How Do I Know If My Website Is Mobile Friendly And Fix It If It’s Not?

How do I know if my website is mobile friendly and what does it mean?

Mobile-optimized websites are essential to your website’s success. This post shows you how to see if your website is mobile-friendly and what not having a mobile-friendly website means to you. This includes how you can make your website mobile-friendly if it’s not.

Designing a website to work well on mobile devices and computers isn’t as easy as a new WordPress theme or tacking on a mobile site version. These solutions will do the bare minimum but aren’t a good long-term solution.

This post will address your options and help guide you in the right direction for determining if your website is mobile-friendly and how to test and account for a full mobile-friendly experience for users of your website.

What does mobile-friendly mean?

It means that your website is compatible with mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, and desktop computers, all from the same version of the website. So, when you load the website, it doesn’t matter what device you’re on; the website should look good (as long as it was designed well).

Mobile-friendly websites are easier to use on a phone or tablet, load faster than non-mobile sites, and are designed well.

To check if your site will work well for users on all devices, first, you need to know how to tell if your website is mobile-friendly. Just because your website will open on a mobile device does NOT mean it’s mobile-friendly.

When mobile devices were first introduced to the mass market (by Steve Jobs), websites were not mobile-friendly. This was back in 2007 when the iPhone was first introduced. It was expected that the user would have to double-tap to zoom in on parts of a desktop-optimized website.

Check out this clip of Steve Jobs introducing the first iteration of mobile browsing on a mobile device. The website looks horrible, but that was expected back then. There were no mobile-friendly sites. There are many websites out there that still look like this or worse.

New York Times Website from iPhone launch in 2007

If yours looks like this on a mobile device, it’s not mobile-friendly. But, the first step in correcting that is checking if your website is mobile-friendly. So, you’re moving in the right direction by seeing how your website fares on a mobile browser.

These are the solutions we have today for what mobile-friendly means for a website.

Responsive Design

For a good reason, responsive web design is the most popular and versatile solution for mobile-optimized websites. It works well and improves web design because it forces a (good) designer to think in terms of mobile rather than just creating for desktop.

A single website is displayed on all devices, including laptops, desktops, tablets, mobile phones, and everything in between. Rather than designing a separate site for each platform (which would require you to maintain multiple sites simultaneously), a responsive design makes the website work well on all devices without remaking the entire website. A single code base can be used to create a site tailored for display in whatever device it’s being accessed from.

Here’s an animation of a responsive website in different sizes.

Responsive Website Animated Example

Responsive web design uses media queries that let the designer tell the browser where stuff is placed based on the screen size, which is called breakpoints. So, an image might be displayed beside some text if the screen size exceeds 768 pixels. The text might drop below the image if the screen is smaller than 768 pixels. This is all done dynamically, so you can see the website adjust as you shrink and expand the browser viewport (as displayed above).

This approach enables users accessing your website from smaller screens (such as smartphones) to access the same information they’d find if they were viewing it on larger displays like traditional computers but perhaps presented slightly differently.

Adaptive Design

This is similar to responsive design in that it adjusts what’s displayed based on the device’s size. The main difference is that once the page loads, it’s static at that size. So, if you load an adaptive website on a desktop browser and resize the window, the website will still stay large, and the website won’t look good.

That’s okay, though, because typically you’re not resizing a browser a lot while opening pages. The part where it may create a challenge is on a smartphone if you turn it to landscape mode. Then the website might not look as good as it should.

Adaptive websites may not even resize after a refresh. If you’re using a desktop browser, you may be stuck with that view, whereas if you view the website on a phone, you’ll get a completely different view.

Amazon is an excellent example of an adaptive website. You’re stuck with that size for most elements when you load it on a computer. The website extends outside the browser window. It looks and works great on the desktop!

Amazon website on desktop and smartphone.

The same website doesn’t look great if you shrink the browser window on a desktop computer.

The Amazon website on a desktop computer with the window too small.

It looks pretty bad, and the content extends out of the viewport. That’s adaptive design, but it’s a bit more rigid. Not as many websites use adaptive; for most websites, responsive is better. However, adaptive web design still has its uses for creating a mobile site.

Separate Mobile Site (m.)

This isn’t a solution that exists much anymore. The more favored solution is simply to have one website that works on all screen sizes and then point users to a mobile app if it exists. Amazon again does this. If you’re on a mobile device, you’ll see a message at the bottom of the screen recommending you download their app.

But, so you know about this version, it’s where there are two distinct versions of a website. The main version is a regular or, which loads when you’re on a computer. If you’re on a mobile device, you’re redirected to an entirely different website, usually with the domain

This is a terrible solution by today’s standards and creates many SEO headaches. Search engines hate duplicate content passionately, so you must carefully redirect each page correctly. I wouldn’t recommend this solution to anyone.

Mobile App

For big companies, a mobile app may be a popular way to provide mobile-friendly content. Of course, they’d likely still have a responsive or adaptive website (such as Amazon).

For most companies, a mobile app is out of the question and completely unnecessary. You may wonder why, when statistically, most users prefer apps. That’s only true to a certain extent because most app usage is only a handful of apps from major companies (think Facebook and Twitter).

Outside those major companies, websites are how content is typically accessed because those popular apps open websites to access external content. Think about it: Many people use Facebook, but what are they opening up on it outside of conversations? Content from websites!

So, while a mobile app is a mobile-friendly way of providing content, it’s expensive and, for most companies, utterly useless because people aren’t going to download your app. Instead, they’ll just access your content through an app like Facebook.

How do you know if your website is mobile-friendly?

There are several ways you can determine if your website is mobile-friendly. Here are some options to check if your website is mobile-friendly and has a good user experience for users on a mobile device.

Use Your Browser

This is an easy mobile-friendly test. Simply load your website up, grab the side of the window, and drag inwards. If your website is responsive, you can tell immediately because your content will adjust and look good regardless of size.

This is an example of us discovering that our website is, in fact, responsive!

A responsive website in action.

But this method can tell you immediately if your website looks good at all sizes and is responsive. One thing it doesn’t guarantee, though, is that your website isn’t mobile-friendly if it doesn’t respond to your browser squish.

Your website could still be mobile-friendly, so fret not; just continue with a different method if it looks terrible when squished in a desktop browser.

Use Your Mobile Phone

This one is pretty foolproof because if your website looks good on your mobile phone, it’ll look good for others. You just have to be sure not to be too generous about your website looking good.

Make sure you browse around and check out how good it looks and if it’s even usable. Sometimes, even if the website generally looks good, buttons are too small, and font sizes are unreadable.

Visit more than your home page, too. Use the navigation, scroll down, and even fill out a form or two. Thoroughly test rather than just taking a quick glance. If you ever need to zoom in or anything, your website is not mobile-friendly.

There should be no need to squint, zoom, or double-tap. It should just look great on your phone, no matter what.

We’ve thoroughly tested our website and think it is easy to use on all devices.

Loclweb mobile website scrolling.

Use A Mobile-Friendly Test Tool

There are many tools out there to test if your website is mobile-friendly. These are automated tools, and they do the heavy lifting for you. You just have to type in your website.

There are 3rd party testing tools and many Google tools to test. The Google tools will be next. These are independent testing tools.

  • Bing Mobile Friendliness Test Tool – Just type in your website URL, and it’ll crawl your website. You may get an error that some resource is blocked by robots.txt, but that’s okay (see below), some things should be blocked, and it doesn’t affect your website. Your website is mobile-friendly as long as the first four boxes are green.
  • Experte Mobile Friendly Test – This tool might be our new favorite. It will crawl your entire website and show all the pages in their mobile form. It takes a while to run, but it’s worth it. You’ll see a page with all pages of your site tested visually as they show on a mobile device and a flag if they’re mobile-friendly or not.
Bing Mobile Friendliness Test Tool

Google’s PageSpeed Insights

The Google PageSpeed Insights tool isn’t as much a mobile-friendly test tool as it’s an overall website speed and structure tester. It’s a pretty complex way to test mobile-friendliness, but a web designer and developer should use it to optimize a website as much as possible for mobile.

Even many of Google’s websites don’t pass, but that’s neither here nor there. It will tell you how fast your website loads on a mobile and desktop device, which is essential to know. Your goal should always be for your website to load in less than 3 seconds. On mobile, that’s sometimes not realistic, though.

Use Google Chrome Lighthouse

This one is similar to Google PageSpeed Insights. If you’re using the Chrome browser, you already have the tool. Open up the developer tools in Chrome and click the Lighthouse tab.

How to access Google Chrome DevTools

There, you can generate a report and see how fast your website loads for mobile devices and what you can do to make it more mobile-friendly.

Why is mobile usability critical?

Nearly everybody in every country has a smartphone in their pocket. It’s an extremely popular way to find local businesses, especially for consumers who aren’t always in front of a computer, like business users.

These are some reasons why mobile usability is critical to the success of your business and business website. There are some reasons why you can’t ignore the importance of mobile-optimized websites online.

Mobile Searches Have Officially Exceeded Desktop Searches

Mobile-friendly websites are critical because searches from mobile visitors increasingly exceed desktop searches at a growing pace, which equaled 63% in the 4th quarter of 2021, according to Statista.

That means you’re more likely to have mobile visitors on your website on a smartphone than on a computer.

Those statistics should be taken with a grain of salt, though. If your website serves a B2B crowd, visitors still predominantly visit your website from a desktop.

As an isolated example of a B2B website, the Loclweb website received 64.41% of traffic from desktops instead of mobile or tablets. So, the percentage is almost a direct inverse of B2C websites.

Mobile User Experience Matters for Getting Customers Online

Mobile user experience is vital for your brand’s image and future relationships. The mobile revolution has taken over our lives, so we can’t imagine what the world was like before it happened.

Companies must be aware that users now spend less time looking at websites on desktop computers and more time on their phones. According to Statista, consumers spent an average of 3 hours and 40 minutes daily on mobile devices in 2015.

The statistics also show that only 10% of people use mobile browsers and 90% use apps. Keep in mind that all apps have a mobile browser built-in (the system browser), so the honest number of people browsing mobile websites is much greater than the statistics show. In fact, it can be argued that most of the content viewed in the Facebook app is from a website that doesn’t belong to Facebook.

With the number of visitors to your content from mobile devices, you must focus on providing mobile and desktop visitors with a great user experience. This includes responsive design implemented for all platforms, plus social media.

More People Buy Stuff From A Mobile Device

As consumers become more comfortable using their mobile devices to do business, the number of people who prefer shopping on their phones rather than computers will continue to rise. According to Zippia, as of 2021, 79% of smartphone users have used their mobile devices to make a purchase.

Mobile-friendly sites play an essential role in this trend because they give mobile visitors instant access to your products and services, no matter where or when they shop. This is why it is essential to have a mobile-friendly site that reflects your brand’s values and helps customers find what they’re looking for. When done correctly, a mobile-friendly website can increase the likelihood of conversion by 34% or more!

Mobile SEO Affects Local Search and Voice Search

Mobile SEO has some nuances that are slightly different from desktop SEO. It’s not just about optimizing for mobile; you must also ensure Google and other major search engines index your website’s mobile version.

Optimizing for local searches requires a different approach as well. You have to ensure your business listings online are up-to-date in major directories (Google, Yelp, etc.). A local marketing automation tool can make this easier for you and make your local marketing efforts more effective.

Always ensure the same link to your website is in all directories so they show higher in searches when people look for your business using keywords related to locations or services you offer. Voice search will only grow more popular for basic searches, including local ones because it’s easier to ask verbal questions than to type an entire search.

My site is not mobile-friendly. What should I do now?

If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you have options. It’s not always necessary to rebuild your entire website, but the best experience will be delivered if you do. This section will help you make your website mobile-friendly.

Most other solutions for making a website mobile-friendly are simply a poor bandage. In fact, if your website is custom-built, not on a major CMS (Content Management System), it’s nearly impossible to make your website mobile-friendly without a complete redo.

You have a few options if your website is built on the WordPress platform. Remember, though, that even these options aren’t as good as a complete redesign for a mobile-first website focused on the mobile user experience.

Choose the type of mobile website you need and have it created.

This article covered the different types of mobile-friendly websites. So, you need to decide (or consult with a web designer) which option is best for you.

A responsive website will be your best solution in almost all cases today. They’re more affordable than the other solutions and work better in most circumstances. too. For all small businesses, a responsive website is absolutely the best solution.

Stick with responsive web design unless you have a specific reason to use any other method.

But what if you have a WordPress website that’s not mobile-friendly?

How can I make my WordPress site mobile-friendly?

Making your WordPress site mobile-friendly isn’t as hard as you might think if you have no money to invest in a new website. If you have any money to invest, you absolutely should, even if you only have $800. An affordable responsive website isn’t as expensive as you think.

WordPress separates your website’s content from the visual aspect, which the theme controls. Jetpack used to have a mobile theme that you could use in conjunction with your theme, but they’ve since deprecated it.

So, your only option is to change your WordPress theme to a responsive theme.

Once you take care of all that, your website will not look amazing unless you design it, but it will at least be mobile-friendly.

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