Smartphones have become an increasingly popular choice for accessing the internet but some businesses still aren’t making the most of this opportunity. If you have a website that doesn’t work properly on mobile devices then you could be losing customers. Keep reading to find out what you can do to make your website mobile friendly.
Why Do You Need a Mobile-Friendly Website?
The biggest reason why it is so important to have a website that works well on mobiles is that this is one of the most popular ways for people to access the internet. The ONS estimates that 79% of British adults are now accessing the internet through a mobile. Many people prefer to use their phone even when they have access to a computer. Your customers will expect to be able to use your website and even to make purchases through their smartphones. If your site doesn’t load properly or is difficult to navigate on a phone, they are likely to give up and go elsewhere.
Another benefit of having a mobile-friendly website is that search engines such as Google will consider this in their rankings. Your website will appear higher in the results if it is accessible on mobile devices. The effect will be strongest when people are searching on their phones but it could also affect your website’s search rankings on other devices. Being mobile-friendly is set to become increasingly important as search engines recognise that this is becoming the most common way that people go online.
How to Check if Your Website is Mobile-Friendly
Various tools are available online that enable you to check how well your website works on mobile phones. You usually only need to enter the URL for your website in order to get a result.
One of the best tools to use is Google’s Mobile-Friendly test or their Mobile Usability Report, which is part of the Google Search Console. You can check any website on the basic Mobile-Friendly test but you will get more detailed results if you verify that you are the owner in Google Search Console.
The results will include a screenshot showing how your site looks on a smartphone and a list of any issues that could be affecting mobile users. The test can flag up problems such as the font size being too small on a mobile screen or problems loading any pages or elements. You can use these results to start making your website more accessible to visitors who are using their phones.
Making Your Website More Mobile-Friendly
If your test results show that your website is already mobile friendly then you won’t need to do anything else. Many of the templates and website building services that businesses use to create their sites are already set up to work across devices. However, you may find that there are some problems, especially if you have an older site.
Depending on your mobile usability results and how you built the site, you might want to try the following steps to improve your mobile friendliness.
- If you built your website using a template or theme, try changing this to see if it improves things. Responsive templates are set up to adapt to the device they are being viewed on so that your content always looks good. This is a quick way to solve issues with font size and fitting the content onto the mobile screen.
- Check out the mobile plugins offered by your CMS Platform. WordPress, Drupal and Joomla all offer add-ons that are designed to improve the experiences of mobile users.
- If you’re not using a template then you should try adding the viewport meta tag to your html so that browsers will adjust the width of the site to the screen it is being viewed on. You can also address issues such as font size directly.
- Images and CSS files that take too long to load are a common issue on mobiles. Try compressing any images that are causing problems so they can be loaded faster.
- Make your site easier to navigate for mobile users. Placing links to the most important information on your home page and improving the structure of your pages with headings and metadata can improve your mobile friendliness.
- If there are lots of issues with your site or if it was built with tools such as Flash that don’t work for mobile, you may need to re-design the whole site. You can hire someone to do this or use a mobile-friendly template to do it yourself.
Once you have implemented these changes, you should run the mobile usability test again to ensure that your website is now mobile friendly. It’s a good idea to include mobile usability tests in the regular checks you perform on your site so that any new issues are detected and solved quickly.