Your website cannot reach its full potential if you don’t create a special version for mobile users. If your visitors are not able to access a functional format of your site via smartphone, you can expect them to leave with the speed of light.
It’s easy for experienced web developers, isn’t it? They can easily create an awesome mobile version of any website. Don’t get discouraged if you’re not a professional developer; you can still optimize your blog or site for mobile through simple techniques that never fail in practice.
Make Your Site Available for Mobile Users
This is the least you can do. If you can’t invest in a completely redesigned version for the visitors that access your site through different devices, you can opt for a simpler strategy that will do the trick. After all, mobile devices are not fundamentally differing from desktops when it comes to browsing the net, so you can easily develop a single responsive design that will be usable with any device.
Consider several approaches before you come to the final decision. These are the options you have:
Edit the existing site to make it responsive
Responsive design is the most affordable solution you have. This strategy uses Cascading Style Sheets technology that enables a single version of a website to adapt itself in accordance with the screen resolution of the device it’s accessed through. This is how NASA’s website looks on desktop and mobile:
Check out the Responsive Layouts Course available at TeamTreeHouse.com – it elaborates the principles of responsive design, making them simple enough for everyone to understand.
Consider adaptive design
Responsive design focuses on the browser, whereas adaptive design revolves around the user of the website. This style uses static layouts. It detects the size of the screen and loads the suitable layout. Adaptive design is a slightly more expensive option, used by corporations like American Airlines. The biggest advantage of this approach is that it enhances the functionality based on the information it detects on the particular user.
Bonus Tips for Effective Mobile Design
You don’t want to create a new website for mobile users? You don’t have to; you can make the needed adjustments on your current site. Start with simplifying it. To see what changes you need to make, check your website through Connected – an online tool that shows how your website looks on a mobile. At MattKersley.com, you’ll find another great online tool that shows how your site looks on devices with different sizes.
Adjust the size of the font and buttons
If you want your current website to appear better on mobile, start by enlarging the font sizes, placing the most important information above the fold, and adding big buttons that enable easy navigation. Use at least 14px for font size. Yes, that will seem big at first, but it will prevent your mobile users from zooming in to read the text. The buttons should also be large, so go for at least 44px by 44px. If a button is too small, the user will find it hard to click on it.
Keep the content short
You worked for days on the website content, so you feel guilty about shortening it? Maybe you paid a professional writer to craft it and you really like the way it looks on the desktop version. It doesn’t matter; you have to make some edits. Find a way to tell the same things with fewer words.
The last thing a smartphone user wants to see is a screen full of never-ending text. He wants to scroll through the page quickly and stop if a certain element attracts his attention. You can’t grab attention with text.
Provide effective navigation
Whether you’re adapting your current website for mobile users or you’re creating a whole new version for them, there is one aspect you should always pay attention to: navigation. A complicated menu with several options won’t be successful, so try to combine few pages together to make the navigation easier.
Remember the ‘rule of one finger’: your site must be navigable with the thumb or index fingers. Most users don’t want to pinch, zoom in to see the elements they are interested in.
Make the site fast!
Loading time is a crucial element that determines the success of the mobile version of your site. If your desktop site is heavy on media files and you don’t want to build a new version for mobile, then that’s the point to start on: get rid of the heavy content and replace it with images and videos that are optimized for mobile. This brings us to the next tip:
Add the right dose of images and videos
Visual content is a must! Choose high-resolution images, since the latest models of smartphones and tablets have high-definition screens that emphasize every flaw. You don’t want your website to be blurry on a Retina screen.
YouTube videos are also a nice addition to a mobile website, since the embed code on YouTube is responsive by itself. If you discover a relevant video that proves your point, then go ahead and use it. If not, you can create your own YouTube video and feature it on your site.
Consider premium responsive WordPress themes
WordPress themes are more effective than you assume. The easiest way to make a simple website functional across several devices is to pick a premium responsive theme that works well for you. Let’s answer the question you surely have on your mind: “do I really need to go premium?” That’s not an obligation, but if you own a serious website, you’ll want a theme of superior quality and appeal. Premium WordPress themes are great for achieving functionality and results without much effort.
Here are some suggestions you can consider:
- Suave – Multi–Purpose WooCommerce Theme – a great design that enables you make flexible adjustments to achieve the look you want. You can choose from different types of headers, removable sidebars, and filters. A regular license costs $59.
- Papillon – Creative WordPress Blog Theme – a Retina-ready theme that loads really quickly and provides a sharp, clean look for the mobile user. It costs $44.
- Alaska – SEO WHMCS Hosting, Shop, Business Theme – a great choice for creating a fully-responsive business website that’s heavy on the content. The Drag and Drop Builder makes things easy for the developer. It costs $59.
Test How Your Website Works on Mobile!
Are you sure your website can be properly accessed and viewed on all devices, operating systems and browsers? Test! Usability testing should become a routine whenever you add a new feature or element at your website. Testing doesn’t mean you should only view your site from your phone, tablet and laptop. This is a diligent strategy that requires you to check every single page, button, and feature. It’s important to think what the user would do at your website and how he would interact with it. The best solution is to ask someone to test the site for you.
It’s not easy to create a fully-functional mobile version of a website. However, it’s not impossible either. The important thing to keep in mind is that all your efforts will be with a great purpose: to attract a greater number of visitors who use mobile devices.