Mobile is changing the world. There is no question about it, today, everyone has smartphones that they use to help them not only communicate, message, research but also conduct almost every aspect of their business and manage their personal life.
Let’s look at the numbers, according to World Economic Forum:
Global mobile phone penetration is 96%. In sub-Saharan Africa, where 47% of the population lives on less than $1.25 a day, mobile data use is expected to grow twenty-fold by the end of 2019, according to a mobility study by Ericsson.
It is predicted there will be 930 million mobile subscriptions in sub-Saharan Africa by the end of 2019 – nearly one for every resident. In India, 28% of citizens use a mobile phone, with an average of 2.54 devices per user.
In many countries, including the third-world, the number of smartphones has surpassed the number of personal computers or other technologies of the world, making it imperative and urgent to have a mobile-friendly website if you are to have any impact or create even an ounce to have a strong online presence.
If you haven’t made your website mobile-friendly, you should. The majority of users coming to your site are likely to be using a mobile device. And if you don’t know if your site is mobile-friendly, you can check the google webmaster tools to conduct a mobile-friendly test.
It took a while, but mobile traffic has finally surpassed desktop traffic, with mobile representing 65% of digital media time. A mobile optimized blog is not a good to have anymore, its a necessity if you want traffic and sales. For website and blog owners, it is such a big deal, that in 2015, Google decided to include mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor, and many sites lost ranking because they didn’t have a mobile-friendly website.
In fact, the average non-mobile website dropped 27 spots. So, quite simply, if you’re looking to build a optimized blog for personal or business reasons, it’s important you consider your mobile audience to build your brand and be considered as a top blog in your industry.
Option 1: Choose a Responsive Theme
Perhaps the easiest way to address the mobile optimized (or more commonly known as mobile-friendly) issue is to install a responsive theme on your WordPress blog. These themes are automatically coded to adjust the screen elements based on the screen size of the device used to view the website. While it will look different from a desktop to a smartphone to a tablet, it instantly creates a more user-friendly experience regardless.
In the early days of responsive design, options were limited. Now, because everyone needs to consider this in their website design, you can find a variety of themes and web templates built with this in mind, to suit any niche.
Option 2: Install a Mobile Plugin
If you’re not keen on the idea of completely re-working your blog to match a new theme, there’s always the option to install a mobile plugin on your website, to create a mobile optimized version of your website for you. While not as ideal as the responsive theme choice, it works in a pinch. If you’re using WordPress, some choices include:
- AdMob: Create a mobile-friendly blog with a few clicks, and monetize your blog with AdMob at the same time.
- WPTouch: This is a quick and simple way to create a mobile version of your site in less than five minutes.
- WordPress Mobile Pack: Though not designed to create a mobile-friendly version of your website, this one is still a cool option because it allows you to turn your website into an app.
While these are great options, it’s important consider that plugins need to be updated on a regular basis, and depending on what else you have going on on your website, there may be conflicts. It’s possible your site won’t display as well as it could, which could create issues with the user experience.
If you’re using another blog platform than wordpress, you may have to dig a little deeper to find the most optimum solution.
Testing Your Site for Mobile Compatibility
After you’ve either installed your responsive theme or your mobile plugin, you’ll want to test it to make sure it works well, so you know what your users are seeing. Visit your website on your smartphone and tablet (if you have one) to see what it looks like. If you don’t have a tablet, ask a friend to do it for you.
Then, head over to the Mobile-Friendly Test tool to see how Google sees your URL. Enter your homepage URL, and within a few minutes, you’ll know whether Google thinks you have a mobile-friendly website. You can read Google’s official advice on how to get your mobile site in order
Here Are Some Key Optimization Tips:
- Streamline: Keep your posts easy to skim, using bolded headings if you must write a long blog post. Skip Java and Flash, as these smartphones don’t universally support these technologies. Keep file sizes small, and the number of pages limited.
- Page Speed: Due to hardware and connectivity issues, your website and blog’s page speed has become even more important for mobile users. Not only do you have to optimize all images, you’ll have to go much beyond that. You’ll want to minify CSS, organize your code, leverage browser caching, and reduce redirects. There’s a lot you can do just on this optimization, but here’s SEO Best Practices for Page Speed.
- Consider Instagram: You must include photos to draw in the audience, but there’s always a risk that the photos won’t load correctly on mobile. You can bypass that by using Instagram widgets to handle your photo needs, since it’s already been optimized for mobile use, turning to your advantage.
- Security: This is perhaps the most important and urgent issue. Security Hackers are always looking for something vulnerable to exploit. Therefore, keep everything, including all plugins and WordPress up to date to avoid leaving security holes for hackers to sneak in with. Don’t use the username admin, and if you are, change it right away. Change your password on a regular basis. Check with advertisers to make sure their security is up to snuff before you include their ads on your website.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): Follow all other SEO guidelines on your website, so it’s friendly the search engines regardless of where users are coming from. This means paying attention to keywords, alt tags, file sizes, and more. Remember that you’re working with a very small screen space for a user to conduct searches using a mobile device. Therefore, to ensure your most quality and relevant content shows up and portrays your best work in SERPS, be as direct and concise as possible when creating titles, URLs, and meta descriptions to improve your SEO.
Being optimized for mobile is necessary in today’s Internet usage climate. Gone are the days where you have to consider building a completely separate version of your site at m.domain.com. There’s no excuse for your blog not to be optimized for mobile, so what are you waiting for?
Have you focused on ensuring your website/blog is mobile optimized? What are some key tricks and tips you have implemented that others may not be aware of? Would love to hear your thoughts on what we may have missed, please share what else we should include here. Thanks