The world is going mobile. And quickly. In 2014, for the first time ever, mobile devices were used to access the Internet more often than PCs. It was a landmark occurrence. A game changer.
And yet many businesses continue to pay little attention to the mobile-friendliness of their websites. But Google is paying very close attention.
In fact, if your business website isn’t mobile-friendly, you can expect Google to be giving you the cold shoulder in search engine rankings. As recently reported in the Wall Street Journal, Google has begun favoring mobile-friendly sites, and penalizing sites that are less mobile-friendly.
So if your business WordPress site isn’t mobile-friendly, making it so should probably be bumped up in priority on your to-do list. Tech.co recently published a 6-step process for making your site mobile-friendly.
Step 1: Choose Your Hosting Service Carefully
Any mobile-friendly changes you make to your site could be for naught if your hosting company provides slow and unreliable service. Pennies saved in choosing the cheapest hosting services available may turn out to be quite expensive in the long run.
Step 2: Choose a Mobile-Friendly WordPress Theme
The WordPress theme you choose serves as both the foundation and framework of your website. What type of theme is mobile-friendly? A fast theme. Loading speed is a key factor in making a site mobile-friendly, so a fast-loading, responsive theme is ideal.
Look for themes that have been tagged as having a “responsive layout.”
Step 3: Customize Your Content
Structuring your content to be mobile-friendly is critical. What defines “mobile-friendliness” when it comes to content? In general, your content should be easy to view on small screens, and should be “finger-friendly” – easy to navigate by touch.
Here are a few specific tips for making content mobile-friendly:
- Larger font sizes are better than smaller
- Buttons should be large in size, and isolated enough to easily tap with a fingertip without inadvertently hitting something else
- Lots of whitespace
- Short headlines
- Make content scannable: break text into lots of subsections with subtitles
- Position the most important info on a web page close to the top
Step 4: Manage Plugins
One of the great advantages WordPress offers is the wealth of plugins that are available. But plugins are so easy to add that website owners often end up with quite a collection. The result is that sites are often burdened with a number of plugins that aren’t really needed or useful.
A proliferation of plugins can contribute to performance issues that can make your site less mobile-friendly. So stay on top of the plugins you’ve added to your site. Prune away those that aren’t really contributing to your site. And make certain that the plugins you use are kept up-to-date with the latest versions.
Step 5: Optimize Images
Images are an important component of your website’s content. But they can significantly slow the load time of your site, making it less mobile-friendly. You can help to counteract that problem by using plugins that work to optimize the loading of images.
Some plugins worth considering for this purpose include:
- Image Pro
- CW Image Optimizer
- EWWW Image Optimizer
- PB Responsive Images
Step 6: Test
Once you’ve optimized your site to be mobile-friendly, test it. See how it performs on your own mobile devices. Does it load fast? Is it easy to navigate via touch screen? Does the text fit the screen?
The greater the variety of mobile devices you can use in testing your site, the better. Ask friends and family to also check out your site on their devices. And be sure to find out whether your site rates a mobile-friendly thumbs-up from Google. You can easily use Google’s testing tool to evaluate your site for free.
Worth the Effort
It can be a bit of a chore to make certain that your site is mobile-friendly. But it’s worth the effort. Doing so will help to assure that your site ranks as highly as possible in search engine results. And making your site comfortable and easy-to-use for mobile visitors will help to keep them on your site longer.
But most importantly, making your site mobile-friendly will make your site accessible to a huge audience. By 2017, nearly 70% of the world’s population is expected to be able to access the Internet via smartphones.
That’s a pretty sizable potential audience for your business. Or not – depending upon the mobile-friendliness of your site.
Chris Delker is a freelance copywriter based in Dallas, Texas.