4 Handy Tips to Make Mobile Friendly WordPress
Being responsive is the only way forward in the age of information and Internet of Things. Is your website ready for the future?
We’re in the middle of 2016 and by now, well over half of your prospective audience/ target market are browsing the internet with mobile devices. If your WordPress website can’t deliver a responsive, mobile-friendly experience to those visitors, you can say goodbye to a huge chunk of your traffic, potential leads, subsequent business, and even SERP ranks for mobile users.
Basically you have a lot to lose without a mobile friendly WordPress website. Fortunately, the core is pretty user as well as mobile friendly. But the front end (the side your visitors will interact with) is a different matter. Here are 4 tips to make your WordPress site mobile-friendly:
1. Mobile-Friendly Theme
A lot of your front end features and interactivity is taken care of by your WordPress theme. Fortunately, almost every good theme currently on the market can be counted upon to be responsive and mobile-friendly.
You can test this by going to the live preview/ demo section of the WordPress theme (regardless of free or premium) and resize the browser window. If the content and design shifts fluidly to fit the resized windows without the need for excessive scrolling in all directions, your theme is responsive.
You can also run your theme through WordPress-specific tools like Theme-check.org or use Theme Authenticity Checker to whet your themes on the grounds of security, performance, and responsiveness.
Also make sure that your theme is lightweight / performance optimized so as not to overwhelm data transfer limits and bandwidths of smaller mobile devices.
The theme itself is a start, not the be all and end all of it. Your content makes your website worth anything, and you have to pay it due consideration especially for mobile users.
High-res images and huge, clunky videos will eat up requests and pump up your page size like a beast, so either avoid those entirely or barring that, optimize them (see #3 below).
Your WordPress front end should have easily tappable interface elements – menu, back-forward and pagination buttons, lightboxes, form fields, etc. with lots of white space to keep everything neatly separated and unambiguous.
Make sure your theme pays due attention to legibility and readability. Light backgrounds with dark text are optimum, but feel free to experiment if you need to. Fonts matter too. Any good front end developer / designer or WordPress development company will take care to design your theme with UX (User Experience) in mind, and readability is one of the first hurdles to cross.
3. Images and Media
Compression (file size reduction without affecting viewing quality) is always great for speed, but absolutely mandatory to optimize your site for mobiles. Use plugins like EWWW Image Optimizer to compress your images during uploads on WordPress media library. Similarly, reformatting images and videos works. You can also look into external video hosting (Vimeo, Youtube, etc.) to reduce server load and improve performance.
WordPress Image Editor (core features in 4.5 and further) will also help you strip useless ‘file info’ from image files and achieve as much as ½ of original image file size. ImageMagick (available with WordPress core) also has some awesome tools for reformatting and image editing.
2 seconds or less – that’s your page load time goal for all pages on your WordPress website.
To get cracking, first find out exactly how deep in it you actually are with website performance testing tools like Google PageSpeed Insights or Pingdom. The tests will report all things that are currently slowing your pages down. Pay special attention to pagespeed scored for your home page (first thing most visitors will see).
Use plugins like W3C Total Cache coupled with a good CDN (KeyCDN is my recommendation, simply for their brilliant DDoS protection feature on HTTP/2) to optimize performance and make your site load fast across all devices.
Performance, User Experience, and Responsiveness – these three are essential (interrelated too!) ingredients of a great, mobile friendly WordPress website.
Tracey Jones is an expert WordPress developer having long years of experience in working with various web development technologies. Currently, she is working for a leading custom WordPress development company – HireWPGeeks Ltd.. She is always trying to share her intangible knowledge with others on the web.