There are more people accessing the Internet with their mobile phones than with any other device.
Yet, many websites are still not mobile friendly and are not even designed to adjust to different screen sizes. Optimization for mobile devices considers the site design, structure, speed, and other factors to make sure you’re not turning mobile visitors away without knowing it.
As mobile continues to overpower desktop users, having a mobile-first design only makes sense. Search engine giants like Google are continuously changing their algorithm to provide a better user experience, and Google now includes mobile-friendly websites as a ranking factor for their search results.
The following tips are crucial when designing a mobile-friendly website:
1. Super-Fast Page Speed
Don’t lose your visitors! Make sure your server is up to par. The quicker a web page loads, the more engagement you will get from users. Nobody likes waiting – particularly when you’re talking about the Internet on a mobile device. According to Think with Google, the average mobile website’s load times for bounced sessions were about 2.5 seconds slower than non-bounced sessions. Some simple ways to speed up load times include compressing larger images, utilizing cache, and eliminating redirects.
2. Assume Users Have Fat Fingers
With a mobile-first design, you should be able to navigate a touch screen easily by scrolling, regardless of whether you have large fingers or thumbs. Ensure your mobile design caters to this for a better user experience.
3. Avoid Using Pop-Ups
Google’s new algorithm update, which was released in January of this year, will now penalize businesses that use pop-ups on their mobile sites. Smaller pop-ups such as tiny banners or age verification boxes should still be okay. However, if the pop-up is a stand alone and covers the majority of your page, making it difficult to proceed to the website, this will have a major effect on your SEO and user experience.
4. Ditch the Flash
Most web designers today have already phased out the use of Flash, but sites that use it are still out there. What was once seen as visually cool is now more of an annoyance for users. It’s also horrendous for SEO. Flash is extremely insecure – more than any other web application – making it a very popular target for hackers. To make matters worse, it also reduces the amount of content that’s visible to Google’s indexing bots. In addition, Flash plugins may not already be on a user’s phone, which means they’ll likely just leave your website instead of taking the time to install a new plugin. If you want to create special effects, use HTML5 instead.
5. Include a Viewport Meta Tag
A viewport meta tag gives your browser the scaling and sizing information it needs in order to properly fit a website on your device’s screen. You can’t “see” the viewport on a web page, but it’s very much needed. If you’re not using a viewport, depending on the device used, scaling and sizes on your mobile site can be completely out of whack.
You can check on how “mobile friendly” your website is at: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/intl/en-ca/