How to make your site mobile friendly.

You can have the best-looking website out there, with the best content and lots of it, but if your WordPress site is not mobile-friendly, it’s going to suffer in the search results.

Having a mobile-friendly site is not just about having it work properly on mobile devices. It’s about speed, build quality, mark-up, schema and so much more!

Where to start with checking the mobile-friendliness of your WordPress website.

1. Check your site speed.

A speed test is probably one of the easiest things to do when you are checking your site.

There are a lot of free speed tests on the internet, but we recommend Google’s Page Speed Insights.

This will give your site a score out of 100 for both desktop and mobile versions.

2. Do a mobile-friendly test with Google.

This free mobile-friendly test is also provided by Google and will check other metrics. It’s designed to be a little less technical than Page Speed Insights.

3. Check your theme and plugins.

If your website theme is not up-to-date or is a large off-the-shelf theme, this may be slowing down your site too. You’ll need to check this is optimised.

Having too many plugins on your site can also slow your site down and make it less mobile-friendly.

Do an audit of your plugins to see which ones you may no longer need, and make sure all of them are up-to-date.

If you’ve done the above and your site is still showing poor scores in the tests above, it’s time to do some advanced optimisation.

There are lots of different reasons why your site might not be mobile-friendly.

The first and most important is the loading time of your pages.

When Google indexes your website (adds your pages to its list of web pages) it will probably do so mobile-first.

This simply means that it is visiting your website as if it were using a mobile device.

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making your wordpress site mobile friendly

Some of the common issues that can have a negative impact on your mobile-friendly test scores.

Your hosting.

If your hosting is not as good as it should be, this will directly impact your site’s performance. Cheap hosting accounts are generally slower and less optimised than more expensive ones. Even the most simple of websites should be hosted on a platform that costs you at least £30 per month.

Your theme.

Off-the-shelf themes and frameworks are great as they allow you to have more control over your website. However, this can come at a cost as they tend to be larger than bespoke WP themes. This is because they try to do everything. Your theme is probably loading lots of Javascript and CSS that you don’t even use, so it’s making your site slow.

These themes can also be hard to optimise as they are very reliant on Javascript and can break when you try and optimise them.

Your plugins.

Large plugins can also slow WordPress sites down. What is important to remember here is that whilst the individual plugin developers do what they can to optimise their plugins, they are not responsible for how many you add to your site.

For example, if you are using a page builder plugin, an e-commerce plugin and an event manager plugin on your site, that’s an awful lot of large plugins, so your site will be slower. Team that up with the theme and hosting mentioned above and your website will run at a snail’s pace.

Your images.

Most themes do what they can to load images appropriately for the device that is being used to view your site, but if you upload 100s of huge images to your website, this can also slow it down.

Video.

Embed, don’t host a video on your site as doing so will simply slow it down, again, this will be more noticeable if you team it up with slow hosting.

Your DNS.

If your DNS hosting is slow, your site is going to be slow because your DNS affects how quickly a visitor connects to your website (before they even see it). Slow DNS can make people go back to the search results to look for another website before they have even read anything on your site.

Render-blocking files.

These are simply files that need to load before your website becomes usable by the person visiting it. The usual culprits here are Javascript, CSS and Fonts.

The more you use, the worse the issue can be and the harder it can be to optimise your WordPress site.

The above covers the basics, but if you want to become even more mobile-friendly, you are going to need to optimise more.

Advanced optimisation to make your WordPress site more mobile-friendly.

There are some simple changes that you can make to your website that will have a significant effect on its performance.

However, because these require some technical know-how, you might want to consult the experts.

Here are the five easiest ways to further improve your WordPress sites’ mobile test scores.

Move to better hosting.

Your website is your 24/7 marketing tool, so hosting it somewhere that charges you £5 per month is counter-productive. We recommend that you should invest at least £30 per month in hosting your site, for a basic website. Larger sites need more resources, so more investment will be required.

Add a caching plugin to your site.

We recommend WP Rocket for caching stuff on your website. It’s a premium plugin, but it’s worth the money as it makes a huge difference and integrates with Cloudflare.

Moving your DNS to a faster host.

Cloudflare is a premium DNS hosting platform with a built-in cache (yes, another one) and additional security options. Moving your DNS to Cloudflare alone can make your site quicker right away. There are paid and free options on Cloudflare, so you can try them before you buy.

Moving your DNS is not something that should be done without full knowledge of what you are doing, if in doubt, speak to the experts.

Compress all your images.

If your site is serving up images that are larger than needed, it’s going to flag issues. This is both in terms of the image dimensions and the file size.

Tools like Smush by WPMU will go through all your images and compress the ones already uploaded and compress new ones as you upload them – this is again something that is not free, but worth the small investment.

Remove unused CSS and JS.

This is a really tricky one as you may not always know what you can or can not safely remove. If you are using a large theme, it may not be possible.

A plugin and theme audit is often the only way to find this information.

Get help optimising your website

To summarise mobile-friendly WordPress sites.

You’ve invested time and money in your website design, build and content, so not bothering with making sure it’s mobile-friendly can harm your rankings and you will miss out on winning potential customers in the search results.

All that keyword research and on-page SEO will also suffer if you don’t get the WordPress SEO basics right.

It’s often said that the design, build and launch of your new website represents only 25% of what you should be doing online, so when your site goes live, the real work starts.

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