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How to make WordPress sites mobile friendly

How to make WordPress sites mobile friendly

Better engagement and ranking Cell phone searches make up more than half of all searches on Google, and for many advertisers, most of the traffic

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Better engagement and ranking

Cell phone searches make up more than half of all searches on Google, and for many advertisers, most of the traffic comes from people on their cell phones. This means that in order to make sure that the WordPress sites you design are accessible to more people, you need to make sure that those sites are mobile friendly.

In addition to helping you understand exactly what makes a website mobile friendly, we will also guide you through the essential steps you need to take to make sure your WordPress sites are mobile friendly.

Why should a website be mobile friendly?

Because more people than ever are searching for and accessing content on their mobile devices, the sites you design should work well on those devices and provide information in a readable way.

Do you need more convincing? Google primarily uses the mobile version of content for indexing and ranking.

This means mobile-friendly sites appear higher in search results.

Making your WordPress sites mobile-friendly means that the content should be responsive and display well on any handheld device. Text should switch automatically to be large enough to read, images and graphics should be clear, navigation should be easy and buttons should be touch friendly.

This is not enough to ensure that your site is easy to read and navigate on mobile devices. It also needs to load fast. Mobile devices have smaller processors and can often have less reliable connections than desktops, which slows down charging times.

However, mobile users just will not wait – they expect fast and easy access to your site. In addition, Google uses site speed as a ranking factor.

Manage multiple WordPress sites in one place with The Hub by GoDaddy Pro

To ensure that your sites are up to date (literally), web developers can manage multiple WordPress sites and optimize them for mobile, all from one place: The Hub by GoDaddy Pro. You can access all your client accounts with a single login and check it for mobile performance. As an added benefit, you will receive priority support, 24/7, from experienced Care Guides.

How to make WordPress websites mobile friendly in 6 steps

Ready to make your WordPress sites mobile-friendly and attractive to visitors of smartphones and handsets? Here’s what you need to do to optimize your WordPress mobile sites.

1. Test your client’s WordPress site

You do not know what you do not know.

The WordPress site you design may look good on your smartphone, but that does not mean it looks just as good on another device. To be sure that the website you are designing offers style, functionality and a quality user experience, you need to test what it looks like on multiple devices.

Designers need to anticipate what it will look like on different computers, smartphones and tablets – as well as what it will look like across different browsers and operating systems. Google’s free mobile testing tool makes it easy and free to check your WordPress sites for mobile friendliness.

Simply enter your site’s URL. Google measures the accessibility, readability and navigation of the website on mobile devices. You will receive a green “pass” message or a red “fail” message along with suggestions for improvement.

It is also a good idea to check the engagement rate. In 2021, “engagement rate” replaced “bounce rate” – the percentage of visitors who leave without communicating with your page – as a critical measure within Google Analytics.

Although, from a semantic point of view, engagement rate is the opposite of bounce rate, sentiment is the same.

Engagement rate measures a user’s interaction with a website, taking into account that the engagement lasts for more than 10 seconds, the user looks at more than one page and takes at least one conversion-oriented action.

If mobile users have difficulty accessing or interacting with a website, your engagement rate will be lower. This is a sign you need to optimize your WordPress site for mobile.

Check your Google Analytics data to see the engagement rate. Go to Insight> Reports in your WordPress control screen. You will also be able to see how many users are visiting your WordPress sites from a mobile device and which devices they are using.

2. Use the same content on the mobile and computer website

Make sure you have the same version of content for both computers and mobile devices. If your mobile site has less content than your computer site, Google’s mobile first indexing will cause your site to lose traffic. So make sure your mobile and computer sites have the same structured data, metadata and descriptive titles.

But what if your computer website has a lot of content – yet it’s a nightmare to fit it within the narrow confines of a mobile screen?

Do not delete content. Rather get creative by using accordions, drop-down lists or tabs.

3. Implement a responsive theme

Responsive WordPress themes ensure that your WordPress content and images are automatically customized to fit the device and screen size used. Without responsive design, your sites will not adapt to mobile devices and will provide a poor user experience.

Always check to make sure you are using the latest version of any WordPress theme to make sure your website design responds to mobile users. You can also quickly optimize your website by using WordPress software plugins.

That said, most WordPress themes respond. However, it is always best to test to make sure the responsive capabilities work on your sites. It’s easy to do:

  • Open the landing page of the website you want to test.
  • Open a new tab for Google Chrome.
  • Hover over the right-click landing page of the site you want to test.
  • Click Inspect Element in the drop-down list. Chrome Dev Tools window will open.
  • On the Dev Tools window, find and click the Switch Device toolbar.
  • The device mode screen emulator will open.
  • From the screen emulator, you can test responsive and device-specific viewpoints of the website.

4. Choose cellphone-friendly plug-ins

Plugins can help optimize WordPress websites for mobile devices. They also provide easily added functionality to your sites such as shapes, shopping cart, buttons and more. Make sure these plugins are cell phone friendly. When creating new websites, use the most up-to-date versions of plugins to ensure mobile-friendly functionality.

The good news is that most new themes or currently updated themes are made with response in mind. However, adding responsive functionality to older, non-responsive themes may limit the level of customization available.

In these cases, you may want to switch to a WordPress theme that responds inherently instead of using plugins to correct the situation.

5. Avoid full screen popups

As users, we began to hate the intruders’ intrusiveness and how difficult it can be to leave it. Google agrees. It penalizes intrusive mobile pop-ups that cover the main content of the page.

But as web designers, we know the value they can bring to promoting engagement when they are not interfering with mobile navigation and content.

Avoid full-screen pop-ups to make your site mobile-friendly. If you have to include it, display little ones on second pages or page bottom or when visitors are about to leave your site. Test them to make sure they lock easily on all devices.

You can also avoid pop-ups altogether. Instead, use a CTA or banner that leads to landing pages.

6. Simplify graphics on the site

Large images or too many graphics can take up valuable web page property and can distract attention from important content messages. In addition, graphics and images are a major cause of slow loading times (and poor user experience) for your mobile web pages.

There’s a lot you can do to speed up your WordPress site – simply consult our freelance guide to speed up a client’s WordPress site. But if you want to simplify graphics or images on the site to increase your WordPress site’s mobile friendliness, here are these tips:

  • Use the updated version of WordPress (version 4.4 or better) and WordPress themes so that your sites will automatically serve the smallest images and graphics according to screen size and device specifications.
  • Google recommends that you use the same descriptive image alt text, captions, file names, and text for cell phones as you use for computers.

Additional tips and best practices for optimizing a WordPress site for mobile devices

Need some more tips to make your WordPress sites mobile-friendly and superior? Try these:

  • We can not stress enough the importance of this: Use the same metadata and headings for both the mobile and computer version of the website.
  • Use the same structured data across both sites. Again, this ensures that mobile users have the same ease of access and quality of experience as those who access via computers.
  • Use the same robots meta tags on your mobile and computer website so that Google will first index and crawl your mobile page through mobile.
  • Use the Google Search Console to find out how Google Search sees your computer and mobile pages. It will even warn you about issues to fix for better optimization.
  • Use proper canonization and alternative link elements. This is critical for SEO improvement and mobile friendliness.

Increase your customer’s traffic and rankings with a mobile friendly WordPress site

Your customers want their websites to be accessible to as many people as possible. Make sure you design with cell phone in mind. Follow our tips and you will be a hero with your customers by improving their traffic and rankings with a mobile friendly WordPress site. And The Hub by GoDaddy Pro will be your one-stop control screen where you can easily manage and monitor site performance.

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