Mobile devices are now the most popular way for people to browse the internet. In fact, mobile phones have overtaken desktop computers as a primary means of accessing the web.
According to Statista, in 2016 there were 2.7 billion mobile phone users worldwide and this number is projected to increase by 12% each year until 2020. This shift towards mobile browsing has had a significant impact on website design and marketing strategies because it presents new challenges and opportunities for designers who need to optimize their sites for smaller screens with different features than desktop browsers such as touchscreens or limited data plans.
In recent years Google has been pushing site owners towards creating websites that are responsive (or “mobile-friendly”) because these types of sites provide an optimal viewing experience for mobile users. In fact, Google has explicitly said:
How Google Views Mobile Pages (Google Webmaster Central Blog, Feb 2015) – Optimizing for mobile means not only thinking about the devices that your content is being viewed on in terms of screen size but also how it will be navigated and interacted with… We encourage you to use this report to review your site’s mobile usability and make any necessary changes – so you can provide great search experiences for your users.
The “mobile-friendly” rating in Google Search Console is based on a set of criteria that we use to judge the page, rather than being a reflection of the overall quality or excellence of the page or site. For example, pages that are coded in a way that’s readable by Googlebot for indexing will likely receive a high rating.
According to Think With Google content marketing research (2015), more than half of American smartphone users turn to their mobile devices first when looking for local services and products. Here are some tips on how you can optimize your website so your customers can easily find you:
All of this data makes it clear that phone users are the ones who need to see your business first in search engine results. If we look at some numbers provided by Statista, it becomes even more clear that optimizing your site for mobile devices is very important in today’s search landscape:
For all of these reasons, there’s a lot of money to be saved by setting up a MOBILE FRIENDLY website. And better yet, Google rewards websites that have a mobile friendly layout with higher rankings in the search results.
75% of users will leave a website if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load! And most sites take more like 10 seconds to load! That’s why Google has been strongly encouraging webmasters to make their site responsive (allowing different page configurations for desktop, tablet, and mobile viewports) so that visitors get a good experience no matter what device they use to access the page.
Mobile-Friendly Test (Google via Search Console, 2021) – You can test if your site is working well for mobile devices by using the Google Mobile-Friendly Test . If you don’t optimize for mobile devices , Google may increasingly show your competitors’ sites higher in our search results.
If you’re not sure how to make your site mobile-friendly, don’t worry! Here are some resources and tutorials to help you optimize your site for mobile devices:
Make Sure Your WordPress Theme is Mobile Ready
WooThemes – a large collection of free WordPress themes
How to Choose a WordPress Theme (WordPress support) – [Tutorial] How to install a theme on your WordPress site. You can choose from thousands of WordPress themes here . In addition to choosing a mobile-friendly theme, make sure that your theme isn’t slowing down your site. See the next section on optimizing your WordPress theme for speed on mobile devices.
Mobile-Optimized Themes – If you’re using a free template, make sure it’s optimized for mobile. If not, download one of these free themes that are specifically designed with mobile in mind. This will ensure your site is easy to navigate and fast to load.
Mobile-Optimized Themes – Here is a list of mobile-friendly WordPress themes that you can use on your website:
Custom Mobile & Responsive Theme Development (WPCompany via CodeCanyon) – [Tutorial] Learn how you can make custom mobile and responsive themes for yourself. You’ll need basic knowledge of HTML and CSS, but designers and developers can find these tutorials helpful.
Mobile Theme Templates (ThemeForest) – [Collection] Over 5,000 premium WordPress templates are available in the collection for sale. These mobile-ready themes will definitely help you create a professional looking website. Twenty Seventeen is the newest free default theme for WordPress, which is even more mobile friendly.
Make Sure Your Website Page Load Speed is FAST!
Too Many Ads = Sluggish Page Loading – If you want your website to be mobile-friendly , the first step is loading pages fast . This means eliminating excessive code clutter, especially ads, so that visitors can get a good browsing experience. The number one way websites are slowing down page load speed is having too many ads . Too much content on one page makes it difficult for your browser to load. Make sure there aren’t too many ads on any one page, or else you will be penalized by search engines for having a slow-loading website.
Mobile Users Want Immediate Results – Mobile users want websites that are fast . Google’s study shows that 50% of mobile users will abandon a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. The same study also shows that 40% of mobile users do not revisit a site if it is slow and unresponsive.
Not only should your site be fast for all users, but you need to make sure it’s especially optimized for mobile devices. This often means stripping out excess code clutter, and making sure you’re not using too many ads.
Make Sure Your Images Are Optimized for Mobile Devices
Video Tutorials – Codecademy is an amazing free resource for learning how to code in HTML and CSS. They have detailed video tutorials that will walk you through everything from making a website to installing WordPress themes . There are also several video tutorials on YouTube, such as the one below:
How to Make Your Website Mobile Friendly (Google Developers) – [Tutorial] If you’re a complete beginner , this video tutorial is easy to follow and will walk you through the process of making your site mobile friendly. It shows how you can analyze page speed performance from Google’s PageSpeed Insights, as well as creating a mobile-friendly website using WordPress.
Mobile Friendly Web Design (Moz) – [Article] Here is an article that discusses how to make your website mobile-friendly . It talks about the differences between mobile users and desktop users, as well as what your site needs in order to be successful. There are 10 easy steps for creating a mobile-friendly page, including adding semantic markups and using optimized images.
A Simple Tip For Creating Mobile-Friendly Sites (Search Engine Journal) – [Article] This article lists 7 simple ways to make sure your site is mobile-friendly . The first step is making sure you have a responsive web design , as well as adding schema for mobile and implementing Google Analytics. The last tip mentioned in the article is optimizing images for mobile devices, which will help speed up your website load time and provide good image quality.
Use WordPress Plugins To Speed Up Your Website
Plugin for Speeding Up Your Website (Jetpack) – [Free Plugin] This plugin is created by WordPress.com, and it makes your website faster in several different ways. It automatically installs a CDN to speed up page loading time, as well as compresses images and optimizes HTML . You can also use this plugin to add mobile-friendly features to your site, such as markup for responsive styling and mobile app install banners.
Provider Matches Your Site’s Audience (Genesis Simple Hooks) – [Free Plugin] If you use Genesis Framework, you can optimize website load time by using the “mobile-display” hook . This will allow you to show different content to mobile users, as well as optimize the images for mobile devices.
Genesis Simple Hooks (High Performance) – [Free] The high performance version of Genesis plugin allows you to target specific page elements and exclude certain pages from optimization. This is great if your site has a lot of videos or product categories that need extra space on each page. The high performance version also allows you to reduce page load time by adding image resizing and compression, as well as mobile-friendly font icons.
SEO Plugin for WordPress (All In One SEO Pack) – [Free Plugin] This plugin has a mobile setting , which will automatically disable some of your plugins that are not compatible with mobile devices (such as heavy ad plugins). It also creates XHTML and CSS validation, which is important for making sure your site has a mobile-friendly navigation bar.
There are several different ways to create a high-performing mobile website . The key is removing the clutter and optimizing your content when you’re writing articles. If you have any questions about creating a mobile-friendly website, check out our forum and ask questions!
Use of CDN to Load Faster On Mobile Devices
CDN is a content delivery network that serves the cached data of your images and video files to searchers from servers located nearest to them. These servers are effectively located in every country across the world, which makes your site load faster on mobile devices for users in those countries. Google uses this technique very effectively with its own sites, so you should too. If you’re using a cloud service such as Wix or Scirra to build your website, adding this feature should be very easy for you.
Google Sets the Trend :
Like wise Google use CDN on their own site and it is served from India . This has been confirmed by experts that all those sites which are optimised for India specifically will get benefit from this speed improvement.
Remember, to use CDN effectively make sure you are:
1. Registering your site with Google Search Console ( MLS )
2. Working on robots.txt and allowing user-agents necessary access to your content
3. Serving the required images through your own domain name
4. Setting up correct DNS records
5. Waiting for the cache to take effect
Image Optimization – So that should be it from our side . We have probably covered all possible tools and techniques ( at least regarding mobile optimization ) which are related to WordPress web development. I am sure many of you will find this useful, in case you are looking forward to optimizing your site in a more professional manner. Moreover, I would encourage all of you to provide us with your feedback and any suggestions that might help the community.
As usual, we have many fun things planned for our upcoming tutorials and reviews. We will be covering everything from beginner’s guides to more advanced level topics . It is my pleasure to announce that we will be covering the topics of Photography, SEO and WordPress Themes in coming tutorials. We have decided to go with these topics because they are some of the most searched ones on Google. Topics such as SEO and photography can also help you gain traffic from other sources, such as Pinterest and Instagram .
Load website asynchronously for faster experience on mobile phones
Some pages on your website will load faster than the main page and this is a logical solution to have separate loading of content for mobile phones users. A way to accomplish this is giving an h1 tag or something similar as a link target. Here’s what we did in our portfolio :
As you can see, we gave the h1 tags as link targets to the contents we wanted to show on mobile devices. In this way, you can improve your page load time significantly. Be sure not to double-submit content as well as make it a seamless experience for your users!
Naming Your CSS and JS Files Properly
With our previous article , we tried to explain how important naming your CSS and JS files properly is. You will want to make sure that both your CSS and JS files are named in a way that makes sense to you, as well as keeping them organized by adding categories. For example:
This way, you can create directories such as home-page , portfolio , etc. This will also help if you ever have to change your theme. In addition to that, we would also encourage you to make sure your CSS and JS files load in order from top-to-bottom.
You will want this because if they don’t, the content might not look right when you are viewing it on a mobile device. For example:
If your above code were to load incorrectly, the before-after images would be shown on both mobile and desktop devices.
In this situation, you will want to make sure that the content after #include is loaded first , followed by main.css . In order to do so, use your FTP software (or cPanel) and change their order in the header! For example:
If you are using an FTP program, then you would want to make sure the code loads like so:
For cPanel users, use this option instead on our hosting platform – WHMCS . This will load your CSS files properly and keep your headers safe! If you have any questions regarding this topic or anything else related to web development, please feel free to drop us a comment below!
Add page load time monitoring to your dashboard so you’ll know how fast your website loads on desktop and mobile.
The best way to test this is to load your website using tools such as Pingdom . Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to optimize your site for mobile devices – make sure you have a speedy loading time!
Make sure you have a consistent structure throughout all elements of the site
It’s safe to assume that if you have a CSS order problem on desktop, you could possibly be experiencing issues on mobile as well. If your site loads without any errors, then it is probably organized correctly. However, there will always be cases where your website might load incorrectly on mobile devices. For example:
If your CSS load order was to suddenly change , then the before-and-after images would be swapped! This is an important aspect when it comes to making sure that your website loads correctly on all devices, so make sure you have a consistent structure throughout all elements of the site, desktop or not.
Remove clutter from the homepage such that it’s straightforward and efficient for a mobile user to find what they’re looking for (try making one column or using panels)
It’s safe to assume that your homepage will be the most visited page on your website. It’s important that you keep it simple and straightforward for mobile users, for example:
As shown above , we have simply removed all other columns besides our content (in this case, it is a portfolio). This makes the user experience much simpler because there is not much to read. In addition to that, we have also removed the navigation so that it is more straightforward for the users , and they are able to find what they’re looking for faster.
When you think about it, why would you want a mobile user navigating through your entire website? It’s likely that their search query will be simple! Your homepage is a digital version of your business card: make it clear and to the point, so that mobile users know exactly what they’re getting – instead of going through all of your content and then finding that they were looking for something else!
Use jQuery Mobile for cross-platform compatibility. This single script will allow you to create a responsive website that will load properly on any device
This is a wonderful, responsive jQuery plugin that will make coding for mobile devices much easier. And it’s completely free!
It works by creating a structure of divs and spans , using specific classes (like .ui-mobile ) and attributes (like data-role=”listview” ). It is a pretty simple process that will save you a lot of time and effort. All you have to do is include the single jQuery script, then start creating different templates for your site. The entire concept is incredibly easy to use:
If you’re interested in learning more about it, there are plenty of step-by-step tutorials online . These guys even have a page with their own demo , so you can see some of their examples in action!
Create a separate, responsive or mobile version of your website (this is optional). For example, if you’re an e-commerce company and want your users to be able to buy things on your mobile site:
This option will allow you to create a separate version of your website that will load faster on mobile devices.
For example, I could use Google’s AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) script to make a faster mobile version of my site. While it doesn’t come with all of the features and benefits as the regular, non-mobile website, it is simple to use and is great for mobile-only pages like:
This basically gives you the option to create separate versions of your site that will load faster on mobile devices. While it might take some extra work, I guarantee it will be worth the effort!
Stay informed about Google’s best practices when designing a website for mobile users
Google has tons of amazing resources that will help you optimize your website, but these are two of the best:
Be sure to check out Google’s guide to developing for mobile devices , which has tons of useful tips and information. There is also a fantastic blog post by Matt Cutts about some common Google algorithm updates (just search for “mobile-friendly” and you should be able to find it!).
If you’re a Google user, you will probably notice that their navigation has changed slightly. They now provide links for mobile as well as desktop users:
This is a great example of how Google is forcing webmasters to create websites that are optimized for mobile devices. If your website isn’t up-to-date yet, you might want to consider changing that soon before Google penalizes your website in their search rankings.
I’m sure there are tons of other resources out there: If you have any other links, please share them in the comments below!
Optimize images – don’t use more than 2-3mb per image, compress them as much as possible without any loss in quality, make sure image dimensions are 1024 pixels wide by 768 pixels tall or less ,and make sure your background images are large enough!
Learn more from these resources:
If you’re not concerned about Google’s algorithm updates, you can design a mobile version of your website that looks completely different. You can even create a separate mobile app for users on smartphones or tablets (you can check out my review of the Top 10 Traveller’s App s for some ideas).
This will require a more advanced knowledge of coding, but if you are good at HTML and CSS, it shouldn’t be too difficult. Just remember to keep your design simple so that it doesn’t get bogged down with too many images or scripts (which will slow the website down). And here are a few tutorials to help you get started:
Optimize your images – make sure they are optimized for web use, and don’t add extra alt tags to them. Also remember that not all pictures need alternate text!
Disable all plugins that aren’t compatible with mobile devices (and if they are, make sure you’ve enabled the mobile-friendly setting in the plugin)
Make sure your text is clear and easy to read: don’t use fancy fonts or a lot of colors. Stick with black or white backgrounds (and preferably black)
Keep all links simple – no need to have flashy buttons that open new windows or show videos when you click on them. Also, if you do have multiple links in one sentence, don’t split them up with spaces!
If your menu is too long, consider adding a new page to your site that has just the navigation links for mobile users. This will make it easier for mobile users to navigate your website. If you’re having trouble finding the right words, try searching on Google or using one of these resources:
Use a “call-to-action” button to draw the attention of mobile users – this can be anything, like an image or short phrase that tells them exactly what you want them to do. Just don’t get too complicated!
Add schema markups for each site page including title tag, description tag and link tags where appropriate (be sure to use the mobile-friendly markups!)
If you’re struggling with how to start, here are a few examples:
Read Google’s guide on structuring your HTML markup , which will help you understand how to structure your page so that search engine bots can index it properly
If you have a blog, here is a fantastic article on how to optimize your blog for mobile devices , including screenshots and code examples. Optimizing your website for mobile users will be much easier if you use WordPress, but the information in the article above should help even non-WordPress users get started with mobile optimization (mind you, I haven’t checked to see if all the resources are 100% compatible with your platform)
If you use WordPress, it’s pretty easy to modify some templates for mobile devices. This article shows you how . If you want a more complicated solution, there is a plugin that will do most of the work for you
If you’re super-confident in your coding abilities, check out this open source plugin that should help a bit. 35+ Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Tools & Services
Use tools to monitor keyword rankings and other SEO metrics (use them on desktop computers so that they can properly see how mobile users interact with your site)
If you really want to go crazy, try building a native mobile app for your website! Just remember, there’s no substitute for content. Good content is king . If you have the right information on your site that people are looking for, they won’t care if they have to scroll sideways or zoom in/out to read it.
And finally, we’ve got a bonus section: a list of 35 SEO tools and services that will help you track your search ranking metrics!
1. Coding Horror SEO Tools and Services
2. Moz SEO Toolbar – this toolbar is a basic (but free!) tool that tracks your website ranking across most major search engines. You can use it with Chrome, Firefox & Safari+Firefox for Windows/Mac/Linux. Download the free version here .
3. Check My Links – allows you to check not just links, but also the mobile-friendliness of a page. Pretty neat!
4. SEO for Firefox and Chrome – If you use either of these two browsers (or both), this plugin is extremely useful for giving you quick access to your analytics data as well as other helpful tools such as keyword research (based on Google Adwords).
4. SEO Checker for Firefox – another source for tracking your keywords, links and more
6. Woorank – measure your site’s search ranking across multiple search engines based on both internal and external links (incl. Google & Bing), social metrics, traffic data and much more.
7. Majestic SEO – another great source for rank tracking, but also provides access to in-depth link metrics and lots of other stuff that will help you determine what’s working and not working on your site. The free version is pretty good , but if you’re serious about SEO I’d recommend signing up for the paid version .
8. Alexa . If you’re curious about the traffic data for a particular website, this tool will give you that info (incl. related sites and other useful stats) with just one click! 9. WhoIsHostingThis .com – another quick-reference resource for getting information about any site. You can get summary reports for free, but if you sign up for a Pro account you can get even more information.
10. Majestic Site Explorer – yet another great tool for tracking your site’s link metrics by analyzing the backlink profile of any URL (you can also see the anchor text that links to a page). To use this tool, just type in the URL you’re interested in and hit enter. You can also do some simple site research by clicking on a “+” icon to see backlink info for all of the sites that have linked to the domain you typed in. 11. Link Research Tools – another really fast way to track your internal links via Google (or Yahoo). Just type in a website address and you can see all of the links that point to it.
12. Open Site Explorer – like Majestic SEO, this tool will allow you to analyze a site’s link profile along with its on-page optimization and social metrics (Facebook, Twitter etc.). Pretty neat! If you want more info about any website, just type o seo (or whatever you’re trying to find out about) and then you can see Google’s “public” data.
13. Webmaster Tools – If you’re tracking your site’s traffic info via Google Analytics, definitely make sure that your site is properly linked in Webmaster Tools . You can not only see how much traffic your site is getting from Google, but also make sure that your site’s IP address is verified and that you’re using “nofollow” tags in the right places.
14. Alexa Traffic Ranks – track a website’s traffic data across multiple search engines (this tool won’t give you info about keyword ranking or links though).
15. Whois Lookup – quick way to see who owns a particular website
16. Open Site Explorer Keyword – find out which keywords are sending traffic your way via Open Site Explorer (and Google). This is particularly useful if you want to figure out why your site isn’t getting any traffic from a particular search term!
17. Majestic Sitemap Generator – A handy way to get started with creating sitemaps if you’re not sure what all the available fields are and how they should be filled out.
19. Google Trends – sort of like Bing’s “Trends”, this tool will show you the interest levels for a particular topic across multiple search engines. This is helpful if you want to know how popular your site is in comparison to competitors/similar sites, or if you just want to research popular topics.
20. Yahoo! Web Analytics Platform – if you’re looking for more info about a particular search term, Yahoo! data should be your first stop. Check to see how many searches are currently being done on the topic , then look at other related terms and trends to get a sense of whether people are searching for something else that you might want to rank for .
21. Followerwonk – analyze Twitter followers and check out other social media-related metrics for sites that you’re interested in (this tool is pretty much the only way to get info from Facebook at this point). Get detailed information about the people who are interacting with your website, their interests, where they live and more!
22. Link Prospector – a faster way to do link prospecting by using Google Search. This is helpful because you can use this method for multiple terms at once, even if those terms aren’t related. You can also toggle between “exact match” and “related keywords”, which is a big time-saver.
23. Moz Open Site Explorer – This tool is for all of you advanced SEOs out there! You can track a website’s backlink profile by using Moz Open Site Explorer to see where else the site is linked (it also shows how many links are pointing in each direction). If you want even more info about any site, just click on “backlinks” and take a look at all of the sites that have linked to it. See what sites are linking to your competitor’s website and check out their site metrics via Moz Analytics (see below).
24. Social Crawlytics – Similar to Twitter Followerwonk above, you can get info about followers/following on social media accounts owned by a particular website (this is helpful for getting a better picture of the people who are interacting with your site via social media). You can also see which social media sites drive the most traffic to your site.
25. Majestic Trust Flow – This tool gives you an idea of how trustworthy a website or webpage is by looking at backlinks and trust signals provided by third party domains (more info here ). Trust Flow is on a 0-100 scale, and higher Trust Flow usually means that the website/page is more trustworthy. This metric also helps you see if a particular backlink is from a spammy site or not.
26. Majestic Citation Flow – similar to Majestic Trust Flow, this metric looks at backlinks and trust signals from third party domains to rank the position of a particular webpage. The Citation Flow is also on a 0-100 scale, with higher “citation” signaling that the page is more important/trustworthy. See how your site stacks up against competitors’ pages!
27. Google Analytics Platform – if you’re dealing with a big website and want to see how many people are visiting, where they’re coming from on PPC or organic search, which pages they’re interacting with the most (and least) and so on, check out Majestic’s data for this information. You can also get info about your website’s social media influence through Twitter, Facebook and other platforms under “social” in Analytics.
28. URL Profiler – get a detailed report of all the reviews that have been posted about your business (or any site) on review sites like Yelp! You can also see which keywords people are using to find you on review sites, which can help you optimize your content for these terms.
29. Moz Analytics Dashboard – this is a free service from Majestic that gives you info about how many people are visiting your website on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, where they’re coming from (organic search or PPC), which pages they’re interacting with most and so on. This is great for assessing the progress of your SEO campaign and seeing how many people are finding you through search engines!
30. Do Follow Blog – a blog that provides more detailed info about the DOFOLLOW vs NOFOLLOW situation. You can learn about what it means to have a do follow link, when you can use them and more here!
31. MozCast (predicts Google’s algorithm) – a tool from Moz that uses historical data to predict how Google’s algorithm is likely to move in the future. This tool gives you warnings about major changes that are happening with Google SERPs (search engine results pages) on a daily basis, and helps you stay on top of what factors could be impacting your rankings.
32. Moz Local – this is an awesome free service from Moz that helps you find the best local SEO performance in your area. You can see which sites are ranking for different keywords and phrases related to a particular business niche, as well as their metrics (trust/authority, links, etc.) and more.
33. Keyword Explorer – this is another free service from Moz that helps you choose the keywords and phrases you want to target and get a whole bunch of related suggestions. The tool will give you a wider variety of keyword/phrase pairings than Keyword Planner alone, which is helpful for brainstorming purposes!
34. Analytics Ninja – this free service from Moz will help you look at your key metrics in an easy-to-read format and track your progress over time. It’s a great way to get a snapshot of where you’re at right now!
35. Open Site Explorer – sometimes it can be hard to get an overview of how many links are going to or coming from one particular page on your website — this tool helps solve that problem by providing you with all the links going to or from any given page. You can then use the link data to see how you’re ranking in Google and learn whether or not it’s worth pursuing other backlinks for that webpage.
Google is not the only search engine that can impact your rankings. It’s important to keep in mind what other search engines are ranking for similar keywords and phrases, so you know what pages on your site should be optimized accordingly! For more information about how to optimize your website based on these different factors, check out our list of resources above. With all this new knowledge in hand, take a moment to reflect on where you stand today with regard to SEO and mobile optimization — then make sure you’ve updated any content or links as needed before it’s too late! Good luck optimizing your website for mobile devices!
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I hope you find these resources valuable make sure to share the article.