If you still run a non-responsive website, your online venture has a serious disadvantage. 60% of the UK’s surfing is conducted on mobile devices, mainly smartphones, where non-responsive websites are notoriously difficult to read. Mobile visitors often abandon these sites as soon as they land, which means you could be losing up to 60% of your traffic. At the same time, search engines have been downranking non-responsive sites since 2015, which reduces visitor numbers even more. If you’ve not yet updated to a responsive site, this post will help you to put things right.
What Is a responsive website?
A responsive website is another term for a mobile-friendly site. In other words, it has been designed and developed to appear differently on different devices. It can tell what device someone is using and renders itself to display in the most appropriate format. This way, whatever device is being used, all the content of the site appears in a way that can be viewed, navigated and interacted with easily.
Why responsive websites are important
By switching to a responsive design, all the negative impacts of a non-responsive site are reversed. Your site will rank better on search engines and users will stay on site for longer. This ultimately leads to increased traffic and better conversion rates. At the same time, you are offering customers a much better browsing experience which encourages them to return to your site and like you on social media.
Here are our nine tips for getting a responsive website.
- Check how responsive your WordPress site is
The starting point for creating a responsive website is to check how responsive your site already is. You may find that only specific elements need adapting rather than needing an entire website update.
There are a number of good online tools you can use for this and most of them are free. The first tool you should use is Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test. Simply type in your website’s URL and it will test how easily visitors can use your site on a mobile device.
The good news is that if you pass the Google test, your site will rank better on Google and other search engines. If it does not, you may need to open the site-wide mobile usability report. To do this, you need to have a Google Search Console Account and have your website listed under your account. This is free to do and provides a wide range of useful resources for website owners.
Get to grips with CSS and HTML
CSS and HTML are essential for creating a responsive WordPress website. The CSS coding is needed for the HTML elements that make the site display differently on different devices. By using a combination of CSS3 and HTML5, developers can create incredible designs that work responsively on computers, phones and tablets.
If you are not an expert with coding, don’t worry, we’ll show you alternative ways to get responsive lower down.
Use grids for a mobile-friendly design
A responsive site must adapt to any screen size and grids play an important role in enabling the content to resize in a way that fits the screen. If you are seeking a grid system for your responsive layout, try Bootstrap.
Optimise your site’s images
Getting images to fit different screens is one of the most challenging problems for responsive site developers. To achieve this effectively, it is important to optimise the images in order to reduce any scaling issues. It can also help with reducing bandwidth, too.
The coding for creating responsive images is relatively simple:
Use JS and jQuery for functionality
Choose a responsive theme
If you’re not a developer and don’t want to mess around with your site’s coding, the easiest solution to getting a responsive WordPress site is to install a responsive theme. Virtually all new themes for WordPress are now responsive and many themes that were originally non-responsive have been updated to make them mobile-friendly.
While installing a new theme may require you to spend time to get everything looking and working right, once this is done, you can relax in the knowledge that it will render appropriately on all devices.
Use responsive plugins
Whilst a responsive theme will provide you with a mobile-friendly site without the need for coding, you may find that some of the plugins you use are not responsive. If these are used to display content on the screen, for example, gallery or slider plugins, you may find that this content doesn’t work well with mobiles. The same can apply to other plugins, such as menus.
You should always check that any plugins you use are responsive before installing them on your site. Read the plugin description carefully.
Responsive websites are essential if you want your online business to succeed on today’s mobile-centric internet. Hopefully, this post will have provided information to help those with and without coding skills to make the necessary changes to their WordPress sites in order to make them useful for people searching on mobile devices.
If you use WordPress and are looking for secure, high-performance and reliable web hosting, check out our cloud-based WordPress hosting packages.