There are more smartphone users in your target audience, no matter what industry vertical you belong to, than desktop people. It’s almost a running joke: The only people still using desktops are the ones who have specialized stuff to do on it. For simply browsing for information online (and a lot more), more than half the netizens prefer smartphones and other mobile devices.
Essentially: This is the age of information readily available in digestible formats for all devices and screen sizes. This is why your website needs to be responsive.
Here are 4 tips to make your WordPress website mobile friendly, and it’s not as difficult as you think to go responsive:
1. Responsive WordPress Themes
The first, most obvious step on the way to make your WordPress website truly device agnostic is to get a responsive theme right off that bat. Doesn’t matter if it’s free or premium, tailor made by a custom WordPress development company or sold as a product to millions of WordPress users: The theme must, before everything else, be responsive.
WordPress defaults and WordPress.org Theme Repository (a kind of free theme garage) is packed with free responsive themes: Twenty Fourteen and Twenty Fifteen work just as beautifully on blogs as any premium blogging theme. Similarly, you will find responsive themes for every website niche on WordPress because developers here like to pace their steps with technological advances.
Check out Envato Market (ThemeForest.net) or other trusted theme sellers and you’ll see: Responsive themes are not a trend. They have a become second nature.
2. ‘Mobile-friendliness’ Plugins
WordPress can be made into whatever you need or want it to be with the help of plugins. Responsive is not an exception.
If you already have a fixed width (non-responsive) WordPress website up and running but don’t have a dedicated team of developers waiting at your beck and call, plugins will be your best friends. In this specific instance, you are going to need some truly awesome WordPress plugins which will: a.) Give you an alternate theme that works only on mobile devices, b.) let you create your own mobile template while the plugin itself provides only the function of detecting a mobile device and switching to mobile themes, or c.) Both.
3. Maximize Performance
For novices: Performance in this context means page loading speed. The faster your WordPress website performs, the better your cumulative user experience (and SEO output). Mobiles in general, don’t have the data transfer rate and bandwidths that come with powerful machines like desktops and laptops. This means that the already limited time constraint window (2 seconds or less) for the page to load is even more significant when your viewer is on mobile.
Make sure to test your WordPress website’s performance by using Pingdom or Google PageSpeed Insights. The latter of the two will also give you a mobile experience score and tips to fix responsiveness issues (you’ll need a developer for that).
Use a feather light theme, cut down the number of plugins you have installed on your WordPress website, optimize your multimedia – Images, videos, and more – during upload to WordPress Media Library, compress huge image sizes to a tenth or less with plugins like WP Smush or EWWW Image Optimizer plugins, use caching (W3 Total Cache does it all) and a CDN (also good for security on HTTP 2.0), and maintain your site regularly to prevent unsightly unmanageable pile up of spam and useless metadata. On a similar note, get the best web host you can find for your WordPress website and look up 3rd party video hosting and embedding if you’re going to use a lot of videos on your website content.
Get smart about performance If you lag behind, you’ll be forgotten faster than you can say your own domain name aloud.
4. Minimize Illegibility
Your WordPress website practically exists because you have a message to broadcast on the internet. If that message, and people’s ability to comprehend it, is compromised at any state, you have failed in your own purpose.
Make sure that the theme design and development supports a range of fonts that you can choose from. Now, choose only the clearest, legible fonts to publish text content on your website. This includes every bit of text: in your posts, comments, tags and descriptions, interface elements like menu tabs and links, and everything else.
The best combination of style, aesthetics, and usability results from tried and tested methods: white background with dark text is still easier on the eyes, formatting still rules, images break the monotony, and your fonts can be used to establish a brand image. If you must use overly stylized but barely legible scrawls, use them sparingly (in logos, 1-2 out of 10 links, etc.) to draw attention to those elements/ text.
Leave lots of white space and keep things clean to remove obstacles from viewers’ way.
That wasn’t so hard, was it?
These basic but often overlooked steps should help you get started on the road to responsiveness and reach out to a wider audience than ever before. Make sure to share your thoughts and tips with us in the comments below.