There is a craze for building mobile friendly websites in the world today. In general the mobile websites are those sites, which displays a different look for any mobile device with user-friendly navigation buttons that are bigger in size and can be navigated on the mobile device with ease. But there are 2 schools of thought while building a website which works well with mobile – mobile website & responsive website.
Mobile Website: (1) Mobile Website is essentially a reduced version of the original website. The server when sniffs a request coming from a mobile browser, presents an optimized version of the mobile website which is smaller and easier to navigate. This solution gives the mobile users an unique customized experience.
(2) A different domain is needed with the mobile website . (Many companies use the domain m.domainname.com . We also have seen some companies use their existing domain name with .mobi extension ).
According to the latest Google whitepaper release, Search Engine Optimization can dilute domain and can hurt organic search traffic quite severely. Also with the mobile website, separate backend content is needed to be maintained which becomes costly.
(3) Because a mobile site uses a separate domain, links shared from mobile browsers will not count as search link equity towards your primary site. Hence link equity will decrease which is not good for searches.
(4) With every release of next-generation iphone and mobile browser, re-working (twicking) the mobile website is needed in order to stay current and up to date with the ever changing technology.
(5) Jquery Mobile and Sencha Touch are widely used mobile website framework.
Responsive Website: (1) In responsive design, the devices does the work, based on the screen size (big or small) or orientation (landscape or portrait) of the device. The layout gets automatically adjusted on the fly. It is a good, flexible solution.
(2) Responsive design lets you keep the same domain – nothing changes except the layout in different devices. Google thinks the responsive approach is a better solution: … maintaining a single shared site preserves the canonical url, avoiding any complicated redirects, and simplifies the sharing of web addresses …
(3) The responsive design is basically the same design of the main website in a more mobile friendly way so that it is easier to read. So the link equity is preserved.
(4) Responsive design is based on forward-thinking as once added to the website it will work on next months and next year’s devices without the need of re-programmed again.
(5) Bootstrap and Skeletal are most widely used as responsive framework.