Have you ever clicked a link to visit a website on your smartphone, but on the site loading, you find that it displays a desktop format on it? That is not a mobile-friendly website. These days, the majority of web traffic is via mobile devices. This is a quick guide to help you ensure that your website does not fail the mobile test.
What is A Mobile-friendly Website?
A mobile-friendly website is one that loads fast on a mobile device and adapts itself to the small size of the mobile screen, so the reader does not need to scroll/pan horizontally or zoom in to read text and view images. The summary is that the pages on such a website perform well on mobile devices – phones, smartphones and tablets.
Why A Mobile-friendly Website?
If you are asking why your website should be mobile-friendly, the answer is simple: mobile has overtaken desktop as the primary means of accessing the World Wide Web. In other words, more people access websites on their mobiles than on their PCs. You will be missing out on serious traffic should your website not be mobile-friendly.
As far back as 2015, Google searches on mobile had exceeded searches on PC/desktop. So, your website is found via a Google search, and the user clicks through only to find that the site is not mobile-friendly. Usually, users leave immediately.
Even worse, if your site is not mobile-friendly, it will negatively affect your search ranking. You do not want that.
Creating A Mobile-friendly Website is Easy
Once upon a time, to create a mobile-friendly website was tough going. You had to be able to code in HTML. But modern content management systems (CMS) have changed that. Chances are that you can make your website mobile-friendly in a matter of minutes.
Use a popular CMS like WordPress for building your website. About 25% of all websites in existence, back in 2017, run on WordPress. Another popular CMS that you can use is Blogger. The whole idea behind a CMS is that the hard coding part of building websites is hidden away from you and automated, so you can get your website up, add pages, text, images and even video in a very short period of time.
WordPress Themes And Plugins
We will focus on WordPress in this tutorial. WordPress lets you pick a free theme or buy a commercial theme for the design of your site. The deal is that almost all modern WordPress themes are responsive – meaning that they are designed ready to work efficiently on all kinds of screens – desktop, tablet, and mobile. This means that you have no work to do to make your website mobile-friendly.
If you pick one of the old WordPress themes, you might run into a situation where the theme is not mobile-friendly. In this case, install a mobile plugin to add mobile-friendly functionality to your site. We recommend WPtouch.
Do not forget: if your website is built with WordPress, all you need to make your website mobile-friendly is to install a responsive theme or use a mobile-friendly plugin.
2021 Update: The world has since moved on to responsive web design, which allows a single web template to adapt itself to different kinds of screens, including smartphones, feature phones, and tablets. This requires no plugin whatsoever. All you have to do, if you are on WordPress, is to install one of the thousands of available responsive themes.
There is no reason that any public-facing website not load optimally and perform well on mobile phones, smartphones and tablets in today’s world. If you have any questions, ask using the comments box below, and I will do my best to answer them speedily.
Founder of MobilityArena. Yomi’s journey in mobile started in 2001. Besides obsessing over mobile phones, he also started creating WAP sites (early mobile-friendly websites created with WML). He began writing about phones in 2004 and has been at it since then. He has owned over 200 devices, from Symbian, Palm, PocketPC/Windows Mobile, BlackBerry/BB10, webOS, Windows Phone, Firefox, Ubuntu Touch, to Android, iOS, and KaiOS operating systems.