Responsive has become a bit of a buzz word this year, so we're here to clear up any misconceptions about what a responsive site is and isn't!
- There is no benefit to a responsive design. Google has stated many times that they do not give any kind of ranking benefit to responsive websites. (Source) What is important to Google, Yahoo, Bing, and other search engines is that your website has a mobile-friendly version. To be mobile friendly, you must have a separate mobile site, typically delineated as m.domain.com or mobile.domain.com or you must have one responsive website that adapts to fit a mobile screen.
- Making an existing site responsive is a rebuild of your current site. Be wary of any company who says they can convert your existing website to a responsive site. Making an existing site responsive requires re-creating each element of the site; you will need to rebuild your entire website. A good way to think of it is to think about re-doing the plumbing in your house: all of the old plumbing will be removed, and all new plumbing will need to be placed into the structure of the house.
- Responsive sites are designed with the mobile user in mind. Responsive websites are all about the user experience on a mobile phone. When a designer begins work on your new responsive site, they begin by designing the mobile layout and look. From there, the designer can work upwards towards creating the tablet and desktop views. The most important thing is that the website's main conversion points are easy for mobile phone users.