The number of mobile users is booming every year. From just a portable electronic telephone device, it has changed a lot in the last five years. We can access each type of content, whether a video, website, news, sports, or anywhere, anytime, with just a few clicks.
According to a report, more than 54% of total web traffic comes from mobile devices, whereas it’s only 43% for desktop.
As you can see from this graph, the number is continuously rising, and soon, it will touch 60%. This clearly says that people are more likely to use mobile devices rather than desktops.
So, if you run a website and it’s not optimized for mobile devices, you are behind the curve and losing most of your current traffic. Furthermore, you wouldn’t be able to rank your web pages higher on Google. In November 2016, Google released the “Mobile-first Indexing” update where they now look at the mobile version of a page’s content to evaluate its relevance to the user.
But, how can you make your website mobile-friendly?
This post will share the top 10 tips that will help you create a mobile-friendly website. But first,
What is a mobile-friendly website?
As the name implies, websites designed, developed, optimized for desktops and mobile devices and tablets are called mobile-friendly websites.
That means texts, images, buttons, or any other elements on mobile devices are easy to read and navigate without any manual action. In simple words, the content on mobile is easy to consume.
Here’s how a mobile-friendly website looks like.
How to check if your website is mobile-friendly?
Before you start optimizing your website for mobile devices, let’s check whether it’s mobile-friendly, or if not, then what’s the issue.
This may seem a complex task. Fortunately, Google has its own built mobile-friendly testing tool that allows web admins to check whether their web page is mobile-friendly.
Enter your URL, and it will start analyzing your page.
As you can see, the webpage is mobile-friendly, and there are no issues.
However, if your website or web page isn’t mobile-friendly, follow the optimization steps below.
10 steps to make your website mobile-friendly
Here are the top 10 tips that you can implement today to make your website mobile-friendly.
1. Use a mobile-responsive theme
The first step to make your website mobile-optimized is to choose a mobile-responsive theme or template.
Having a mobile-responsive theme is very important because it improves the overall user experience and has a significant SEO advantage. Fortunately, most desktops and popular website builders, such as Wix, Squarespace, Webflow, etc., are highly customizable. If you are using a CMS, such as WordPress, make sure your install theme is responsive.
To install a mobile responsive theme, go to Appearance > Themes > Add New.
Search for “responsive theme” in the search bar. This will bring up all the responsive themes that are available in the WordPress theme gallery.
Also, don’t forget to check reviews before installing.
2. Prioritize speed
No matter how responsive your website is, you will lose your customers and leads if it takes ages to load.
Google’s study shows that 32% of users leave a mobile website if it fails to load in 3 seconds. Here’s a report by Google that shows how website speed impacts bounce rates.
A solution is to implement speed optimization tactics to accelerate your website’s speed. Here are the top steps below:
Switch to premium hosting: Website hosting should be the top priority when optimizing your website for speed.
If your website is large and gets lots of traffic, you should invest in premium hosting, such as VPS dedicated. Here’s an article about WP Engine alternatives that offer premium hostings.
Start using a CDN: A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is a highly distributed platform of servers that work together to provide faster web content delivery. In short, it helps to speed up your website. Cloudflare is a free CDN service you can use.
Optimize images: Before adding images to your website, you should resize and optimize them because unoptimized images are large, slowing down your website.
TinyPNG is a great image compressing tool you can use. The best thing about this tool is that it compresses images without losing the actual quality. So basically, you can see the difference between an unoptimized and optimized image.
3. Include a search function
Navigating a website is complex, and navigating on mobile devices can be even more complicated. Luckily there are some ways you can make your site’s navigation easier. One way of doing this would be adding a search function on your website.
You may not want people to wander all-around your website to find an article they are looking for. This often makes them frustrated.
And, if your site has a search function, people can use it to discover more content in just a few seconds. Just take Amazon as an example.
Let’s say someone visits Amazon’s website to buy a working laptop under $400. And, if he wants to see more expensive laptops, he can use the search function to view all the models quickly.
Similarly, you can add a search bar at the top, bottom, or sidebar area on your website.
4. Simplify your menus
Mobile screens are way smaller than computer and laptop screens. So, it’s evident that the content on both screens looks different.
Each element, such as menus, sidebars, etc., is easily visible to users on bigger devices. But, this isn’t the case with smartphones and tablets.
As you can see from the image, the menus on the standard website are not visible unless you tap on the zoom-in button. Not to mention, this will hurt your conversion goals badly.
The next image shows that the website is well-optimized for mobile devices and looks pretty good. All of the information, including menus, is easily visible.
5. Eliminate pop-ups
People visit a website to get information or a quick solution. If your content is super helpful and engaging, they will stick to it and revisit your website.
But, having unnecessary pop-ups, especially on mobile devices, drives your visitors away. Nobody has time to find the “x” button to close the pop-up, and most of the time, they will just click away and find another website.
So, if you want to improve users’ experience on your website, avoid adding pop-ups.
If you think they are too crucial for generating leads or building an email subscriber list, disable pop-ups on mobile devices; also limit pop-ups to 2-3 for desktop.
6. Use a large and readable font
Reading on a small screen is much harder if the font is tiny. But, of course, it’s the same for bigger screens too.
So, it’s better to use at least a 14px font size for all devices.
To test this, write a 50-100 words paragraph and preview it on desktop and mobile devices. This will show you if the font shows up a little small and increase it a bit.
To maximize the readability for all devices, you can space out text with line breaks and bold the important words. Also, you can use capital letters and bold font for the headline of a section.
It’s also a good practice to stick with one font and use it everywhere on your site. Because using multiple fonts requires a web browser to download them to highlight them to the users. This process might affect your website’s loading speed. Also read, how to choose the right size and format for icons.
7. Change your button size
Buttons are primarily used to do something on a website. You can add it on forms, download or checkout pages, dialog boxes, etc.
While adding a button, make sure it looks great on all devices, especially on mobile, since we deal with small screens.
Moreover, the text written on a button should be visible at first glance. If your visitors don’t understand what’s written on the button, why would they bother clicking on it?
Poorly designed buttons could hurt your conversation rates.
Here is an example of it.
The way you test your font size on mobile, you should do the same with buttons.
8. Use media queries
Another great way to make your website mobile-friendly is by using media queries.
If your website is already mobile responsive, then you don’t need to use media queries. However, if it’s a custom website or page, you may need to use media queries.
Media queries are a technique that delivers tailored stylesheets to desktops, laptops, tablets, and mobile phones. In simple words, media queries automatically detect the screen size and therefore display a set of CSS that you have set.
Here’s an example.
This code tells if the screen is under 640px, all the CSS code inside the media query will apply.
9. Keep your forms as short as possible
A webform is a great medium that allows visitors to get in touch with you. Generally, we use different types of forms such as contact, subscription, registration form, etc.
But, if you are asking your visitors a lot of information to fill, they will probably leave it blank and click away.
For bigger screens, it’s easier to navigate and fill up a form. But, for mobile devices, it’s different. So, you should be well-planned about what you are asking on your forms.
For example, you shouldn’t ask for billing details on the registration form.
10. Test your site regularly
One of the best ways you can ensure your website provides a good user experience is to perform tests regularly.
Whenever you update or modify your content, you must test your website on different devices. So spend some time on your website and see if there’s anything that you need to fix. Also, you can use Google’s mobile-friendly testing tool that I have mentioned before.
This works well if you are testing one or two pages. But if your website is large, then this process may take you ages.
Fortunately, there’s a great way you can automate this process to know which pages are not mobile optimized.
First, add your website to Google Search Console. Once added, navigate to the Mobile Usability section under “Enhancements.”
It will show you when Google detects mobile-usability issues on your website.
Click on the error types to view which pages have been affected.
Now, all you have to do is fix the issue and click on submit for validation.
If you don’t optimize your website for mobile devices, you are losing most of your current traffic. Even search engines like Google don’t prioritize sites that are not optimized for mobile.
Generally, a desktop screen is bigger, so it doesn’t require too much optimization.
But, showing all the content properly on smaller screens is pretty difficult and requires additional effort.
In this article, we have shared the top 10 tips for creating a mobile-friendly website. After reading them, all you have to do is implement them. And, don’t forget to test your site regularly.
Once you have completed all of these steps, if you still wish to optimize further, maybe you can consider implementing Progressive Web App (PWA) – an advanced web technology to your site. With PWA, your mobile website can have the look and feel of a native mobile application. Also, for Magento merchants especially who often have to deal with performance issues, Magento PWA can help improve your mobile page speed dramatically.
About the author: Jyoti Ray is the founder of WPMyWeb.com, specializing in affiliate marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He writes or has been featured on JeffBullas, SurveyAnyplace, SearchEngineWatch, more.