In the past decade, there has been a radical shift in how the world does business online. Technology enthusiasts call it the smartphone revolution.
Before the arrival of the smartphone into the market more than ten years ago, most online transactions and activity took place on computers. But the tide has changed.
As we speak, more than 3 billion people the world over do their stuff on smartphones, while slightly more than a billion own computers.
A mobile device is a trusted companion for many people due to its versatility and cost. You can do almost everything a computer does on a smartphone or tablet.
You can make orders for your favorite dish, call a cab, post on your social media account or blog, and make business calls – all on your mobile device.
Smartphone usage keeps growing year-on-year and if your website is not optimized for mobile, your business is certainly ill-prepared for the long haul.
You will miss out on two fronts: your organic rankings on search engines like Google will be low and your bounce rate will increase (folks will begin to stay away from your website). Reason? They did not have fun browsing your site on their mobile devices.
What is Responsive web design (design for mobile devices)?
Let’s first explain what web design for mobile (responsive web design) is all about.
Responsive web design is making a website with a consideration that screen sizes vary from device to device, and the need to present information in a way that is easily readable and accessible by all users regardless of device screen size or browser.
The objective of design for mobile is to make everyone happy by making smartphone users happy first.
Responsive web design keeps the user in mind at every stage of the design process.
Developers are key contributors to the mobile-first approach in web design and development when it comes to the technicalities of coding.
It is counter-productive to ignore the input of experienced coders and software engineers in your web design/redesign for mobile projects.
Perhaps you are not the template kind of guy – you want your website built from the ground up. It is commendable that you want something both unique and neat.
A word of caution though: avoid the assumption that if it works well on a PC or Mac, it will work exactly that well on a mobile device. Your web design agency must have clear instructions to ensure it is mobile-friendly as well.
On top of designing or redesigning your website for mobile, you have to factor in people with special needs. Adjust content contrast for the colorblind and incorporate screen readers for people with visual impairments.
Without taking any more of your precious time, we will highlight the five key areas that you will need to work on to make your website beautiful and mobile-friendly.
1. Choose your templates or themes carefully
You have decided that you want your website made from a Joomla template or a WordPress theme. Go ahead and do the due diligence of picking a theme that best suits your brand taste and goals.
The initial consideration is, of course, a beautifully designed theme. A beautifully designed website will naturally draw admiration and trust among your users.
Secondly, and one of the key considerations is a theme that is designed for website responsiveness. You can always find this on the theme’s features.
Most developers expressly state if a theme is responsive on their websites. Be sure to ascertain the mobile-friendliness of a theme before installing it into your website.
If you want to be 100% sure, you can physically check on your backend, depending on which CMS you are using, how your website will be seen by users on different devices.
WordPress provides a preview of the appearance of your site on a smartphone, a tablet, and a computer.
2. Work on your website’s loading speed
You now know that smartphones are the bosses of online experience.
If your website is loading at snail speeds, especially on mobile devices, you will be doing a great disservice to your business goals.
The world is currently mobile-first and priority must be given to mobile users regardless of industry or cause type. All of us must learn and work hard to catch up, your enterprise included.
A fast-loading website is a joy to visit. You easily get referrals and your sales figures automatically rise. Customers will find it exciting to complete their journeys (low bounce rates) and you will rank highly on Google search result pages.
How do you know if your website is slow or fast? By doing a test on Google’s Mobile Speed Test Tool.
You don’t need to look further for the ‘how’ of optimizing your mobile site. There are several ways you can improve your site’s loading speed on both mobile and desktop.
Here is a list of a few tweaks you can make to your website to give it that desired loading speed boost:
- Caching – no need to freshly load your site’s files each time a user tries to access your pages. There are plugins available for this.
- Content Delivery Networks – diversification of server storage for your website files for faster loading times and reduced bandwidth consumption.
- Image compression – large images contribute to slow loading speeds. You can access both premium and free tools for image compression to preserve quality and save on space.
- Code Optimization – this is for developers.
- Update your website at all times – keep your templates and extensions updated for improved speed and security.
3. Install the AMP plugin
Accelerate Mobile Pages (AMP) is a method of making your website as mobile-first as possible by optimizing your website’s pages, layout, and files. This is a project that was started by Google to give mobile device users an easy-breezy online experience.
If you are working with WordPress, your work has been lightened already. You will be presented with a myriad of ways you can work around your site to make it mobile-friendly, fast, and more beautiful.
AMP for WordPress is a light plugin that will not eat into your space and will give you additional functionality to make your WordPress site more user-friendly and get you on the mobile-first league.
4. Address the Pop-ups challenge
Pop-ups are a good accessory on your website. They give your visitors important information or guidance on to relate with you and make their experience on your site more wholesome. Pop-ups are also designed for lead generation and ultimate conversions.
Despite the advantages, pop-ups sometimes can block a user’s view of other sections of your website on mobile devices.
Here is bad news: Google has stiff penalties for websites that block user’s views on mobile devices and hurt UX. But there is good news: You can avoid these penalties by going by Google’s guidelines on pop-ups and user experience.
Redesign your pop-ups for optimal user experience, and you will not have to worry about any penalties.
5. Do you have an app?
Mobile apps are no longer a preserve of a few established companies. You can easily have an app besides your beautifully designed responsive website.
Apps offer additional benefits to your business and branding goals that your conventional website does not provide.
For instance, working with subscriptions becomes easier, and push notifications capability provides you with an opportunity to pass important information or news to your users.
I know you may want to employ the services of a developer to code your app from scratch, which is perfect, but you don’t have to. AppPresser is a WordPress tool you can use to conveniently convert your website into an app.
Do not leave mobile-first web design for later
We have discovered that we live in a world where mobile devices control the web. You do not want to remain behind in this mobile revolution.
Take quick intentional steps from today to redesign and optimize your website for mobile users and stay among the front-liners in the mobile-first revolutionaries bandwagon.
Could you be thinking about something we can do together? Or perhaps questions on how to navigate the website optimization for responsiveness waters? Get in touch with us or leave your comments in the comments box.