This post is by Rhys John, digital marketing executive at Thomas Design.

With higher and higher percentages of the population viewing websites and other forms of media on tablets, phones or netbooks, responsive web design is becoming more of a norm for businesses with an online presence. Making it difficult for customers to view your website on different devices could be more costly than you might anticipate – with design costs far less than the potential loss of business.

Here are the three main reasons to get a responsively designed website:

End User Experience

Design and functionality are key to a good user experience, and unresponsive websites are often difficult to use – giving visitors a negative opinion of the website and the broader business.

'Graceful degradation' makes a website resize for different devices whilst maintaining the majority of functionality and fundamental design features of the original desktop website. Good web designers can make this job look a lot easier than it actually is, but for every device the website has to be completely resized, refitted and remodelled for the specific screen size. When its done properly the only missing features on mobile are the ones specifically placed for the desktop experience.

Ensuring your website is mobile responsive will improve the end users' experience, and without it you risk them feeling and seeing your website on mobile without full functionality and features.

Search Engine Penalties

With "Mobilegeddon" passing in April – Google has followed through with previous announcements and is positioning mobile responsive websites higher than unresponsive websites. For businesses that rely on customers finding them through search engines, this is bad news.

At the moment this change affects search results returned to mobile devices, but Google could progress to penalising websites on desktop browsing too.

Wider Audience

Having a responsive web design helps businesses reach a much wider audience of people who are more likely to come to your website via mobile. The growth of mobile devices throughout the UK – now owned by almost 70% of adults – being used for internet is driving the changes to search engine algorithms and how people see your digital marketing communications.

Providing your customers and potential customers with mobile friendly versions of your website will give you an edge over competitors who are slower to adapt to consumer behaviour. And as the trend towards mobile will only continue to grow, responsive design is essential to future-proof your business.

Make sure you're on the winning end of responsive web design, and don't allow your websites' lack of functionality on mobile devices be a unique selling point for your competitors.