Websites see a staggering number of users accessing them through mobile devices. At every pause through the day, it is convenient to take out a smart phone and browse. Of course, the websites these users visit look much different on the phone than they do on the PC monitor. They are accessing mobile friendly websites. This is an everyday occurrence. Any good website needs a solid WordPress mobile version that is optimized to work on phones and tablets.
Take a look at the table of contents below and choose the section you need.
Table of Contents
Mobile Sites vs. Traditional Sites
To start, you need to know how mobile websites differ from typical, desktop websites. This is mostly obvious. Traditionally, websites are designed for PC screens. They are optimized for stationary, home use. This includes primarily interacting with the website with a mouse and keyboard. A mobile website is designed to fit on smart phones. The screens have much less width, so the content is displayed more vertically with the expectation of scrolling up and down. With most up-to-date websites, both versions are accessed through the same URL. The difference in layout is dependent on the device being used.
What causes this difference lies in the design. Good websites now are designed to accommodate different screens. The site’s builder has told the content management system (CMS) how to display the same website depending on what device is making the request. More than that, it can even change for subtle screen size differences between mobile phones. This is accomplished through adopting responsive and adaptive designs.
The responsiveness of a website refers to how it responds to different sizes of browser windows and screen resolutions. If your desktop monitors display a resolution of 1080px, then a responsive website would be designed to look appealing and be easy to navigate at full screen. Then, if you then resize the window to half of your screen, the website content should change. These changes could include hiding the navigation bar into a menu button. It could also remove side panels, and tighten the main body text to ensure the content is still readable. Moreover, it will return to the original display when made full screen again. The same idea happens when the site loads on mobile screens.
A site that is not responsive will not change its layout when resizing. Instead, it will likely employ both horizontal and vertical scrolling in order for you to see the full webpage. Scrolling from side to side is never a good idea. It feels unnatural and awkward. This leads to a poor user experience. The worst part is that this doesn’t only affect resizing windows. If your desktop has a lower resolution, then even a full screen window can have difficulty.
When looking for help with mobile websites, you may also come across the word “adaptive.”
The adaptiveness of a website refers to how versatile it is in displaying across many different platforms. An adaptive site will be optimized for use on many devices. They will have different designs specifically for each size of screen. These include PC desktops, smart phones of varying sizes, and tablets of varying sizes. An adaptive site is more focused on mobile first. The benefit of this kind of design over responsiveness is that it gives a lot more control over those specific sizes. However, this is much less necessary now as it was in previous years. Many of the benefits of building each version are not as prevalent as responsiveness has gotten smarter. Also, Google prefers to see that your site has a responsive design.
What to Look For
When searching online, you will usually see the word “responsive” much more often than “adaptive.” Part of this is because some use the terms interchangeably. Mostly, though, it is more convenient to have a responsive design. It allows for a screen to change on the fly instead of having static versions for mobile screens. Also, as the technology behind responsive designs has gotten better, the need for specific, adaptive versions for mobile decreases. However, it is important to know what all makes a good mobile website. It takes more than smaller, rearranged displays.
Remember that the user experience is different from mobile to desktop. One example is a mobile website needs to be able to accommodate the size of a finger point. Desktop users can better pick out small buttons and drop-down lists, because mouse pointers are much smaller and more exact. So, your responsive website could easily have buttons too close together for a finger if you are not paying attention. When buttons, links, or menu items are not spaced appropriately for mobile use, it hurts the user experience. The colloquial term, “fat-finger,” has seen much more thanks to mobile browsing. In this case, the term refers to accidentally pressing the wrong thing or multiple buttons because a finger was too large to properly use the site.
What is a WordPress Mobile Site?
WordPress is, hands down, the most popular content management system (CMS) for building and managing websites. A WordPress site is simply a website that uses WordPress to manage the content. So, when you hear about a WordPress mobile site, it is exactly that. It is a website designed to be seen on mobile devices that was built and managed by WordPress. This does not come automatically.
Before you can have a WordPress mobile site, you need to know how to make WordPress mobile friendly.
Is WordPress Mobile Friendly?
It is difficult to say whether or not WordPress by itself is mobile friendly. By design, WordPress is open source, making it easy to build and implement add-ons. This means a straight, vanilla WordPress can seem pretty bare bones in regards to features. However, this also means there are so many themes and plug-ins that provide an incredible range of features. Many of these help you manage the mobile version of your website. There are countless options available. And, just like with your website hosting, the ones you pay for are the ones you want. Paying for themes that are already designed to be responsive to mobile screens can save you a lot of headache.
These kinds of themes do not come standard. It is up to you in regards to making WordPress mobile friendly. Also, it is up to you how your website changes for mobile viewing.
How to Design a Mobile Website
Aside from building your own responsive theme from scratch, it is fairly simple to design the mobile version of your website. A high quality theme will be pretty intuitive in regards to basic accommodations. However, you will usually have the ability to make changes to the layout. You need to make decisions as to which content is appropriate for mobile viewing in your mobile first development. It is common to need to remove bulky images to not risk distracting the user. You can even decide if there should be web pages that should not be available on the mobile version. There are plenty of situations where the content of an entire page does not translate well to mobile. In those cases, it is best to leave it out altogether from the mobile design.
Another important aspect to keep in mind is if your plug-ins play nice. With mobile browsing as huge as it is, the vast majority of the most popular plug-ins will adapt to mobile versions. Regardless, it is important to always check. You need to make sure your site continues to run smoothly on all platforms. If there are any issues or conflicts, you want to be the first to find it.
Why Care to Make Site Mobile Friendly?
So why make WordPress mobile friendly? Today, consumers are increasingly shifting their internet usage from stationary PCs to mobile smart phones. Smart phones have been fully capable of accessing the internet for every need. Also, they have done this for many years now. They accommodate general browsing and research, online shopping, live feeds. They also display streaming video, social media, and even online gaming perfectly well.
Mobile internet use has already surpassed use from home, and that trend is growing. You need a mobile friendly site to stay relevant. In fact, Google now penalizes websites if it notices the site does not have a responsive design. It is not worth taking a hit in the search results for not having a mobile-friendly design.
Having a solid mobile version of your website works best when paired with a high quality host. WP Super Host is a fantastic partner in regards to your WordPress mobile site. We offer different packages that all include daily backups, super fast setup, easy migration, speed reports, CDN, and much more. Check out our hosting options and let us know which one works best for you.
You cannot hope for your website to get ahead without a WordPress mobile friendly site. Mobile first is becoming the norm. Having a clean, mobile website shows users that you have it all together. A better user experience on your site, whether through PC or smartphone, is better for you. And unless you are experienced with building out a mobile-capable theme, you should trust your needs to paid professionals.