Are you launching a new WordPress website, or are you revising the one you have now? If you want to succeed and generate traffic, leads, and profit, you’ll need to optimize WordPress for mobile users.
Yes, mobile users should be on your list of priorities.
Keep in mind that by 2025, about 72% will rely solely on smartphones to access the Internet. The days of going back to a desktop computer or laptop are over. Mobile users are now your primary demographic.
The question now is how to optimize a WordPress site for mobile crowds. Fortunately, we’ve got several steps for you to consider right here. Check out our guide here to learn how to optimize your WordPress site for mobile:
Keep It Responsive
The first — and perhaps the most basic — step is to go to your WordPress dashboard and enable the toggle for a responsive design. Most plugins and themes will have this feature already imbued, so you don’t need any coding knowledge to get it done.
Enabling this toggle ensures your site adjusts according to the screen it’s viewed on. You can now preview how your site appears when someone views it on a tablet, a smartphone, or a widescreen desktop PC monitor.
Always run visual tests whenever you make adjustments to the site and see if this setting broke your site’s design.
However, don’t rely solely on this feature. Yes, it’ll automatically make your site responsive, but there are still things you manually have to optimize in a WordPress site for mobile use.
Design for Touch Controls
Making your site responsive is only the beginning. There is only so much an automatic toggle can do. The rest is still up to you to work on.
One thing to check when designing WordPress for mobile is to cater to touch controls. Some websites feature horrible interfaces where the text is all too small for mobile readers. They don’t space out the lines either or leave negative space around menu buttons, making it difficult to tap on links or buttons.
Since mobile users rely on tapping, you’ll have to make sure the menu and other constant elements of your site are easy to access with as few taps as possible. It shouldn’t take more than three taps to get from one page to another.
While not required, you may want to design your site so it responds to touch screen gestures. Allow people to take a screenshot of your site using the gestures that come with their phones.
Create Content With Mobile In Mind
Content is king — that’s a saying you’ll hear a lot, and it still rings true to this day. However, when optimizing your site for mobile users, make sure your content doesn’t look like intimidating walls of text. Sentences spread out on a PC monitor but can scrunch up and look like a big block when viewed on a smartphone.
Focus on writing paragraphs containing no more than four sentences (if possible) to ensure they look neat and readable on a tiny screen. Unless your demographic prefers long blog posts, try to keep things under 2,000 words or feature a video that uses the original blog post as a general script.
It’s also essential to optimize your images for the mobile crowd. You’ll want to maintain the quality of the images, but at the same time, you need to reduce the file size as much as possible. The goal is to make your pages load faster — more on this below — without ruining the quality of the images you use.
You can use plugins to compress the images and decrease their file size without affecting the quality. WPSmush, reSmush.it, and EWWW Image Optimizer are some of the most popular options.
You have to be careful with the image type as well. Some load faster than others, but the quality of the image displayed could waver. Try to refrain from heavy image types like TIFF; rely instead on file types such as PNG. Transparency in the image can also affect its appearance.
Choose Your Colors
Avoid using too many colors on your site. Don’t go entirely monochromatic either. Even websites that rely a lot on black and white still have splashes of color somewhere. They might feature colors on a banner, pop-up ad, or blog section.
Of course, you shouldn’t simply pick colors because you like them. Instead of picking colors with no rhyme or reason, take a moment to study different trending color schemes. These trends not only look pleasing to the eye, especially on a smartphone, but they also work on making your site easier and more pleasing to navigate.
That said, don’t limit yourself to a single color scheme. You may have to deal with colorblind visitors. Make sure you have features on your homepage that caters to their needs too.
Speed Up Your Pages
Did you know most people will abandon your site if a page doesn’t load in 3 seconds? Without fixing this, your bounce rate will continue to increase. Plus, it reduces the authority of your page, and you’ll quickly start to rank lower on Google’s Search Page Results.
Put plainly, speeding up your pages is a top priority!
You can make your site faster by updating or changing your hosting service, running audits to eliminate elements slowing your site down, and optimizing the remaining parts. For example, you can start optimizing the images and removing any content that relies on Flash animation.
You’ll also need to check your code and remove any instances of redundancies. Remove broken lines and other lines of coding that keep your site from loading quickly.
Careful With Font
One thing an automatic toggle won’t fix is the choice of font you use. Some font choices might look fine on a PC, but they’ll look bunched together when viewed on a smartphone. This could make them challenging to read, and people will leave your site if the issue impedes their ability to avail of your services or product.
Depending on your font size, you’ll have to pick between Serif and Sans Serif fonts. Remember that their readability can rely on the uniformity and spacing of the characters.
Your choice of font can also affect how you’ll space out images, links, and ads. They can also affect how chunky paragraphs in your blog posts might look.
Your choice of website hosting will play a significant role, even if the magic occurs behind the scenes. The hosting service you pick can determine how fast or how slow your site loads. It might reduce or enable the number of elements eating up the available bandwidth, for example.
That said, the best hosting services are often quite expensive. Never choose free hosting, especially shared hosting, because you’ll only slow your site down. Shared hosting could also lead to more frequent cyber attacks to low-quality security.
Hire Professional Designers
The ultimate solution to optimizing or designing a WordPress website for mobile is to hire professional designers. They know the current design trends. They know what works and what doesn’t.
More importantly, they have the training and tools to make your site as efficient and visually pleasing as needed. Professionals do it for a living, after all, and get updated training to stay on top of their game.
Always Audit Your Site
Get a few tools to run a few analytics tests. Audit your site and take a good hard look at the numbers.
Did you gain more visitors? Did people stick around, perform a positive action, or did they bounce out without even subscribing or putting an item in the cart? Make it a point to check if people spent too much time on the homepage or other sections of the site and determine why they did so.
As mentioned, always run a visual test too.
Get different mobile devices and explore your site. Test the visibility of essential elements and whether or not it’s easy to navigate your site with only one hand. Don’t forget to run simultaneous tests on a tablet and traditional desktop PC too!
Optimize Your WordPress for Mobile Now
Optimizing WordPress for mobile isn’t as difficult as some would imagine. Simply follow these tips to get started. Test your site, make content that caters to the mobile crowd, and always work on your site’s UX.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do all this on your own. Our friends at Codeable will connect you with the right WordPress designer or developer to get your site online. Pressable subscribers get $60 off their first professional consultation (a $69 value) – that’s just $9 to scope your project with a certified WordPress expert!
Zach has 12+ years of experience with WordPress, from creating and maintaining client sites, to providing support and developing documentation. A knack for problem-solving and providing solutions led Zach to pursue a job with Automattic providing customer support in 2015 working with WooCommerce support, and now Zach has recently joined our team here at Pressable. Outside of work, Zach enjoys spending time with his family, playing and watching sports, and working on projects around the house.