The next time you’re out and about, take a look around. How many people are using their cell phones? There’s a good chance that they’re not talking on their phones, and are instead, browsing the internet. So what does this mean for you? If your site isn’t mobile friendly, you’re missing out on a lot of traffic.
What Does It Mean To Be Mobile Friendly?
A mobile friendly site is one that accommodates mobile users. In other words, if someone is looking at your website on a mobile device (a tablet or phone for example), then your website should automatically adjust for this.
Mobile devices are different from laptop or desktop computers. Perhaps the most important difference is the size of the screen. Even your largest smartphones are significantly smaller than your average computer screen. On top of this, most mobile users will probably view websites in a portrait orientation, as opposed to the standard landscape view seen on computer screens.
So for a site to be mobile-friendly, it needs to change the view according to the device being used. Blocks, images and other features need to move, change size or re-orientate themselves. In other words, your site and the applicable plugins on it, needs to be responsive.
In the image below, you can see how FooBox is responsive, adjusting to fit the size of the screen.
Why Go Mobile Friendly?
You may well be asking yourself whether the effort it takes to create a mobile friendly site is worth it? It is! It really isn’t too difficult to do, plus there are loads of benefits to adapting your site for mobile use.
To begin with, as of the end of 2016, more people use mobile devices than desktops. Of course, this may not be true for your website – a quick look at your site’s Google Analytics will tell you where most of your traffic comes from – but the trend is moving more and more towards mobile.
Because of this, Google and other search engines take mobile compatibility into consideration. That is to say, mobile friendly sites will rank higher than those that aren’t compatible.
Other benefits of being mobile friendly include having a wider reach (more people access the internet through their phones or tablets), and therefore having a competitive advantage. After all, if your website is more flexible than your competitor’s, people are more likely to go to your site. And consequently buy your product.
Conversely, sites that aren’t optimized for mobile use are likely to frustrate users, who’ll go elsewhere if your site is too difficult to use. Failing to offer a responsive, efficient mobile experience could lose you customers and income. This is especially true for Ecommerce sites: if you expect people to buy from you, mobile compatibility is essential.
Tips For Being Mobile Friendly
To start with, check your site’s mobile usability on Google Webmaster tools. This will tell you if your site is compatible with mobile devices or if there are any issues. You can also have a look in the WordPress Customizer, where you’ll be able to view your website from the desktop, tablet and mobile views.
Being mobile friendly is easy with WordPress. Simply make sure the theme you choose is responsive. As this is such a key element these days, most new themes will come optimized for mobile. But if you’re using an older theme, or your current theme isn’t as accommodating, consider changing it.
Ensure any applicable plugins are compatible with mobile devices. Your forms, image lightboxes and media galleries, for example, should all be responsive. This way, they’ll automatically adjust depending on the device your user is using.
If you’re using a media gallery like FooGallery, ensure it comes with paging. Long galleries can become frustrating for the user if images load one after another on the mobile device. With paging, users will able to decide whether or not they want to see more.
Limit distractions. This includes things like pop-up windows or notifications, as these can be difficult to close on mobile devices.
FooGallery and FooBox are responsive media plugins for WordPress. With these, your users will be able to easily view images on any device. This will help you provide a mobile friendly experience and ensure you’re not missing out on potential traffic and consequent income.
Try FooGallery for yourself.