Optimizing Bootstrap Responsive Web Design to Boost Conversions [Updated]

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In today’s digital age, the internet is an integral part of our lives. Our ability to access it across multiple devices anywhere and anytime makes it more ubiquitous.

Currently, more than one-third of the world population is connected to the web. Statista reports that about 61.2% of internet users will use mobile devices to access the internet in 2018.

It’s no wonder then, as data from BalancingEverything shows, that nearly two-thirds (61%) of mobile users are unlikely to return to a mobile site if they had trouble accessing it on the first try. And why would they, since so many other websites provide a seamless experience? To put things into perspective, let’s take an example from the ecommerce industry. Stats show that a whopping 69.8% of customers would wait a maximum of five minutes before abandoning their shopping cart and leaving the online store altogether, never to return, if the website is too slow. And with so many consumers using their mobile devices to browse, compare prices, and ultimately make purchases (impulsive or otherwise), it stands to reason that an ecommerce website should be optimized for all platforms, including mobile, to prevent the potential loss of customers who love to shop on the go.

These trends point to the fact that having your website optimized for multiple platforms will be a crucial step for achieving greater conversions for the foreseeable future.

So, what is a responsive web design?

Responsive Web Design is a design approach for creating websites that are automatically adjustable to any screen size or device type. Such devices include smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop or any other hybrid devices.

Bootstrap, otherwise known as Twitter Bootstrap is an open-source front-end framework for designing responsive websites. We’ll be discussing more on this later in this article.

The essence of creating a responsive design is to have a website that is mobile-first and responsive, organized from navigation, content, and images that are scalable across multiple devices.

Creating responsive websites is now more important than ever due to the need to prioritize what engages and retains users’ attention and present it to all internet users in the most convenient way possible.

So, if your website isn’t optimized for mobile browsers, it could lead to higher bounce rates and a lower Search Engine Results Page (SERP) ranking.

Technically speaking, it’s harder for Google to index websites with lower rankings and higher bounce rates.

Things to consider before creating your RWD

There are a few components to consider when opting for an RWD. They include:

  • HTML & CSS
  • Media queries


Basic knowledge of HTML and CSS is required to build a responsive front-end. To have a functional website, you simply need to upgrade to the basic knowledge of HTML5 and CSS3.

Such an upgrade is needed for optimal effects across browsers unless you intend to design websites that can only be accessed with older browsers or you simply aren’t a disciple of improvement.

Media Queries

Writing basic HTML and CSS code may get your website running but not responsive. To make your website mobile-friendly, simply add the media query to your CSS code.

One useful CSS3 rule for creating a responsive website is the insertion of @media. The media query determines how to visually optimize a website for a user regardless of screen size.

To achieve that, simply use the following codes below as a guide:

/*Extra small devices (smartphones, <600px)*/  

@media only screen and (max-width: 600px) {…}  

/*Small devices (large smartphones and portrait tablets >= 600px)*/  

@media only screen and (min-width: 600px) {…}  

/*Medium devices (landscape tablets >= 768px)*/  

@media only screen and (min-width: 768px) {…}  

/*Large devices (laptops and desktops, >=600px)*/  

@media only screen and (min-width: 992px) {…}  

/*Extra Large devices (laptops and desktops <600px)*/  

@media only screen and (min-width: 1200px) {…}

These should conveniently cover the majority of mobile devices’ screen resolutions.

Using Bootstrap for Responsive Web Design

Bootstrap is a front-end toolkit that offers a simple and flexible HTML5, CSS3 and jQuery framework for popular UI/UX components and interactions.

It is mobile-first, with a ground-up grid approach, optimization and just enough customization for your front-end design to boost conversions.

Bootstrap was developed by the founders of popular social networking site, Twitter, and is an open source project with an MIT license. It is currently developed, hosted and maintained on GitHub.

Some benefits of using Bootstrap for responsive web design are simple CSS classes, easy grid system for RWD implementation, elegant styling, JS for common UI/UX components.

All these benefits help to optimize your website’s responsive web design to boost conversions.

Using a template

There are several bootstrap templates that you can download and customize for your own website. They are free to use, so you don’t have to build anything from scratch. Simply add the script and start customizing your website to suit your design. The templates are available on Bootstrap’s website.

Using Bootstrap for RWD

There are four classes of devices that Bootstrap accounts for when optimizing responsive websites. They include:

  • Extra small devices: This covers portable devices like smartphones with screen resolutions less than 768px.
  • Small devices: This covers larger devices like tablets with screen resolutions greater than or equal to 768px.
  • Medium devices: This accounts for desktop computers or laptops with screen resolutions greater than or equal to 992px.
  • Large devices: For larger devices like desktops with screen resolutions greater than or equal to 1200px.

To apply the screen size resolution to your codes, replace the CSS3 @media query with .container; then, follow it with a simple basic grid structure.

Here’s a visual explainer:

<div class=”container”>
  <div class=”row”>
    <div class=”col-*-*”></div>
    <div class=”col-*-*”></div>
  <div class=”row”>
    <div class=”col-*-*”></div>
    <div class=”col-*-*”></div>
    <div class=”col-*-*”></div>
  <div class=”row”>

To determine the best optimization for extra small, small, medium and large screen, it is better to use the exact class prefix and number of columns required. For instance, for convenient layout classes, you must ensure to include containers, rows and about 12 columns. These layout classes let you start out your design for mobile devices first and subsequently migrate to desktop versions.

Optimizing your Bootstrap

To optimize Bootstrap RWD, you should consider the following and optimize them as much as possible.

Load Time

Always ensure that the loading time for your website is 3 seconds or less. Prolonged load times have been noted to decrease conversions and significantly increase websites’ bounce rates.

To reduce the loading time significantly, ensure that the HTML and CSS code comes first before your Bootstrap script. As iterated earlier, CSS uses @media for a mobile-first and responsive website but bootstrap uses .container.

Unused CSS codes

Did you know that 35% of CSS code is completely redundant? Avoid “weighing down” your website with unnecessary lines of code. Bear in mind that the best developers are the ones that write minimal codes that work.

Unused-CSS helps you clear up clutter in your CSS codes by removing unnecessary rules and keeping only the ones that are essential.

Templates and JavaScript Extensions

Download the right templates that include features like navigation styles, buttons, forms, login, etc. Use JavaScript plugin extensions that prioritize what information, features and content mobile users can see and get first.

For example, if you have an e-Commerce website that usually attracts 49% of mobile leads, you could prioritize information about nearby stores for in-person or pickup delivery.

Browser Compatibility

Using Bootstrap for responsive web design ensures that your website is compatible across the most popular browsers like Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer 8, Safari, Opera, etc.

If your website is not compatible with older browsers, it should by default, degrade some of its features to make it accessible to mobile users.

Markup API

This helps you add and use JS plugins without writing any JavaScript code. You can also use it to customize your website with as little coding as possible. That way, your website will have the maximum optimization that helps to boost its conversions.

Last words

Building a responsive web design is your safest bet to have a high-converting website in 2018. If you use Twitter Bootstrap, it’s best to have a fully optimized by tweaking several components.

This approach will help you secure more internet users by creating a mobile-friendly, easy-to-use and responsive website with significantly reduced load time.

In today’s competitive world of internet marketing, it’s one of the essential components required to have a website with lower bounce rates and a higher SERP ranking.