Mobile phones are a huge part of our everyday lives. We can't imagine our lives without them but so many of us still create websites that are not mobile friendly. In this article you will learn how to make sure your website is mobile friendly and where to start optimizing it for mobile users.
Why is mobile optimisation so important?
With the majority Google searches being done from mobile devices (58% mobile and 42% desktop - close to 6 out of 10 people uses mobile devices to search for information) it is easy to realise how important it is for our websites to be well-prepared for mobile visitors.
With Google prioritising Mobile Optimisation more and more in their algorithm, being prepared for mobile visitors is becoming even more crucial for websites' owners. Why is that? Putting it shortly, your website might soon go down in Google searches, if you don't make sure it's well-optimised for mobile users.
The reasons above should be enough to make you realise that it's time to change a thing or two on your website to make your visitors happy and your Google ranks go up! Here are a few tips on how to make sure your website is ready for mobile:
The very core of any mobile-optimised website must be a responsive design. You could of course still use other solutions, like e.g. using two different URLs linking to the same page - one of them being the mobile version and one the desktop one, but it's an old solution and it's proved to bring many SEO issues.
With responsive design, your website will change its content and layout accordingly to the device it's seen on.
It's the most advanced solution in the way that it's highly user-friendly, it doesn't require any double-links and is also causing the least SEO problems.
A very important factor that makes your website more mobile-friendly is the speed in which your pages load. If it takes them too long to load all the content, Google will down-grade your page, because who likes to wait for some content to open? Especially when they sit on the bus to work and need fast entertainment - they will not choose something that will take half a minute to load.
It is recommended by Google for the site load speed to be under a second! Yeap - it sounds tough and it can be pretty hard to implement! Here are a few tips on what tools to use to make the process a little easier.
Try using some website performance-checking tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights, Google Chrome DevTools (Google Lighthouse), Pingdom etc.
Run another test at the end to see what difference your actions made.
What to look at when designing for mobile users?
Mobile phone have much more limited screen space compared to desktops. Have that in mind when designing your website. Here are a few things you should keep in mind:
1. Keep your text easily readable by making the font bigger. Nobody likes pinching their way through a long article!
2. Don't use Flash, as not all the mobile users will be able to see your content in that format. Instead create fun content in HTML5.
3. Make sure your header photos are not too large. Large images force users too scroll through the screen more in order to even get to the part they often came for in the first place - the written information.
4. Keep your pages' design clean by leaving a lot of negative space between each of your paragraphs. It makes the pages easier to read and the reader won't feel too overwhelmed by the amount of text you want them to read. This "lighter" look is extremely important when looking at the page on a mobile phone. Without any white spaces the page looks very unwelcoming and many readers will give up and leave after a few seconds.
5. Use your page space wisely - keep your text and titles to the point and try not to make them too long - the longer they get the more precious space they take on the small mobile screens.
6. Make sure the sizes of your buttons are the right size for mobile users. They shouldn't be too small, as it will often be hard for users to click on the button they intend to. They should also not be too big, as then it's very easy to just accidentally hit the button and e.g. be transferred to another page - this can put off some users and make them not want to continue reading your page.
7. Don't be afraid to use headings or make important parts of the page bold - it's more noticeable on a smaller screen. It also gives a nicer, more reader-friendly look, as you can find the part you're interested in much faster.
8. Be careful with adding pop-ups to your pages. They are usually quite easy to close when they open during a computer search, but can be a nightmare when searching from a mobile device. Many users might not have the patience to close the pop-up and instead will just exit your website.
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