How to Make a Mobile Website
Having a mobile-optimized website used to be considered a nice perk of web design, but now it’s essential. In fact, consumers are so used to mobile websites (easy to navigate on a small screen, and with quick load times) that they will quickly leave a website if it doesn’t work well on mobile.
If you have a website for your business, you’ve heard again and again how important mobile customers can be. At which point, you probably ask yourself, “Well, is my website mobile friendly?”
If you use Jimdo’s mobile website builder, there’s good news. Your website will automatically be mobile responsive, which is the gold standard of mobile friendly web design. Jimdo mobile website templates will adjust to fit any screen size automatically, without you needing to do anything special.
Still, if you’re wondering what more you can do to create the best mobile website, or if you’re curious about the benefits of mobile friendly web design in the first place, read on as we walk you through some mobile tips.
Why is a mobile friendly website so important?
Lots of people use mobile: Mobile website usage (in other words, using a website on-the-go from a smartphone or tablet) has been on the rise for years. In 2015, Google announced that for the first time in history, more people were searching from mobile devices than from desktop or laptop computers.
Going mobile-friendly helps your Google ranking: There’s a clear SEO benefit to having your website optimized for mobile. In 2015, Google announced that it would start prioritizing mobile-optimized websites in search results on smartphones. This means that if someone was searching for “pizza” from their mobile phone, Google would be more likely to show that person mobile-optimized websites in search results. Websites that used to have good rankings but that weren’t mobile-friendly would start taking an SEO hit.
Mobile customers tend to be local and ready to buy: People visiting your website via a mobile device are often more local, and more likely to make a purchase because they are on the go. If you search for “pizza” from your mobile phone, it’s probably because you want pizza right now and you want pizza that’s right near you. While it’s still common for customers to use a desktop to do research, read reviews, and make decisions about major purchases, mobile consumers are more focused on making contact and taking action right at this moment. A mobile friendly website can help them do just that, translating into more business for you.
What is a responsive website?
If you’ve ever visited a website on your mobile phone and found yourself squinting to read the text, or constantly zooming in and out to see everything, then you certainly know what visiting a mobile “unfriendly” site is like. Frustrating.
That’s why we recommend using responsive design. A responsive website automatically adjusts to the type of device your visitors are using by changing the resolution, image size, menus, and more so that they make sense on different screen sizes.
With a responsive website, you don’t need to build a separate website only for mobile devices or a separate mobile landing page—all your users can coexist happily using the same responsive website.
How to make a website mobile friendly
In addition to using one of Jimdo’s mobile website templates, there are a few other simple steps you can take to improve your website on cell phones and tablets.
Google’s “Mobile-Friendly” Test: Conveniently, Google provides a simple and free way to diagnose many mobile issues on your website. Just go to https://search.google.com/search-console/mobile-friendly and type in your website URL. This test might tell you, for example, that your text is too small, or that touch elements like buttons and links that are too close together for people to hit with their fingers.
Tips for the best mobile websites:
Make sure your pages load quickly: Mobile users are likely using a slower internet connection, so it’s all the more important that your site loads quickly and isn’t eating up their data plan. There are free tools you can use to test your page speeds, and they’ll give you recommendations on what you can do to make things faster. For example, you can shrink very large images (see below), remove any unnecessary plugins or popups that are slowing things down, and cut down the number of URL redirects you’re using.
Resize and optimize your images: Are the images on your website much bigger than what you actually need? Photographs from stock photography sites and even photos taken with a good digital camera can come with huge file sizes (as in over 1MB)—and this can slow down your website. The good news is you can “compress” them without losing their quality, using a free tool like TinyPNG or TinyJPG. You can also change a photo’s dimensions to make it smaller (for example by making it 800 pixels wide rather than 2000 pixels wide). For more tips and how-tos on images, see our post How to Optimize Website Images for Better Design and SEO.
Use a simple, short navigation menu: If your website has a complex navigation menu with lots of pages and subpages, it will be harder for mobile visitors to find what they need quickly. On an even more practical level, it will be difficult for them to aim and successfully poke the right link with their finger. Making your navigation menu shorter and simpler will help (and, as an added bonus, will make your website easier for desktop visitors too!).
Create clear contact information: Since mobile customers probably want to get in touch, make sure your homepage doesn’t require lots and lots of scrolling to get to your contact info. Also, be sure to put in a phone number and email address that someone could click on, because filling out a contact form on a mobile phone can be time-consuming and annoying.
Show the most important content first: Website visitors want to find the information they need quickly, and that’s even more true when they are on-the-go.
Use large text and buttons: People using mobile devices need even larger text and buttons that you might expect in order to be able to use a website comfortably. The best way to test this is to look at your website in the different View Modes. This will show you how your site appears on different screens, and you can see for yourself how everything looks. Better yet, ask a friend or relative (or someone who wears glasses) to test your website for you and let you know what they think.
Track your mobile page views: Not sure how many visitors are actually coming from mobile devices? It’s easy to check. With Jimdo’s built-in statistics, you can see how many page views are via mobile. By implementing some of the tips above, you’ll likely see that number start to increase over time.
No Flash animations: Flash effects or animations don’t work on iPhones or iPads, so a big part of your audience won’t get to see what’s on your site. If you use Jimdo you’re in luck: our websites all use the more up-to-date HTML5, which is accessible to all types of smartphones and tablets
Common mobile website mistakes
- Never looking at your own website from a mobile device: If you typically work on your website from your computer, it can be hard to remember to check the mobile view once in awhile. But doing so can help you pinpoint any little inconveniences that you might never notice from a laptop.
- Endless scrolling: Go easy on people’s thumbs! Try to keep your web pages short and to the point so that mobile visitors don’t need to scroll and scroll.
- Super-detailed infographics: Infographics are great for websites—but when the infographic shrinks to fit the smaller screen, it can become impossible to read. Be sure to test it out yourself. You might find it’s best to break up one large infographic into smaller, separate graphics.
- Too much text: A paragraph of text that looks normal on a computer screen might come across like War and Peace on a mobile screen. Keep your paragraphs short and break up big blocks of text with bullets, headings, and images.
- Touch elements too close together: There’s only so much a person can do to shrink their fingers—make their lives easier by putting enough space between your buttons and other links so that people don’t accidentally hit the wrong thing.
- Using Flash: Flash effects or animations don’t work on iPhones or iPads, so a big part of your audience won’t get to see what’s on your site. If you use Jimdo you’re in luck: our websites all use the more up-to-date HTML5, which is accessible to all types of smartphones and tablets.
- Requiring people to fill in forms: Let’s be honest; no one wants to fill out a web form from a mobile phone. If you need a form, make it as short as possible. Or better yet, let people submit the information to you another way, like via email or just by calling your phone number.
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