We often get questions from HVAC companies asking, “Can I just convert my website to responsive design?”
The answer: Yes, we can do it. But it’s not usually worth it. Here’s why…
You’ll have to rewrite all the code anyway (and that’s expensive)
Imagine you bought an iPad 2 right before the iPad 3 was announced with Retina display.
If you brought your iPad 2 into an Apple store and asked them to add Retina display to your existing iPad 2, the Apple Genius would probably stare at you blankly.
Your iPad 2 doesn’t have the hardware necessary to make it an iPad 3; it would need to be taken apart, completely rebuilt and then reassembled.
Moving from a desktop-only website to a responsive website is similar to trying to upgrade your iPad 2 to an iPad 3. It is possible, but it’s a lot of work.
Your website would have to be basically taken apart and rebuilt. The code (and code structure) necessary to make your website responsive likely didn’t exist when it was originally built.
The cost of doing this (both in terms of timeline and price) is so close to just starting over and redesigning, that converting an existing site is rarely worth it.
It’s much like when an AC compressor dies. Replacing the compressor is so time consuming and costly, you might as well replace the entire outside AC unit.
Design didn’t have mobile in mind
If your HVAC website wasn’t built to be responsive, the designers (and you) were likely not thinking about smaller screen sizes like smartphones. Making an existing website responsive usually means taking a design that was built for large monitors and cramming it into a smaller screen.
This usually results in ugly websites.
And, more importantly, it leaves your mobile visitors with a crappy experience, which is exactly the opposite of what you were trying to accomplish with a responsive design, anyway.
You’ll almost definitely have too much content on mobile
Most HVAC websites have way too much content (and too many pages).
If you try to convert your website to a responsive design without addressing the content, you may have long pages filled with copy that makes the site difficult to navigate.
When all you had was desktop, you had ALL the room! But now cramming all that content into a smaller screen will wear out people’s thumbs before they get to your schedule button. Say hello to higher bounce rates.
“So what should I do?”
For all these reasons, we always suggest starting fresh with a new website and thinking about mobile first.
Designing for smaller screen sizes forces you to think about what is really important. It makes you have tough conversations about the different goals for your website and their priority.
If you skip the tough discussions about what pages, content and information really need to be on the site, you’ll have a site people can read on their phones. But it might not have the information they need in order to schedule an appointment.
However, we also understand business constraints and sometimes converting an existing HVAC website to a responsive design make sense. (Plus, it’s better than ignoring mobile visitors altogether.)
It really depends on your situation and your goals.
That’s why we start every website discussion with a conversation about your goals and objectives. Then we give you several options to choose from.
Contact us online, and we can start the conversation.