17 Easy Tips on How to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
You Must Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly!
Optimizing your website and content for mobile is a must, even though it might seem like another chore to do. Your site needs to accommodate mobile users no matter what industry you’re in or your location. Why?
According to the Alexa rankings, 80% of the top websites are optimized for mobile users. Plus, 80% of all Internet users have smartphones.
Smartphones quickly went from expensive, exciting new technology to a regular part of everyday life. Today we find it strange for anyone to leave the house without their phone. From hospital waiting rooms to restaurants and even walking on the street, people staring at their phones is normal.
Even those of you who aren’t holding their phones right now, I’m sure, have them within arm’s reach, either in their pockets, purses or on nearby tables.
This widespread use of mobile devices is excellent news for your company and your website. Our love for mobile devices makes it easier for your current and prospective customers to access your site. It also means it’s past time for your website to provide an excellent mobile user experience.
It will help you get more SEO traffic in both the short and long term, but it will also help you with your conversion rates because a smaller percentage of your traffic will bounce.
This post will explain how to make your website mobile-friendly and optimize your content for mobile visitors.
What does Mobile-Friendly Mean?
When we talk about a ‘mobile-friendly’ website, we’re talking about displaying a different ‘version’ of your website to mobile visitors to give them a better experience.
There are several ways you can achieve this:
- Responsive design – your website’s layout adapts to the screen size, whether you’re just changing the size of your desktop tab or browsing from a mobile or tablet.
- Dynamic serving – visitors are shown a different, purpose-built version of the site, depending on their viewing device.
- A mobile app – in some cases, having a completely separate app for your mobile audience makes the most sense.
Responsive design is the bare minimum you should be aiming for, and it’s what Google recommends. Responsive design is also one of the main routes you can take to make your website more accessible. We think it’s worth further editing your auto-generated mobile site anyway. After all, you want to aim for a fantastic mobile user experience rather than an ‘acceptable’ one.
Your Responsive Website May Not be Mobile-Friendly!
Every so often, I have a conversation with a potential client who tells me they have a responsive website, so they are all set. They were an early adopter of responsive design and are very proud of it. Good for them!
But a lot has changed since 2015. In 2022 simply having a responsive site doesn’t necessarily mean you have a mobile-friendly website!
In a recent post, I wrote about why a mobile-first website is essential in 2022 for your business or product brand. And being mobile-friendly is a vital aspect of that. But simply having a responsive website is not enough. Why is that, you ask?
Having a mobile-friendly website takes more than simply building a responsive website. Having a responsive website simply means your website will size down to render on a mobile device screen. But that does not mean you are providing a great mobile user experience.
Suppose you want to meet the expectations of ever more sophisticated mobile consumers in 2022. In that case, you need to make your website mobile-friendly.
The Importance of Being Mobile-Friendly
To be considered mobile-friendly, your business website has to look great on mobile devices. But, even more important, it has to meet the needs of modern mobile consumers. Ignoring mobile shoppers is a costly business mistake you must avoid.
83% of mobile users expect a flawless experience whenever they visit a website with any mobile device.TechJury
Yet many business websites are not meeting the expectations of mobile consumers. And that means they are missing out on valuable opportunities to promote their brands.
Take a peek inside your Google Analytics. You will see the number of visitors accessing your website from mobile devices. According to First Site Guide, more than 60% of Google searches are from mobile devices.
And it does not end there. Mobile consumers (and consumption) are here to stay. According to Statista, in 2022, the daily time spent on mobile apps is projected to reach 227 minutes per day, up from 215 minutes in 2020.
So, unless you are willing to risk more than half of your total business, you must make optimizing your business website for mobile consumers an absolute priority! Here is what you need to consider to make your website mobile-friendly.
How to Make Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Use a Responsive Theme or Framework
In 2022 I should not have to mention this. But just in case you missed this, the easiest way to make your website mobile-friendly is to use a responsive theme or framework.
A responsive layout allows a website to rescale itself according to the device used to view it. This functionality makes the website adapt to different screen sizes without rendering issues. Responsive web design works well for both mobile and desktop platforms as the website realigns its appearance accordingly.
Having a mobile responsive website also helps in boosting the SEO value of a website because Google prefers indexing and ranking websites that are mobile-friendly. Therefore, incorporating a responsive layout goes a long way in assisting websites in ranking higher on Google searches.
Design for Users that Are All Thumbs
Remember that 75% of smartphone users use their thumbs to tap on the screen. The reach decreases further as the screen size increases. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to place essential elements and clickable buttons toward the middle of the screen.
Navigating a website from a desktop or laptop computer is simple. It’s easy to control a cursor from a mouse or keypad.
But browsing with your thumbs on a 4-inch screen isn’t as easy. Keep this in mind when laying out different elements of your mobile site.
Buttons need to be large enough to be tapped with a finger. Make sure you keep enough space between buttons, so someone doesn’t accidentally click the wrong one.
Tapping the same button several times to make it work will frustrate mobile users visiting your website.
Improve Page Load Speed
Mobile consumers are in a hurry. They have an urgent need for information right now! According to Google, people are 5-times more likely to leave your website if it loads too slow. Ideally, your website will load in less than 3 seconds. Less is even better. Here are some free tools to test your site speed.
Page Speed Test Tools
The Google PageSpeed Tester is a free tool to test your site to see how quickly it loads. It will show you the load time for both mobile and desktop viewing. This helpful tool can help you assess if your website needs some work.
GTMetrix is another free tool to test your site page speed. In addition to showing you some basic info regarding your page load speed, page size, number of requests, etc., this tool provides more in-depth analysis and recommendations for improving your page speed score.
Tools.Pingdom is another free tool to test your site load speed. This tool will show you the load time and any shortcomings and bottlenecks on your site. In addition, this will provide you with specific references and instructions for what you need to fix.
If your website is too slow, there are some things you can do to improve the speed of your web pages. For example, you can optimize your images, compress files, and combine external scripts and style sheets. A professional web developer may have to help you with the latter.
And keep in mind that site and page load speed also depends on your website host. Outdated software, struggling server architecture, and limited bandwidth significantly impact page speed and user satisfaction. Therefore you may want to evaluate your business website hosting options as well.
Being mobile-friendly means avoiding overly complex or confusing navigation. We recommend you list your most important pages first. Then, make it easy for viewers to find what they need on the go and fast.
Keep in mind that, in general, mobile users are distracted users. Many are multitasking while watching TV, being at work, running errands, or even hanging with friends. A mobile-friendly site clearly shows what they need to see and do.
Having image buttons or complex drop-down navigation doesn’t work so well for mobile use. And any navigation that requires the user to scroll left to right is also a big no-no. So instead, it is better to use the familiar “Hamburger Menu.” I am sure you have seen the three bars yourself.
Use Mobile Menus
Standard website menus are not well suited for mobile devices. For example, you do not want to show the traditional menu that will clutter your mobile website. Instead, a mobile menu will hide all items into a widget that will only display once a user decides to show it by tapping on the menu icon.
Include a Mobile Search Function
No matter how well-structured your site is or how great the menu looks on mobile devices, the fact is that navigation is a bit more complex than on desktop devices.
Instead of letting people wander around your site searching for a specific page, help them find what they want by implementing a search function. Depending on how important this is to you, you can place a search form at the top or bottom of your page.
An even better option would be to have a search function embedded into your mobile menu to always be available for your visitors.
Make Your CTAs Stand Out
Mobile users often want quick answers to make a decision and act. They want to find a restaurant or make dinner reservations. What movie to see. They are booking the next vacation. What groceries to order. You don’t want to make them hunt on the page to do any of that. Instead, make needed items stand out.
And here is another thing. Make sure your CTA buttons scale accurately on smartphones and smaller tablets. On mobile devices, buttons are proportionally bigger and spaced further apart. This feature makes it easier for human fingers to hit them on small screens. So go ahead, try it yourself.
Keep Forms as Short as Possible
Think about all the different forms you have on your website. If you’re asking the visitor for a lot of information, it’s not a practical approach.
Instead, you should change the design to keep your forms short.
Again, if someone is filling out a form on their computer, it’s not as big of an issue because it’s easier to type and navigate on a larger screen. But this isn’t the case with smartphones and tablets.
Evaluate your forms, and ask yourself whether you need each line.
Mobile consumers are viewing content on smaller screens. And being impatient, they will not scroll indefinitely. Therefore, it is essential to simplify your page content to include only vital facts. The amount of words you can put “above the fold” without users having to scroll is pretty low.
Think about what on-the-go users want to know, such as contact info, opening hours, products, and services. Then, place this content front and center.
Here is how to keep all your content as concise as possible to be mobile-friendly:
- Consider shortening product descriptions.
- Condense the company history into bullet points and edit your products and services pages.
- Create shorter bios for your team and keep descriptions for different locations zippy.
Always remember less is more when it comes to mobile-friendly content.
Avoid Large Blocks of Text
Reduce the amount of text on the screen of your mobile website. Of course, you’ll need to use some words to communicate with your visitors, but keep sentences and paragraphs short.
Large blocks of text are overwhelming and challenging to read. Remember, if a paragraph is two lines long on your desktop site, it might be six lines long on a smartphone.
Simplify Your Design
Confusing design is awful when you have too much content, and it is generally not user-friendly. However, when it comes to mobile-friendly design, prominent bold elements and fewer of them work better than creating a visually overwhelming experience.
Regardless of using them on your desktop site, remove any pop-ups or splash screens from mobile devices. Use the correct image sizes for mobile design and allow your web code to detect the size of the mobile device and resize images to fit the screen. If you must have a slider or slideshows, make sure they resize correctly for mobile devices.
The future of mobile is the future of online. It is how people access online content now.David Murphy
Limiting fonts is not about how many different fonts you can use before your visitors get dizzy. Defining fonts provides a mobile-friendly experience for your potential clients and customers. So pick a Google Fonts or Adobe TypeKit font that reflects the design of your website. I recommend a sans-serif for improved readability.
And don’t pick more than two or three at the most. Each font will increase your page load speed. Instead of selecting too many fonts, I recommend using different styling such as weight or style to create a variety of additional options.
Use Standard Fonts
Not many beginners know that fonts are “heavy.” Loading non-standard fonts on your site will increase waiting time for mobile users and make it less user-friendly. I know you wanted that paragraph painted in a unique color and written in a hand-written font that you saw on a friend’s site.
But a standard font may look just as good, and keep in mind that it will make your site load faster. Do you want to sacrifice losing visitors just because of the font style?
Provide Visual Cues
When users click on their smartphone to navigate a website, it is not always easy to see if they have clicked in the right place or if a page is loading. Providing visual clues to make the experience more intuitive is another way to ensure that your business website is mobile-friendly.
Remember, visual clues themselves need to be bold and easy to see, even in low light or distracting conditions. An efficient approach is to have elements change or revert colors on swipe or click. This approach involves no images that might slow down your site, making it mobile-friendly.
When used carefully, pop-ups can work well on a desktop version of a site.
But when it comes to mobile, pop-ups are best avoided. Not only do you have a smaller screen to deal with, but you can’t tailor the pop-up to trigger at crucial moments, such as when the user goes to exit your screen.
Don’t show pop-ups on your mobile site no matter what you have to offer. People do not like pop-ups in general, but having one on mobile sites adds additional load on your site. They also frustrate people browsing from their phones.
Suppose you have to show a special offer or ask people for their email addresses. In that case, you can do that by showing a simple banner or widget within your mobile site instead.
Optimize for Mobile SEO
Suppose you want to come across as really mobile-friendly. In that case, it is not enough to optimize the desktop version of your business website for search engines. Instead, you need to optimize your mobile-friendly site for SEO.
Suppose people are googling “Electrician in Seattle” because their lights just went out and sparks are coming from the electrical panel. In that case, you want your business website to come up on top of their search engine results page.
Test and Retest on Mobile
I am always surprised that some of our new clients have never seen their website on a mobile device. It makes it even harder for them to understand why mobile-friendly web design is crucial for any business.
Since mobile devices like tablets and smartphones operate differently from a keyboard or mouse, it is a good idea to test on mobile devices. Test your site to ensure that everything functions on a mobile device. Testing should include contact forms, estimates, order forms, etc. You should also check to ensure all links and calls to action function properly.
How to Start Making Your Website Mobile-Friendly
And there you have it, folks. You should be good if you already have a mobile-friendly site, meaning it will look and function awesome on your iPhone 12. And if you notice a few things on our list, don’t panic. But you should consider fixing them before too long.
If you start a website in 2022, you cannot forget about mobile users. Many web designers and developers have even started prioritizing mobile users in recent years.
The future lies in the hands of mobile users, so make sure that you follow the trend and always have an optimized and mobile-friendly website, no matter which platform you’re on.
Mobile is becoming not only the new digital hub, but also the bridge to the physical world. That’s why mobile will affect more than just your digital operations — it will transform your entire business.Thomas Husson
Fix any low-hanging fruit first. Cutting down on content is an excellent way to start. Make sure your CTAs stand out and are easy to follow on a small screen. Use correctly sized and scaled images to cut down on page load time.
Other obstacles to having a mobile-friendly business website can take a little longer to overcome. That includes optimizing your site for mobile SEO and potentially performing some local SEO. Page speed optimization can be another time-consuming process. And depending on your existing host, you may need to consider a better hosting option.
Usually, moving your site to a new host is more complex. Most business owners should consult professionals before attempting that on their own.
If your mobile visitors don’t have a mobile-friendly experience, they will go elsewhere. And speaking of that, have you recently checked your competitors’ websites on your smartphone? Maybe you should.
Of course, if your business website was last updated in the 2000s, you have a bit more work ahead of you. In that case, you may need a complete website redesign instead of simply an update of your existing one. Here are a few ways you can tell if you need a website redesign or if a website update will do.
Making Your Website Mobile-Friendly
Do you want to create a functional, thoughtful, and user-friendly website for your business or product brand? Our team of professional designers will be happy to help you with this. First, look at our portfolio and read our case studies.
Then, if you believe we are a good fit for your web design needs, let’s talk! We offer a full range of consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, website redesign, multilingual web design, search engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.
And if you are still not sure how you can benefit from a mobile-friendly website, let’s talk! Our team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way to implement mobile-friendly web design strategies in your online presence. It is one of our specialties, after all!
Do You Have a Mobile-Friendly Website?
Do you have a mobile-friendly website for your business or product brand? If so, how has this helped your brand meet its business objectives? If not, what is the biggest obstacle you face in getting a mobile-friendly online presence? Do you have other problems with your business website design?
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