How To Make Sure Your Website Is Optimized For Mobile
To help you create a seamless mobile experience for your website visitors, we’ve gathered nine expert tips from various professionals, including CEOs, founders, and designers. From using Google Lighthouse to scan your website to analyzing user behavior with analytics, these industry leaders share their best advice on optimizing your website for mobile devices.
- Use Google Lighthouse for Optimization
- Design for Thumb-Friendly Navigation
- Prioritize a Mobile-First Approach
- Utilize Google’s Optimization Tools
- Choose Readable Fonts for Mobile
- Test Compatibility Across Platforms
- Optimize Visual Content Loading
- Implement Responsive Web Design
- Analyze User Behavior with Analytics
Use Google Lighthouse for Optimization
The best way to ensure your website is optimized for mobile is to use Google Lighthouse. It’s a free Google Chrome plug-in, developed by Google themselves, that will scan your website, both desktop and mobile versions, and tell you if it is fully optimized for mobile or not.
It’s not enough to judge your website by the visual layout alone; you need to know if it meets other requirements that you aren’t able to see at first glance.
Some of these requirements are: accessibility—is it optimized for sight-impaired users? Correctly adding alt text to images and buttons helps users who rely on screen readers to better understand your website.
Another factor is loading speed. Your website needs to load quickly enough for users with older, slower mobile devices. Reducing image sizes and setting up your content to load in a specific order will help reduce loading times.
We can find Google Lighthouse on the Google Chrome Web Store, and it’s a vital part of any web developer’s toolkit.
Sam Robinson, UX/UI Designer, Web Spider
Design for Thumb-Friendly Navigation
Research shows that most users hold their phones with just one hand, which means they navigate and scroll through mobile content using their thumb. A “thumb-friendly” design is a mobile layout that takes this into account.
To implement it, make sure that the mobile version of your website includes all the essential navigation and call-to-action buttons within the user’s thumb’s reach. This requires placing them in the lower half of the screen, but not too close to the screen edges, so that your visitors can navigate and interact with your content with ease.
A “thumb-friendly” design can significantly improve user experience on your website, resulting in higher conversion rates, longer session times, and better engagement.
Maja Kowalska, Community Manager, Zety
Prioritize a Mobile-First Approach
If you’re just starting to build your website, the best step to take to optimize it for mobile is to adopt a mobile-first approach. This means designing your website for mobile devices first and then adapting it to fit larger screens.
One of the major benefits of adopting a mobile-first approach is that it forces you to prioritize the most important content and features of your site. With limited space on a small screen, you need to be sure that everything on the page supports its goal for the user.
Designing around content can also ensure that the website looks consistent across all devices. Rather than having design elements break or look distorted on different screens (mobile, tablet, or desktop), adopting a mobile-first approach allows your website to have a seamless and consistent user experience across all devices.
David Stellini, Co-founder, All Front
Utilize Google’s Optimization Tools
My primary recommendation for ensuring your website is optimized for mobile involves utilizing Google’s own tools: Google Mobile-Friendly Test and Google Search Console.
The Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool enables you to assess if your website meets Google’s standards for mobile optimization. All you need to do is enter your website’s URL, and it will provide you with a clear yes/no answer, plus specific issues if any.
Meanwhile, Google Search Console provides more in-depth analysis, identifying any mobile usability issues across your entire website. Regularly reviewing and addressing these issues will ensure ongoing mobile optimization, and ultimately, a better user experience.
Kevin Hall, Marketing Operations, Webserv
Choose Readable Fonts for Mobile
When optimizing your website for mobile, it’s important to use legible fonts. Many assume that fonts that can be easily read on a desktop will be seen the same way on mobile devices. Of course, you want to use a font that is easy to read, such as most Sans-serif fonts, as these are easy to read at smaller font sizes.
You also want to pick a font size that is easy to read, being at least 19 pixels. From here, you also want to incorporate contrasting colors to improve readability, while avoiding wide use of bold and italic fonts, as these can make your content too difficult to read if used too much.
Bill Lyons, CEO, Griffin Funding
Test Compatibility Across Platforms
Every SEO needs to know how to identify weaknesses in a website’s existing implementation, including where and how to find problems on various screens and devices.
You want to validate your website on multiple operating systems and multiple display devices. This ensures that your website is compatible with the widest possible range of screens and platforms.
But what if you can’t afford a thousand devices to check them? It all comes down to a few apps. There are several apps that can be used to check for these types of issues. For example, we use the Chrome Web Developer extension from Google. This can help you check the appearance of your website on many different screen sizes and resolutions.
Léa Soller, CEO, Digiberries Paris
Optimize Visual Content Loading
Make sure any large images or videos can load quickly. When you’re trying to optimize a website for mobile, it’s important to keep loading speeds in mind. Websites that have high-definition photos or large video files on their main page are likely to load more slowly than those with fewer visual elements.
This can impact your website’s ranking with search engines and damage your domain rating. To avoid any complications with mobile UX, make sure your site doesn’t have slow-loading, high-definition content.
Josh Weiss, Founder and CEO, Reggie
Implement Responsive Web Design
One key step to ensure your website is optimized for mobile is to implement responsive web design. Responsive design ensures your website automatically adjusts and displays appropriately on any screen size, whether it’s a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.
This provides a seamless user experience across all devices. You can also use tools like Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to analyze your site and provide specific recommendations for mobile optimization.
Harish Thyagarajan, Founder, Blogging Nuggetz
Analyze User Behavior with Analytics
Use analytics tools to monitor user behavior on your mobile website, identify pain points, and make necessary improvements. This data-driven approach allows you to understand how users interact with your website on mobile devices, including their browsing habits, navigation patterns, and areas of frustration.
By gaining insights into user behavior, you can optimize your website for mobile by addressing issues such as slow load times, difficult navigation, or non-responsive elements. This continuous improvement process ensures your website is optimized for a seamless and user-friendly mobile experience.
Jason Cheung, Operations Manager, Credit KO