How to create a mobile-friendly website

14 Sep 2020

Design & development

Nick Boyle

Nick Boyle

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With so many clever, useful apps out there – and more in the development pipeline! – mobiles have become the go-to device for virtually everything these days, although you’ve probably already noticed. From easy things like socialising and photography, all the way through to managing our finances, doing our shopping, monitoring our health, aiding with sleep… our mobiles are at our beck and call day and night. With our phones doing so much for us now, businesses are now turning their attention on how to generate the most leads and conversions from mobile users. So what’s one thing they’re going to need? A mobile-friendly website!


We’re sure you already know about Google’s mobile-first update? If you don’t, head back to that blog post and get yourself clued in. Ready? 


If you’re not sure about how to make your website mobile-friendly, stick with us for a few expert pointers.


1. Use clear fonts and text sizes


You’ll need to test fonts and text sizes to see what works best on mobile but a good starting point is making sure font sizes are at least 14px on webpages as it’s no use having users squinting to find out more about you. And on the other hand, you don’t want people to be overwhelmed with an enormous font the second they land on your page.


2. Make it responsive


When it comes to making a site mobile-friendly, you’ll often hear the buzzword ‘responsive’. This is when a site works well both on desktop and mobile, adapting between devices – hence the responsiveness. This makes sure the content remains the same but the site responds to the device it is being viewed on and is optimised accordingly. 


A responsive design could be for instance, if on desktop, a form shows at the side of some text and imagery, on mobile the form may appear underneath to fit the more vertical display. 


Luckily, most website builders of late – like Wix and WordPress – are already optimised for mobile as the industry adapts and evolves. So whatever platform you’re using, make sure it optimises your site depending on the device being used.


3. Avoid intrusive ads


Viewing a site packed with text-blocking ads or pop-ups will only infuriate your visitor and have them looking elsewhere. Add this poor user experience onto a visit from a mobile, where screens are smaller, and you’ll be gaining drastically higher bounce rates. Plus, Google sees these as a big no-no anyway so you’re best steering clear.


You need to seriously consider your placement if you are using ads; remember to prioritise the user over everything else, including your potential ad income. To improve user experience on mobile, avoid pop-ups and ads that block most of the content and page.


If you can’t do without a pop-up – such as those that encourage visitors to sign up to their newsletters – then make sure the ‘X’ button is clear and easy to press. You should also consider disabling the pop-up for mobile users or only allowing it to appear when a user has reached the bottom of the page rather than when they’ve only just landed on it.



4. Stick to simple web design


Don’t overcomplicate on web design as a mobile device won’t like this. How likely are you to stay on a site if it’s too cluttered? Not only does clutter annoy but it can make navigation extremely harder on mobile.


Be neater with design layouts and keep on-brand. Avoid an eyesore with too much going on and be more minimalist when it comes to mobile in order for users to get the info faster and easier. Again, this will also help speed up load time.


Consider cutting down things for mobile optimisation, for instance if you have a lot of categories and pages, highlight the key ones in drop-down menus and make them large enough and easy enough to press. On mobile, it’s all fingers and thumbs!


You may have created the perfect collage and imagery but if it’s taking too much of the screen on mobile, it may be best to cut out some graphics on that device to avoid scroll fatigue and irking users who just want to get to where they want to quickly. Make CTA (call-to-action) buttons more visual and large enough to tap to prevent lead-generation loss.


5. Making navigation mobile-friendly


Pretty much everyone has a mobile now, and we’ve already established that we do pretty much everything with them. Mobiles get more intelligent by the day; sensors and touchscreens are more sensitive because our fingers and thumbs are navigating. It’s why it’s so important to have the mobile user experience as easy and as fuss-free as possible.


The mobile user has to touch rather than click, they have to swipe, scroll and navigate with their digits, so make sure fonts are a good size (at least 14px), fonts are readable and navigation menus are not too cluttered. Try adapting the menus to drop-down categories and reducing forms and search bars on mobile devices so users can easily navigate and find information easily without having to type.


Keep it simple.


6. Local SEO


When it comes to local SEO and adapting your site for mobile, you need to consider people who may be on the go who need to find local services, for example, you may be out and about and need a local coffee shop to refuel. Local SEO relies on websites to give relevant local information, content and links. You may wish to develop landing pages tailored to mobile and local SEO to capture those who are searching locally and need easy-to-navigate content. This will particularly work well with Google’s upcoming update to focus on UX in 2021.


The update focusing on UX basically means Google will introduce a new ranking algorithm to the search engine, which will judge websites on perceived user experience when interacting with a web page. So, if Google thinks that users of the website are having a poor experience, the ranking may not be as high as it used to be. You need to be thinking of the mobiles users who come to your site through local SEO and how content can also be adapted for local relevance. You don’t want them hitting your site to be jumping straight off if it’s too cluttered, ads are getting in the way on mobile or if it doesn’t answer their simple interests.


7. Speed up load time


Another major factor in making a site more mobile-friendly is making sure load time is faster. Not only can it have bounce rates flying but it can affect SEO very negatively. Avoid using Flash on your website as it can slow down load times on pages. You’ve also probably at some point come across a browser not supporting Flash, and when you consider the fact that iOS and Android devices don’t support either it’s not worth putting your potential mobile-using customers through the stress.


Again, opt for a more minimalist design to not complicate the load time as having too much activity going on can slow down loading on mobiles and may end up creating the opposite mobile user experience you were hoping for.


Here’s a few more ways to speed up mobile site performance:

  • Consider switching servers
  • Keep redirects to a minimum
  • Compress and format images – make sure they’re not too large
  • Enable browser caching to download content for faster load time on revisits


Get started on your mobile-friendly journey. Head over to Google’s dedicated page to check on the status of your site!


Need help on how to improve your site’s mobile speed and SEO, or how to make a website mobile-friendly? Give our friendly team a call on 01204 394347 or drop us a message here.

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