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For some time, people who owned and ran WordPress websites thought of being mobile-friendly as more than an option than a necessity.
That changed a couple of years ago when the mobile user population surpassed the number of desktop users. With the gap widening with each passing year, it would seem foolhardy for webmasters to stick with non-mobile friendliness.
When mobile users come across a website that isn’t convenient to explore, they will bounce off to another without a second thought, and you will miss out on the conversions that are the main goal of the website in the first place.
If you really care about your business, then you need to do everything you can to make your WordPress website friendlier to smartphone and tablet users as soon as possible. Here are some tips to help make your WordPress web design mobile-friendly.
Use a responsive theme
If your website has been around for years, the theme you’re using won’t likely be the responsive kind, unlike the newer WP themes available today.
However, before you purchase an entirely new theme, you might want to check if there are pending updates to your current WordPress version and theme. For all you know, those updates might bring mobile-friendly elements with them and help your site become friendlier to mobile users.
If you have to purchase a new, responsive theme, then you should make sure it displays well across all screen sizes by testing out the demo site. It would also be great if you checked reviews about the theme you’re eyeing from other webmasters who have purchased it.
Optimize for touch screens
Getting your site to display well on mobile devices is one thing. Making it easily navigable on touch screens is another.
By adding, among other things, touchscreen navigation to your site, you are optimizing it for practically all mobile devices, and that will provide mobile users a much better experience. That should make them stay longer on your site, and will help you achieve your SEO and conversion goals.
Speed up your website
One thing you should realize about mobile users is that they are almost always on the go, and therefore have no time to wait for a page to load. If a site they’re trying to access on their smartphone takes a second too long to load, then you can say goodbye to any lead or sale you might have had if you had a faster website.
To keep mobile users on your pages, you should do whatever you can to speed up your website and enhance user experience. Minifying your site’s HTML and CSS codes will help speed things up. So will compressing your high-resolution images, which can be particularly heavy and will slow the site down. By optimizing image size, you will also be doing your visitors a favor because your compressed images won’t be consuming too much of their mobile data anymore.
Go for simple designs
A beautifully designed website with intricate artistic details is great. However, for mobile users who want speed, a site with elaborate web design won’t do much except slow things down. What mobile users demand is near-instantaneous delivery of the information they want, and the heavy coding behind gorgeous web design isn’t likely to serve that purpose well.
Keep your web design simple, and you will also be able to keep mobile users with notoriously short attention spans engaged in your pages for far longer.
Stick to standard fonts
Custom fonts look great, but more often than not, mobile users would rather go for standard fonts than creative ones that slow the site down. Mobile users prefer standard fonts because they help a page load faster and are so much easier to read.
Also, remember that even some standard fonts can be a challenge to read at different sizes, so check the readability of your font before finalizing it.
With the advent of the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project, your WP website will be able to provide nothing but fast and smooth browsing experience for mobile users. Run by Google, AMP helps you create mobile pages using ultra-minimalistic HTML, leading to fast loading times on any mobile device.
It’s also worthwhile to note that Google now ranks websites powered by AMP higher in mobile search results.
The above tips are no means exhaustive, but they give you a good place to start if you’re finally taking a stab at the ever-growing mobile market. And with WordPress doing its best to not fall behind in terms of mobile usability by offering more and more responsive themes, your WP website’s road to becoming more user-friendly has become clearer than ever before.