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Outdated desktop-only website designs lead to slow load times, awkward layouts, and unhappy mobile visitors taking their business elsewhere.

But here’s the good news:

Crafting fast, polished mobile experiences is very achievable through responsive design strategies tailored to portable screens.

By implementing a few purposeful enhancements and customizations, you can cater to audiences however they choose to access your brand online.

And this user experience you create matters more today in a mobile-first world. Mobile website traffic made up 58% of all traffic in 2023, with tablets taking an extra 2%.

In this blog, we’ll give you 14 tips to make your website mobile-friendly. And if you use WordPress, check out our guide on making your WordPress website mobile-friendly.

Benefits of making a mobile-friendly website

The benefits of making a mobile-friendly website

Before we dive into the best practices for making a mobile-friendly website, let’s cover why you should:

Better organic visibility

Google prioritizes mobile-friendly pages within its search results, elevating a website’s organic visibility. So, optimizing your website for mobile phones and other devices aligns with modern search standards.

The reason is pretty straightforward, too — there’s been a significant shift in search behavior, with more searches happening on smartphones than on desktop computers in recent years. Google’s algorithm reflects this trend, assuming mobiles represent the primary mode people use to find information online.

Additionally, faster mobile page load times can improve engagement metrics, further boosting your rankings. By aligning with modern usability expectations, you can earn bonus points with Google’s algorithm.

Incorporating mobile-friendliness into your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy goes beyond just staying current. It’s a strategic move to capitalize on easy visibility rewards.

Faster website loading

An analysis of over four billion web visits showed that the websites with the fastest loading times across various niches also boasted stellar mobile optimization. Speed itself is a pillar of positive mobile experiences and engagement.

Several best practices address shortcomings in the mobile experience, like minimizing page weight or enabling browser caching. These practices directly accelerate website loading metrics that Google weighs heavily in rankings, beyond mere portable layout testing.

Essentially, speed matters for both desktop and mobile versions of websites. But the stakes are even higher for mobile sites, as modern visitors have limited patience for poorly performing pages. By ensuring both speed and mobile readiness, your website can experience synergistic SEO wins.

Improved conversion rates

Nearly 33% of mobile visitors report common frustrations like slow-loading webpages, the need to tap tiny buttons repeatedly and incompatible website layouts. Fixing these issues can decrease your website’s bounce rate, leading to increased mobile conversion rates.

Implementing a responsive design ensures your website automatically adjusts to fit smaller screens. This empowers visitors to scroll and tap with ease, and pages resize fluidly without pinching or zooming. On top of that, clear calls-to-action (CTAs) put desired actions, like email signups or purchases, right at users’ fingertips.

By streamlining these simple aspects of the mobile experience, you encourage visitors to stay on your site, rather than leaving in frustration.

How to make a website mobile-friendly

Making a website mobile-friendly means ensuring it fits different device sizes through responsive web design, fast loading speeds and streamlined navigation for easy tapping.

To achieve that, you can use flexible images, compressed files, caching, simplified menus, wide touch areas and a responsive theme. Here’s how:

1. Compress images

Large image files bloat page size, contributing to sluggish mobile load speeds. When images lack proper compression, websites make phones work harder than necessary to display visual content.

To address that, use advanced compression technology to optimize visual assets and accelerate page loading.

Tools like TinyPNG or ShortPixel help condense JPGs, PNGs and even PDFs without perceptible quality loss. These tools reduce megabytes to kilobytes by eliminating unnecessary pixel data.

Screenshot of the TinyPNG website.
Image Source

You can also automate the compression process during upload by using plugins like Smush. Converting complex PNGs to simple JPG equivalents can further reduce size, as the JPG format is more effective in color reduction.

2. Optimize button size and placement

Tiny screen sizes make tapping small page elements accurately challenging on touch devices. Ensure CTAs like Email Signup or Add to Cart buttons are prominently sized and strategically placed for error-free clicking on mobile.

A good example of this is the buttons on Bluehost’s mobile-friendly website.

According to industry best practices, tap targets should be a minimum of 48 CSS pixels wide and tall. Increase these minimum dimensions whenever possible, and position buttons in easily accessible spots like fixed bottom bars instead of burying them in menus.

Also, pay attention to spacing to prevent users from accidentally tapping multiple buttons simultaneously. Testing various button placements through heatmaps provides insight into the most intuitive locations.

Getting the button size and position right for mobile devices removes unnecessary friction during important on-site interactions.

3. Create a responsive layout

A responsive layout ensures your website displays smoothly across all devices. To make your site mobile-responsive, use a flexible grid framework like Bootstrap or Foundation. These frameworks offer templates to resize page elements according to screen width.

Screenshot of Bootstrap’s homepage.
Image Source

Elements like images, text sections and buttons snap into place for optimal viewing on mobile devices. Use CSS media queries to apply different styling rules based on the device, such as stacking columns vertically on phones and arranging them side-by-side on desktops.

Setting relative length units like percentages or ems also enables adaptive resizing. With this approach, your website adjusts fluidly to different screen sizes without the need for horizontal scrolling or strained viewing.

4. Replace Adobe Flash with HTML5

While Adobe Flash has historically powered rich web content, it lacks mobile support. To avoid inconveniencing visitors with missing elements or plugin requests, replace legacy Flash-based features with their flexible HTML5 equivalents.

Modern HTML5 features, such as canvas, scalable vector graphics, drag-and-drop APIs and pre-coded JavaScript libraries enable complex animations, video players, games and interactive forms that work across devices. With cross-device coding standards, newer frameworks enable the development of responsive, immersive components.

This simple fix not only improves performance but also ensures that multimedia mobile experiences match the desktop-caliber interactivity.

5. Minimize pop-up interruptions

While pop-ups can generate leads, excessively interrupting mobile visitors with pop-overs hinders customer experience. Imagine browsing a website on your phone, and every 10 seconds, a pop-up takes over the entire screen, prompting you to subscribe to a newsletter.

Over time, this becomes frustrating as you’re just trying to find information.

To enhance your website’s usability, consider minimizing pop-ups for mobile visitors, reserving them primarily for desktop users. Or present special offers at natural breaks during site navigation, such as between page loads.

6. Increase website speed

For a seamless mobile experience, your website must load rapidly anywhere. Slow loading times frustrate visitors and hurt engagement metrics. Start by enabling browser caching and compression techniques to reduce page weight through code minimization.

Host images on a content delivery network (CDN), ensuring quick delivery from servers in close proximity to users. Defer nonessential JavaScript tasks with async tags to prioritize above-the-fold content loading. Then, measure your results using Google PageSpeed Insights or WebPageTest, aiming for a loading speed of under three seconds.

Optimizing mobile speed boils down to:

  • Compressing files
  • Serving resources from a CDN
  • Prioritizing visible content
  • Removing unnecessary code
  • Caching assets locally

Even shaving off milliseconds makes your website snappier. Remember, mobile users expect websites to load within three seconds — faster speeds convert more customers.

7. Use large, readable fonts

On small screens, selecting the right fonts is crucial to ensure comfortable reading without the need to squint or zoom in. Set body text in fluid units like percentages or ems, allowing effortless resizing across devices. Additionally, use sans-serif fonts like Arial or Helvetica for maximum legibility.

For paragraph text, aim for a scalable size between 15-25 pixels, with 18 pixels striking an ideal balance between size and length. Headlines can stretch larger, ranging from 25 up to 36 pixels, to effectively communicate key messages.

Testing different fonts and sizes right within mobile browsers provides instant feedback on text readability. Making the right font choices eliminates unnecessary effort for visitors by making it easy to scan content.

8. Use proper link spacing

Packing links tightly may be suitable for desktops but can pose a challenge for accurate tapping on small mobile screens. Provide sufficient breathing room between links to enable precise interactions.

Break up dense blocks into separate rows to avoid overcrowding. If global navigation links must stack vertically on mobile, expand the spacing between them. Here’s an example of a well-executed design from Bluehost’s website with optimal link spacing:

Also increase tap targets and font sizes for a better user experience. Optimized padding prevents mobile visitors from accidentally tapping multiple links simultaneously — a common frustration. While condensing links may save space, usability suffers without sufficient spacing on a touchscreen.

9. Simplify and declutter web design

Some desktop websites brim with menus, widgets and notifications, slowing down loading times and complicating mobile navigation. Instead, streamline your web design by cutting nonessential modules.

Use minimalist frameworks like Tailwind CSS, which offers mobile-first constraints and styles to maintain crisp interfaces. Ensure crucial site functions remain easily discoverable without having to sift through visual noise.

While decluttering may seem counterintuitive, an excess of features can distract mobile visitors from core actions like purchases. A simple and clear design can go a long way to achieving your website goals efficiently.

10. Incorporate mobile SEO strategies

Mobile optimization and SEO complement each other, as they improve your organic visibility. Beyond implementing a responsive website design, focus specifically on boosting mobile visibility and engagement.

Start by submitting both mobile and desktop versions of your website to Google Search Console for indexing. You can then move to other practices (e.g., optimizing SEO titles and meta descriptions to suit small screens).

Here’s a checklist of SEO best practices for a mobile-friendly website:

  • Submit mobile pages to Google Search Console for proper indexing
  • Optimize for fast page speeds on mobile devices
  • Structure content with a clear visual hierarchy focused on actions
  • Craft descriptive yet compact page titles and meta descriptions that fit small screens
  • Refine on-site user flows for higher mobile conversions

By optimizing your site for mobile usability and SEO, you can reach and engage most of your target audience.

11. Implement Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP)

Google prioritizes the placement of Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) designed for speed. Speed is critical for mobile user experience, and adopting AMP frameworks enables faster loading of your mobile website.

A screenshot of Google’s explanation of accelerated mobile pages.
Image Source

By streamlining code and pre-loading page elements, AMP enables pages to load extremely quickly. Although creating separate AMP versions of key pages requires additional development, the visibility benefits make the investment worthwhile.

For optimal impact, start by implementing AMP for high-value landing pages, such as product descriptions, top-level categories and popular blogs. Optimizing page speed for these critical entry points will make the mobile experience flawless.

Using AMP to minimize load times allows websites to engage and convert more organic mobile traffic, serving as an impactful enhancement.

12. Emphasize content hierarchy for mobile viewing

On small screens, visitors consume content in focused, scannable chunks instead of in paragraphs. Adjust page layouts to highlight visual hierarchy, calling attention to key messages first.

Lead with bulleted lists for bite-sized skimming. Break long-form content into multiple columns, spacing information for comfortable reading without requiring scrolling marathons.

Guide visitors through layouts using descriptive headers that summarize sections, supporting targeted content discovery. Leading with value demonstrates respect for mobile visitors’ time.

13. Streamline forms

Lengthy forms hamper the mobile experience because of small screens and tricky tap targets and hamper conversion rates due to increased abandonment. Simplify form completion in a way that requires just a few comfortable thumb taps.

For instance, see how Bluehost uses single-column layouts on mobile forms. This kind of layout minimizes unnecessary friction and frustration:

To enhance usability, size form fields sufficiently, with input targets, buttons and touch areas of no less than 20 pixels, giving customers ample space to enter data.

Testing directly on target devices and addressing points of difficulty through iterative redesign helps maximize usability and conversion potential. Plus, tailoring forms to the context of mobile users reduces the abandonment rate and ensures a user-friendly experience.

14. Test your website on mobile devices

Once you’ve built a mobile-friendly website, ongoing evaluation across actual user devices like iPhones, Androids and tablets is key to prevent changes that may harm the user experience. A mobile-friendly test helps you identify layout, HTML or speed issues before they impact your visitors.

Thoroughly test your site’s responsiveness by manually resizing your browser window to a smaller size, down to 320 pixels wide. As you decrease the width, check that your site remains fully functional without requiring horizontal scrolling at any point.

Additionally, ensure visual consistency through direct testing on both iOS and Android devices, rather than relying solely on emulators, to replicate real mobile contexts.

During testing, navigate through pages to assess display targeting and link spacing. Combining hands-on testing with analytics data, which segments engagement metrics by device and operating system, provides actionable insights for maintaining your website’s mobile-friendliness.

Final thoughts: How to make a mobile-friendly website

Implementing mobile web design best practices creates engaging mobile experiences that convert more visitors. However, executing responsive site design and advanced mobile optimization alone can be challenging.

Don’t just upgrade to mobile-friendly — optimize for mobile excellence with Bluehost’s shared hosting solutions made for today’s mobile world.

Tap into our library of hundreds of responsive themes designed to transform websites into compact yet polished formats across device types. From theme selection to website speed configuration, our shared hosting plans empower supremely adaptable mobile websites.

Sign up today to build a mobile-friendly website easily.

  • Devin Sears

    Devin is a Senior Event Marketing Manager for the Bluehost brand. He is our brand steward for all things Bluehost and WordPress. You'll always see him supporting Bluehost at WordCamps around the world!

    Education
    Brigham Young University
    Previous Experience
    Social Media, Customer Experience, Field Marketing, Sponsorships, Event Coordinator
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