites to potential clients who do not have an Activ desktop website.

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