Why your website must be mobile responsive

Mobile responsiveness isn't just a nice feature for your website to have. It's a must. We'll show you how to get it there.
Aug 3, 2020 • 6 minute read
Technical Co-pilot
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Making your website mobile responsive is a must

As a result of the exponential growth in the number of mobile phone users, the level of mobile internet usage is outpacing desktop internet usage. With the growing trend in multi-screen usage, more developers are recognizing the need to develop websites that are responsive or mobile friendly.

Incorporating a mobile responsive design into your website enhances user experience and can bring more traffic to your site. A responsive web design ensures that the user can be able to access the website’s contents regardless of their device, and that the contents are able to load at a normal rate.

The advantages of responsive web design

One of the main goals for anyone with a website is to provide visitors a good experience, and draw more traffic. According to Statista, as of January 2020, about 52% of all global internet traffic was on a mobile device. That means your site needs to provide mobile visitors a good experience.

Now, there are two ways you can do this. One is to create a separate website for mobile users, host it on a separate domain and automatically redirect all mobile traffic from your desktop site to your mobile site. The other way is to make your existing site mobile responsive.

The latter option is much, much better. There are a few reasons for this. First, hosting all your content on a single, mobile-responsive domain means you don't have to create two sets of pages for everything on your site. Second, since Google has flagged its move to mobile-first indexing, this means it's increasingly going to favor sites that are mobile responsive. That means your search rankings will increasingly depend on how mobile friendly your site is.

With a mobile responsive design, a website’s pages are designed to scale to fit the device in use. That means users don't have to zoom in to view your content. Also, with responsive design, it's easy to identify the sources of traffic and further evaluate users’ interaction with the website, which would be considerably challenging when using separate designs for the website and the mobile device.

The cost for both developing and maintaining a website that's mobile responsive is considerably lower in the long run compared to maintaining two different sites. It's also much more efficient in terms of development time. With responsive design, the idea is to apply a one-stop approach that requires one administrative interface for all devices.

How to tell whether or not your site is mobile responsive

Here's an incredibly easy way to tell whether or not your site is mobile responsive. Pull out your phone and type in your site's web address. Does it just look like a shrunken version of your desktop site? Do you have to scroll from left to right to see all the content? It's not mobile responsive. Basically, if contents appear larger than the screen, text appears too small to read, or links are positioned too close to each other it's a good indication your site isn't responsive.

Another way to accomplish this is to load your desktop site in a Chrome browser. Now right click anywhere on the page, then click "Inspect." A pane will open on the right side of the screen.

get info google chrome

It'll be mostly filled with a lot of HTML that might look confusing. Don't worry about that. Look for the icon at the top left of the pane that looks like a mobile phone and tablet. Click that, and it'll show you how your site looks on mobile. Again, if it doesn't scale to fit a mobile screen size, it's not responsive.

Finally, if you want to do things the complicated way, you can right click on your page and click "View page source." This will open a new tab displaying the page's HTML and CSS code. If it's mobile responsive, you should be able to do a Ctrl+F and search for the word "responsive" or "@media" somewhere on the page.

How to make your site mobile responsive

One way of ensuring your website is mobile responsive is by creating an ease of transition from one device view to another. This is possible through shrinking (compressing) and stretching the images and CSS. Compressing the higher resolution images on the site increases its speed, reducing the loading time especially on mobile devices.

A fluid grid is helpful in terms of compressing the site. In essence, a fluid grid allows the developer to size the elements in a way that's responsive to different sizes. With a fluid grid, the contents of the site respond to the grid, which normally does not contain fixed sizes.

Also, adding the viewport Meta tag to your website’s HTML enables the browser to fit to the device size. Setting the viewport Meta tag ensures an easy transition from the desktop to the mobile device in the sense that it manages the website’s appearance on a mobile device.

It's also important to include touch screen actions for mobile phone users alongside the mouse option for the desktop while designing the layout of your website.

When developing the site, ensure that the font sizes are large and the size of the buttons are enlarged. Given that the mobile device is smaller than the desktop, it's important to design the site in a way that a user finds the same level of comfort on either device. By using enlarged buttons, the user is able to navigate the site with ease. It's also essential to use larger font sizes to ensure that the user is able to read the contents without having to zoom and without straining their eyes. Also, use standard web fonts as opposed to applying fonts that the user will need to download.

Avoid using Flash on your website because many Android and iOS devices don't support it. In addition, Flash often slows your site down.

Other factors that should be addressed to make the website more responsive include eliminating the auto correct option as it can be frustrating and tedious to mobile device users, avoiding or eliminating irrelevant cross-links on the site as they undermine the site’s authenticity, avoiding redirects that are faulty and uploading unplayable contents, eliminating app download interstitials and avoiding blocked JavaScript, CSS and image files.

One of the most effective ways of making your website responsive and ensuring that it remains responsive throughout is by performing regular tests. This can be done by either browsing regularly on different devices such as the desktop, tablet or phone to check the site’s functionality. Also, request friends, employees or family members to browse the website on different devices and analyze their feedback.

How to get a freelance web developer to help you

OK, we understand we dumped a lot of information on you there, and if you're not technically minded, it can seem pretty confusing and overwhelming. And make no mistake: making your site mobile responsive requires technical proficiency, and it's time-consuming. Fortunately, it's a relatively easy task for an experienced web developer. If your site isn't responsive, you should consider hiring a freelance web developer to help you.

One way of getting a freelance web developer to help you make your website more responsive is by ensuring the allocated budget is enough to cater for the whole project to avoid getting the website half done. It's also important to be aware of the mobile friendly product you want incorporated in your website. This eliminates time wasting due to indecision and shows the developer that you know what you want.

A good web developer will understand how to avoid problems like mobile-only 404s and irrelevant crosslinks. They'll also know a good breakpoint for your site. A breakpoint is the screen size at which your site switches from the desktop to the mobile view. Make it too big and users on small laptops will end up with your mobile view. Make it too small and users on smaller tablets will end up with your desktop view. A good web developer will know the best point at which to send users to your mobile view.

Final words

Mobile responsiveness isn't just a nice feature for modern websites. It's a must. If your site isn't responsive, work with a web developer as soon as possible. You'll see your rankings improve, your site visitors sticking around longer and — most importantly — your sales and leads increase.

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