What Does Mobile-Friendly Mean?
If a website is mobile-friendly, it means that the site is optimized to be used on mobile devices.
The website must be able to shrink when it is being viewed through a mobile device so that it is fully functional and user friendly.
There are many different techniques that can be used to improve the usability of a website on a mobile device.
More users view websites through mobile devices than through desktop computers, so it is crucial that your site is mobile friendly.
A mobile-friendly website will have easily readable text, clickable links and buttons, and all other content must be functional.
For example, take a look at this screenshot of our website on a mobile device:
As you can see, the site responds to being on a mobile device and all of the content shrinks down so that it is accessible and functional.
Before going through the process of optimizing your website for mobile devices, you should test your site to see it it is already mobile-friendly.
Why Is It Important To Have A Mobile-Friendly Website?
First of all, it is important that your website looks good and is fully functional on all different screen sizes and devices.
If your site looks bad or in unusable on a particular device, you will lose traffic and potential customers.
Mobile usability is as a key ranking factor on Google and other search engines, so if your site is not mobile-friendly you will not rank as high as you could if it was optimized for mobile.
More internet users access websites through mobile devices than through desktop, so if your site is not mobile responsive users who access your site through mobile will probably just leave.
Here are some statistics that show how crucial it is to have a mobile-friendly website:
- Over 50% of website traffic is through mobile devices.
- 96% of people who browse the web on mobile use Google.
- Over 50% of PPC advertisement clicks come from mobile.
- More than 60% of emails are read on a mobile device.
Hopefully, some of those stats have helped you to understand the importance of having a website that is mobile friendly and accessible on all devices.
How To Improve Mobile Usability
Here are a few different methods you can use to improve the usability of your website on mobile devices:
- Install a responsive theme
- Keep menus simple
- Remove pop-ups on mobile
- Use short forms
There are also many more techniques you can use to ensure your site is mobile friendly.
How To Test Your Site To See If It’s Mobile Friendly
There are many tools that will test your site’s mobile functionality, but there is one that stands out from the others.
Google has created a tool that you can use called the Mobile-Friendly Test, which can be used to see if your web pages are mobile-friendly.
To use it, simply enter your URL into the tool, and then click “Test URL”.
The tool will now scan your webpage to see whether or not it is mobile-friendly.
Once the scan is complete, you will see a page that looks like this:
On this page, you will see the results for your web page.
As you can see, my web page has passed and therefore, it is mobile friendly.
The mobile-friendly test tool will also generate a render of your web page so that you can see what it will look like on a mobile device.
Install A Responsive Theme
If you want to quickly and easily make your website mobile-friendly, you could install a responsive theme.
A responsive theme is designed in a way that will make the webpage shrink to the size of the user’s device so that the content is readable and fully functional.
This is the perfect option for new websites, or websites with low traffic.
You do not want to disrupt any website visitors, so if you have an established website, this may not be the best option for you.
Installing a new, responsive theme, it the easiest way to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Where Can You Find Responsive WordPress Themes?
There are two places where you can look for responsive WordPress themes, one is free, and one is paid, so we will look at both.
This is a subscription service, once you have purchased a subscription, you can download anything from their library.
Every download within Envato Elements also has a commercial license included, so you can use items that you download for work or personal projects.
Browse WordPress themes, and then refine the results to only show responsive themes.
Then select the theme that you want to use for your website.
I suggest looking at a couple of different themes, previewing them, and then picking your favourite.
WordPress Theme Database
The official WordPress theme database is where you will find all of the free WordPress themes.
There are good, bad, and fantastic themes in this database, so you will need to carefully pick the best theme for your site.
Pick out the theme that you want to use, and then look at its preview to ensure it is right for your website.
WordPress Theme Installation
Once you have chosen your theme, installing your WordPress theme is simple.
Go to your WordPress dashboard, then under “appearance”, click on “themes”, and then click “add new”.
From here, you can either upload your theme or search for the theme you want within the WordPress theme database.
Once you have installed and set up your theme, open your site on all devices, and use the Mobile-Friendly Test to ensure that your website is mobile-friendly.
Use Short Forms
If you have forms on your website, this could be contact forms, order forms, etc, they should be short and easy to access on mobile devices.
No one likes filling in long forms on desktop, but on mobile, it takes even longer, and is even more difficult, because you are using a smaller device.
Take a look at these two forms on mobile websites:
Would you subscribe to an email list if you need to fill in a long, and complicated form?
Every single website visitor would prefer the shorter, more simple form, as it saves time and removes any complications.
If I am on a website on my phone, and I need to fill in a form, if there are too many unnecessary input boxes, I will just leave the site.
To improve the user experience for users who visit your site on a mobile device, ensure all forms are quick and simple to fill in.
As well as that, shorter forms will also increase engagement and conversion rate within your website.
For example, if you have an email signup form, you just need to ask users for their name and email address, nothing more!
If users try to make a purchase on your site via a mobile device and then come across a complicated checkout form, they will probably end up leaving your site without making a purchase.
Put yourself in the mind of the visitor, and think about what would make you leave the website.
So to recap, ensure all forms are short, simple, and easy to fill in when accessed from a mobile device.
Add A Search Function
Every page on your website needs to be super easy to access via a mobile device, so adding a search box will massively improve the user experience.
If your website has many pages, products, or posts, you can’t expect users to find them through navigating your site on a mobile device.
Imagine you are visiting a website, and you can’t find a specific page that you are looking for.
You are likely to just leave, as there is no other reason for you to visit the site.
However, if the website has a search bar, you can search for the page you are looking for, and find it instantly.
Adding a search bar is even more crucial if you have an eCommerce website, as it will help visitors to find your products.
If you have hundreds, or thousands of products on your site, but no search bar, how do you expect to receive any sales from mobile users?
Let’s take a look at the home screen of the eBay website on mobile:
The search bar is easily accessible and helps visitors to find the exact product they are looking for.
eBay has over 25 million sellers and over 1 billion live listings.
Imagine how difficult it would be to find a product without the search feature available.
You will definitely not have as many products or pages as a site like eBay, so if they can add a functional search bar, you can too.
I highly suggest implementing a search bar to make it simple for mobile users to navigate your site and find the page or product that they are looking for.
How Can You Add A Search Bar To Your Website?
If you have a HTML website, you should hire a web developer to build a search function into your website.
If your website runs on a content management system like WordPress, or Shopify, you can install a plugin that will add a search bar to your website.
A good plugin for WordPress is the Ivory Search Plugin, this plugin has both free and paid options.
Once you have added a search bar to your website, open it and test it on both mobile and desktop devices to ensure it looks good and is fully functional.
Having a mobile-friendly website is crucial, so ensure that you optimize your website to work on all devices.
If a user can’t access your content or click buttons on your website through a mobile device, they will just leave.
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