Mobile Websites – How to make your WordPress website responsive

Mobile websites - how to make them responsive

Mobile browsers have surpassed desktop browsers as more and more people use their phones and tablets for search. As an ever evolving platform, WordPress has kept pace with this change and the most popular themes and theme builders are now responsive which means most themes turn into great looking mobile websites.

However, most mobile websites will still need some styling. The more you customise your theme, the greater the chance that you will need to make some style or structural changes to keep your mobile website looking great. Here, our WordPress developers have put together some tips to ensure that your mobile website looks and performs just as well as your desktop website.

1. Understanding Mobile Website Responsiveness

1.1. Definition and Importance of Mobile Responsiveness

Mobile responsiveness refers to a website’s ability to adapt and display properly across various screen sizes and devices, including smartphones and tablets. With the rising popularity of mobile browsing, having a mobile-responsive website is essential. It allows your content to be easily accessible and readable, regardless of the device used. Furthermore, search engines like Google prioritise mobile-friendly websites in their rankings, making mobile responsiveness a crucial factor for search engine optimisation (SEO).

1.2. Benefits of Mobile-Optimised Websites

Creating a mobile-optimised website brings numerous benefits. Firstly, it enhances user experience by providing a seamless browsing experience, ensuring that visitors can navigate through your website effortlessly. A positive user experience leads to higher engagement, increased time spent on the site, and improved conversion rates.

Additionally, mobile responsiveness positively affects SEO. Search engines favor websites that offer a smooth mobile experience and rank them higher in mobile search results. By optimising your site for mobile devices, you increase its visibility and reach a wider audience, driving more organic traffic.

2. Implementing Mobile Responsiveness in WordPress

2.1. Choosing a Responsive WordPress Theme

If you are purchasing a WordPress theme or using a template theme from one of the popular theme builders like Divi or Elementor, it is important to check how the mobile website version looks on both your phone and your tablet.

A lot of WordPress themes will promise to be responsive and for the most part they are – however the demos you will be checking have been perfectly designed for the theme developer’s content and not your content. Longer titles, different size images and different column structures you add to your version of the theme will all affect the mobile website responsiveness. On the better WordPress themes, the effect of this on the mobile website will be negligible but this is still something you will need to be wary of.

2.2. Using Media Queries for Customisation

When you do come across any styling issues on your mobile website, media queries will be your saviour!

Media queries are a powerful tool that allows you to customise the appearance of your website based on the user’s device. By using CSS media queries, you can define specific styles for different screen sizes. This customisation ensures that your website retains its visual appeal and functionality on mobile devices.

A typical media query might look like this:

@media all and (min-width:500px) and (max-width:799.99px) {
h1 {
font-size: 3em;
}
}

In the above example, all H1 headings on your website would have a font size of 3em on all devices wider than 500px but not wider than 799.99px.

These media queries can be used to target all elements on your mobile website and can be used sitewide or on a page by page basis. The best page builders have options that will allow you to visually change the appearance of font-sizes, structures, images etc on your mobile website but media queries are still a very useful fallback when chasing the perfect mobile website layout.

3. Optimising Page Length for Mobile Devices

3.1. Importance of Page Load Speed

Page load speed is a critical factor in providing a seamless mobile browsing experience. Mobile users expect fast-loading pages, and a slow mobile website can result in high bounce rates and decreased user satisfaction. Optimising page length for mobile devices is essential to reduce load times and improve overall performance.

A mobile website’s elements default responsive behaviour is to stack the desktop elements on top of each other e.g. 4 horizontal columns will become 4 vertical columns on mobile – thus stretching the height of the webpage.

3.2. Strategies to Reduce Page Length

To ensure faster page loading on mobile devices, consider implementing the following strategies:

  1. Minimise the use of large images and use compression techniques to reduce their file sizes.
  2. Break long articles into smaller sections with clear headings and subheadings.
  3. Implement lazy loading for images and videos to load them only when they are visible to the user.
  4. Remove unnecessary widgets, plugins, or scripts that may slow down the page load speed.
  5. Optimise and compress CSS and JavaScript files to reduce their file sizes.

4. Optimising Elements for Mobile Devices

4.1. Importance of Element Optimisation

Apart from optimising the overall page length, it is crucial to optimise individual elements on your website for mobile devices. This ensures that specific elements, such as large images or complex features like slideshows, don’t hinder the page load speed and user experience.

4.2. Techniques for Element Optimisation

Consider the following techniques to optimise elements for mobile devices:

  1. Reduce the number of images in a slideshow or gallery specifically for mobile devices. For example, a slideshow with four images could be reduced to two images, reducing the load time.
  2. Use responsive images that automatically adjust their size based on the user’s device.
  3. Utilise CSS to hide or modify certain elements that may not be necessary on mobile devices.
  4. Opt for simpler and lightweight alternatives to resource-intensive features or plugins.

5. AMP – Should it be used?

5.1. Overview of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) is an open-source framework aimed at improving the loading speed of web pages on mobile devices. While AMP can provide fast-loading pages, it may not be the best option for all websites.

For simple blogs or small websites containing mostly text and images, AMP can be a good option for ensuring your mobile website is fast loading and looking good. For anything more complex though, AMP can create problems and leave you with styling and functionality decisions to make.

5.2. Drawbacks of AMP Implementation

While AMP offers speed benefits, it comes with some limitations:

  1. Limited design flexibility: AMP restricts the use of certain HTML, CSS, and JavaScript features, limiting the customisation options for your website.
  2. Impact on monetisation: Implementing AMP can affect your ability to monetise your website through certain ad networks and tracking codes.
  3. Complex implementation: Integrating AMP can be technically challenging and time-consuming, especially for larger and more complex websites.

6. Mobile Menus for Enhanced User Experience

6.1. Designing Effective Mobile Menus

Mobile menus play a crucial role in providing an intuitive navigation experience on small screens. When designing mobile menus, consider the following best practices:

  1. Use a hamburger menu icon to conserve space and provide a familiar symbol for mobile users.
  2. Prioritise important menu items and place them prominently for easy access.
  3. Utilise clear and concise labels for menu items to enhance user understanding.
  4. Implement touch-friendly elements and gestures to ensure easy navigation.

7. Conclusion

In today’s mobile-driven world, having a mobile-responsive website is no longer a luxury but a necessity. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, you can ensure that your WordPress website is optimised for mobile devices, providing an enhanced user experience, improved search engine visibility, and faster page load speed. Embrace mobile responsiveness to stay ahead in the digital landscape and cater to the needs of your mobile users effectively.

FAQs

  1. Is mobile responsiveness only important for e-commerce websites? No, mobile responsiveness is crucial for all types of websites. With the increasing number of mobile users, it is essential to provide a seamless browsing experience across devices.
  2. Do I need coding skills to make my WordPress website mobile-responsive? No, you can achieve mobile responsiveness in WordPress without extensive coding skills. By choosing a responsive theme and using plugins or CSS media queries, you can optimise your website for mobile devices.
  3. Are there any SEO benefits to having a mobile-responsive website? Yes, search engines prioritise mobile-responsive websites in their rankings. Having a mobile-optimised site improves your chances of ranking higher in mobile search results.
  4. Is AMP the best solution for all websites to improve mobile page load speed? No, while AMP can provide speed benefits, it may not be suitable for all websites. Consider the limitations and impact on design and monetisation before implementing AMP.
  5. What are some common mistakes to avoid when designing mobile menus? Avoid overcrowding the menu with too many items, using unclear labels, or making the menu difficult to access. Prioritise simplicity and ease of use for a seamless navigation experience.
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