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A web company for a medical clinic in the US is telling me that it is cheaper for them to build regular WP site and a separate WP mobile site than a single WP responsive site. What is the conventional wisdom which is better. Is responsive just for those who can't afford a regular and a mobile site or does it handle more devices than a mobile site?

  • How is that a WordPress question? – fuxia Apr 9 '13 at 9:12
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    Responsive wordpress templates are a dime a dozen, I don't know why anyone would opt to maintain two separate sites instead of working from a good responsive theme. Any web developer should be able to produce simple responsive layouts from scratch too, maybe they just don't know what they're doing. – Kayo Apr 9 '13 at 9:40
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Mobile website :

Mobile website is a separate site, designed for mobile phones and mobile browsers.

The main benefit of having a mobile site is that you can target your mobile audience very well.

The drawbacks are several. Since your desktop site and mobile site are two separate entities, when you update your website, you will need to update your mobile site as well.

Responsive website:

Responsive website is a single website that scales based on what device was used by the visitor – desktop or laptop, mobile phone, or tablet.

There are many benefits to responsive website.you only have one single site, It requires little maintenance once implemented and is a good long term solution. A responsive website benefits from exposure to all visitors – mobile or desktop – and steadily gains popularity on the website because of links and sharing.

There are still some drawbacks in it. it will take a lot of resources to design and implement the new website layout. The website content then needs to be reviewed and edited to accommodate both desktop and mobile viewers.

Some Useful Links :

http://www.slideshare.net/bradfrostweb/responsive-design-vs-separate-mobile-sites-presidential-smackdown-edition

https://ux.stackexchange.com/questions/13273/responsive-web-design-vs-separate-website-for-mobile

http://noldorweb.com/blog/responsive-web-design-vs-separate-mobile-website-design/

http://www.smartz.com/web-development/mobile/mobile-vs-responsive-design/

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In my opinion, a responsive site is a better choice in the long term as it's easy to maintain and update. Mobile browsers are getting better day by day, so it's only safe to have a mobile website if you target specific low end mobile devices or wish to provide a different experience to your mobile visitors.

In terms of cost, I personally would recommend a responsive website for my clients, as it's easier and faster for me to make one, plus, it's future proof.

Check out this interesting case study http://mobile.smashingmagazine.com/2012/08/22/separate-mobile-responsive-website-presidential-smackdown/

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