Is moving to a responsive website expensive?

If the latest KPCB report  is accurate (and no sign so far it won’t be), it is reckoned that sometime in 2015 over 40% of all Internet traffic will be sourced from mobile devices (such as tablets and smart phones). This means if you do not have a responsive website by then, around 40% of your website users will find it difficult using your website, for the following reasons:

  1. A none responsive website will often appear in ‘micro print’ on a mobile device, it is tries to fit a page designed for a desktop device into a mobile screen;
  2. Due to this small size it will make it hard to navigate the site, as the click-able elements of the page will all be very close together.
  3. The website could well take a long time to download on a mobile device, as all the content for the desktop device would be served to the mobile device.

Combine this with the fact that on a mobile device certain operations (like dragging and group selecting) are hard if not impossible and its no wonder its critical you have a responsive website soon.

Now that you know you need to do it, the big question is how much will it cost?

The cost of going responsive..

You may be surprised to know that the cost of going responsive is very much dependent upon the quality of coding of the current website you have. For instance if you have a website that was developed in the last 2 years, its quite likely the majority of mark-up is suitable to use ‘as is’ in making the site responsive.

Yes, you read correctly, it is possible to take an existing website and turn it into a responsive website!

It really comes down to the quality of mark-up coding and its structure; if this is good then it might just need an updated style sheet be developed (with some additional JavaScript to cover mobile only behaviours) and you have yourself a responsive website. This cost would be a fraction of recoding the whole site, and has the advantage that search engines won’t experience a change in the site layout and page structure.

Options if you have an ‘old’ website..

If you have an old website, which uses website mark-up more than 4 or 5 years old, chances are it is still using tables and old ‘pre HTML5’ mark-up. This does not easily go responsive; tables can’t be ‘fixed’ to behave nicely on mobile devices.

There are only really two options here:

  • Recode the whole website mark-up. Again this can be expensive, but there are approaches which can be taken to keep the cost down.
  • Use a ‘screen scrapper’ to make you a mobile version of your website.

The ‘screen scrapper’ approach may look attractive to begin with, as the initial cost will be lower, but you will pay for this in secondary costs, such as:

  • the requirement to keep your none mobile website ‘in sync’ with what the screen scrapper wants from your website, this will break over time as there is no easy way to do it;
  • Increased fragility, as you now have two systems which need to work together perfectly to make the mobile website work, double the systems double the failure rate;
  • Increased security risk, you have double the systems to keep secure;
  • Google will penalise you, as they want you to go responsive and regard separate mobile websites as a retrograde step – this will hit you in decreased traffic and possibly revenue.

Given that the future is responsive in all cases, I cannot honestly see a real case for using the screen scrapper approach going forwards; as you will have to move away from it to one of the two options to get ahead.


There are only really two options open to you that make sense if you want to go responsive: either make your existing website responsive (if its new) or recode the mark-up of your website (if its old). Aykira can help you with both options at a price point that you will find attractive, please contact us now and we will advise you.