But first, we’ll start with their similarities. Both options allow businesses to have a mobile-friendly website. Since consumers are spending more and more time on smartphones and tablets, this is pretty much a requirement today. You now have to make mobile a priority in your online marketing strategy.
But there’s a huge difference between having a mobile site and using responsive design. A recent Business 2 Community article sums it up nicely:
Maintenance – you have to run two websites.
Differing screens – with the vast quantity of devices, not all screens are the same so your site might look the same on all of them
Both points are pretty much saying the same thing. With responsive design, your website only has one URL. That means that you only have to take care of one website, as opposed to two. So even though your website can be accessed by both mobile devices and desktops, your focus is only on one site.
Just having a mobile site, on the other hands, implies that you have two URLs — one for your desktop site and one for your mobile one. In this case, you have to run and maintain two websites. It doesn’t take a web designer to know that this requires a lot more work.
The importance of only having one URL cannot be understated. In addition to saving you time and money, it also helps you establish a consistent brand identity. Since your website appears the same way on desktop computers as it does on smartphones and tablets, consumers will get the same first impression of your business.