How to Make Your WordPress Site More Mobile-Friendly

Remember a pre-iPhone world? Sure, a few people connected to the internet on their Blackberries, Palm Treos, and Motorola RAZRs, but the experience was rough. 

At most, people would check a quick work email or their calendar and then jump offline as soon as possible. Desktops reigned supreme, and most computing was relegated to the home or the office. 

Then the iPhone 1 dropped. 

Once users had their hands on that first iPhone, there was no going back. 7 years is all it took to change everything. By 2016, smartphones and tablets overtook desktops for the first time, capturing 51.3% of all browsing. 

We’re now 8 years ahead of that milestone. In the last 8 years, smartphone adoption has more than doubled from 3.2 billion users to 6.8 billion users. 95.9% of consumers globally own a smartphone and consider it their favorite electronic device. To say that mobile and smartphones are integral to daily life would be an understatement. 

This means if you have a website or online business, you must consider the needs and behaviors of mobile users. If you’re not making your WordPress Website mobile-friendly, you’ll undoubtedly miss out on tons of traffic. It’ll also affect your rankings as Google now “predominantly uses the mobile version of a site’s content…for indexing and ranking.”

Chances are your WordPress website is already mobile-friendly to a degree. WordPress was an early pioneer in responsive web design, and many themes have it baked in already. But having basic mobile functionality is a first step. Ideally, you’ll want to create an optimized mobile experience for your visitors. 

Test Your Site’s Mobile-Friendliness

Before jumping into our tips and trying various ways to optimize your mobile WordPress site, run a quick test to get a baseline for your current performance. You can submit your website to the Google Mobile-Friendly Test here to see how Google’s crawlers view your existing website. These results are vital. Since Google reigns supreme over web search results, a poor score here can mean your site is hidden from visitors.

Once you’ve implemented all the tips and tricks recommended here, re-run the test to see how much you’ve improved. 

Simplify the User Experience

The most common mistake companies make when designing a business website is making their site too crowded. This is an especially bad mistake when trying to make your WordPress website mobile-friendly. According to Google, 79% of people will look for another website if they don’t like your mobile experience, and 50% of people who like your business won’t use you if your website isn’t mobile-friendly. 

While it’s easier to get away with bad design on the desktop, mobile browsers are easily over cluttered. A good rule of thumb for mobile websites is removing everything except what’s vital to the page. Focus your designs on making navigation and call-to-action buttons easy to find.

Optimize Your Files

Optimizing your code and image sizes is vital to creating a quality mobile website experience. You should always optimize your file sizes for any website, but you particularly need to ensure that your pages load quickly on mobile devices. 

Some image optimization tips to try:

  • Be sure you’re always using the best file type for what you’re showing – JPG, PNG, WebP, etc. 
  • Use image compression tools to get the file sizes down
  • Use lazy loading so your site only loads images when viewed, improving your page load times 

Write Mobile-Friendly Copy

People love reading on the go with their mobile devices. This means you’ll often reach your visitors when they have a limited attention span and smaller screen size. Take this into account when creating your web copy. 

Try to avoid complex, long sentences and paragraphs. You don’t want visitors facing a wall of text on arrival to your page. Break up the copy to let it breathe on the page so it’s easier to read on a mobile device. 

Use clear fonts with maximum contrast between the text and background to ensure visitors can read things easily. 

One of the most significant mobile search statistics to come out centers around how users search when on the go. A considerable number of mobile searches feature local search identifiers, like “near me” or “in my city.”  If you’re not developing content to capture these types of searches, you’re missing out on a large chunk of traffic. 

Similarly, more and more users opt for voice search over traditional text-based searches. To ensure you don’t miss out on these searches, you must also optimize your pages for voice search results by including long-tail keywords and writing short answers to common questions.  

Use a Mobile-Friendly WordPress Theme (or Don’t)

In the early days of mobile browsing, companies designed for desktops first, relegating the mobile experience to an afterthought. Some created clunky mobile sites with their own URL that let you know you were getting their mobile (not complete) experience. Soon, responsive website designs began to trend. These were WordPress themes or custom-built sites that would rearrange themselves based on what device the visitor was browsing from. 

Responsive websites are amazing, but given the prevalence of mobile browsing, many companies are now doing things differently. Instead of building a flashy, impressive desktop website, they focus primarily on the mobile experience. Because most visitors will be visiting on a mobile device, they build out that experience first and now treat the desktop experience as an afterthought.  

Wrapping Up

Making your WordPress website mobile-friendly isn’t something you can neglect in today’s mobile-driven world. A decade ago, you could succeed simply by having a poorly designed mobile website. But those days are gone. If anything, your mobile experience is more important than desktop in many industries and for many visitors.

If you didn’t approach your last website build focused on the mobile experience, it might be time to revisit your website design to see if you can’t further optimize things. Talk with a trusted WordPress development company to see what changes you should make to your website. 

If you need help redesigning or evaluating the mobile experience for your site, reach out to us. Pixel Jar has been working with WordPress since its early days, and we’ve followed along with the progress in responsive site development.

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