In this digital age of being always “switched on”, you would naturally assume that any website built on any platform would be 100% mobile friendly, but that isn’t always the case. WordPress websites, like many other websites built on different platforms, do require some additional optimisation to ensure they tick all the boxes for being used on mobile devices and tablets.

Now – it should be noted here that all WordPress themes are mobile-friendly, even free ones, so the basics are there in terms of WordPress websites being responsive (this means the website being able to automatically adapt depending on the device being used). However, this doesn’t mean the more complex aspects of a mobile friendly website are automatically catered for, so what do web developers need to work on to make sure everything is in place?

Media file sizes – large images or files on a website slow down site speed and can lose it marks for its mobile friendliness in the eyes of a search engine and a user. Keeping image or media sizes in check is key to preventing this being a problem; something most developers know a lot about.

  • Media scaling – media/image scaling helps to improve site load speed and, as such, user experience. This really helps to keep a website mobile friendly and aid usability. WordPress does automatically scale large images, but certain plugins will also help with smaller files if required.
  • Site speed – ensuring a website loads quickly and properly is key to achieving good usability, but also makes a big difference when it comes to being mobile friendly. Slow loading websites, or elements of websites, will detract from its overall mobile friendly score. This is a key area for developers to keep on top of.
  • Plugins – plugins form the very backbone of a WordPress website, but its important to keep on top of them. Keeping plugins you no longer need or poorly coded plugins can slow down a website, which can deter mobile users and annoy search engines.
  • AMP – AMP – aka Accelerated Mobile Pages – allow websites to load up to 85% faster than “normal pages”, as they are stripped down copies of existing content and tend to load almost instantly due to the restriction of HTML/CSS and JavaScript. Setting up a website with AMP in place is something that needs to be done properly, or else risk running into validation errors.
  • Mobile caching – enabling mobile caching (the serving of cached/optimised pages to mobile visitors) helps to keep a website mobile friendly. This will need setting up on new site builds and perhaps on existing websites if not already in place.
  • Render blocking resources – these are elements like scripts and stylesheets that slow down page content from loading on a screen. Mobile friendly websites need to have minimal render blocking resources to keep site speed up.
  • Responsive menus – these are menus that snap to fit whatever device is being used. Trying to load a non-responsive menu on a mobile site can slow the performance down and make it harder to use.
  • Text sizing – mobile users do not like having to squint or read text that runs off the page. Ensuring text scales to the device and is appropriately sized is key to having a mobile friendly website.
  • Clickable elements – “Clickable elements too close together” is a common complaint seen by web developers when it comes to mobile usability and search engines, especially Google. This means that clickable elements on a page, like a button or a link, is too close to other elements and can cause users to accidentally click on wrong parts of the website.

If you’re looking to launch a new website, or redesign an existing one, addressing the Mobile Friendly element is not something we’d recommend doing on your own. We’ve always got time for creative or technical chat – call us 01256 881637 to discuss our WordPress design and build services.