Mobile Responsive Design and WordPress, What You Need to Know

Mobile Responsive WordPress Websites

Mobile responsive websites are all you hear about these days. In the old days (like 3 years ago) you needed to have a desktop and mobile version of your site, or a mobile app if you wanted to account for mobile users. Only extremely large companies with large budgets could afford to have 2 websites built for them so smaller businesses lost out. Another prohibitive factor for small businesses and blog owners looking to take advantage of mobile traffic is that maintaining two separate online entities (desktop and mobile) is extremely time consuming and costly.

This has all changed with the introduction of mobile responsive websites. You can now just have one version of your site and it will work on many different device sizes. A lot of today’s WordPress themes are coming mobile responsive out of the box. This means all you have to do is choose a theme that has this capability and your site will look great on every mobile device right from the start.

Why this matters to WordPress users

Every year more and more people adopt the use of smart phones and tablets. With such an increase in traffic to websites from smartphones and tablets it is important that your site look good for these users as well. Using mobile responsive technology you can ensure that they will have a great experience on your WordPress website no matter what device they are using.

The idea behind mobile responsive design is to provide a great user experience on your site no matter what screen size or operating system being used. The page elements should resize and shift accordingly to give the user the best and easiest browsing experience possible. Traditionally cellphone users would need to zoom and scroll to navigate a website. When your website is mobile responsive this is not necessary because page elements will move, resize, and accommodate the smaller screen sizes making it easier on the viewer.

Another great benefit of using a WordPress theme that is mobile responsive is they are easier to maintain than having both a mobile version/mobile app along side a desktop website. Before mobile responsive WordPress themes you would need to make your changes to all the different versions. This can be time consuming and costs more money. Having a website that is designed to be mobile responsive alleviates all of these issues by giving you one place to make your changes. One website to maintain is a beautiful thing!

How to check if your WordPress site is mobile responsive.

The quickest way to see what your website looks like on a smaller screen size is to grab a mobile device and look at it on there. Is the content easy to see or do you need to zoom and scroll a lot? If you have to zoom and scroll a lot then your WordPress site is not mobile responsive.

Another way to test is to resize your browser window while looking at your site. Do the elements move to better fit the smaller screen size or does everything stay where it is? A good example of this in action is the site you are currently on, pretty cool right?

What to do if yours is not!

Don’t worry, all is not lost. It is not time for you to throw your entire site out the window. WordPress uses a template based system so you can simply change your template (let’s call it an upgrade) to a theme that is mobile responsive ready.

The genesis framework child themes for the most part are mobile responsive right out of the box. All you do is install genesis, then install the child theme and you have a mobile responsive WordPress website. If you are a bit more adventurous and want to create your own child themes using the Genesis framework it will start out mobile responsive.

Looking for something free? While the genesis framework is great it does come with a cost. Studio press offers amazing support, so you end up paying more for the the theme and framework. There are free mobile responsive themes out there, just the support, security, and quality is not the same. Here is a very solid free mobile responsive theme. http://wordpress.org/themes/responsive

But I don’t want to change my theme. If you love the way your site looks and don’t want to change your theme, well it could still be made mobile responsive. You will need to hire a developer; this can be quite expensive as it is quite time consuming to make the conversion. You also could try looking for a newer theme that has the same look and feel, but comes mobile responsive.

Another route you can take is to hire a developer to make you a theme that is mobile responsive and looks just like your current site. You will be getting a new website so this is a great time to add on any new features you have always wanted to have. The cost will be more expensive then the above options, but that cost will be offset by the better user experience you give to your visitors which will result in more traffic and ultimately more conversions.

Is your WordPress website mobile ready?

If it is and looks great on all screen sizes leave a link in the comments for all to see.

Have a favorite site that has a great mobile device ready layout? Leave a link in the comments for these as well.

If you know of anyone that is not using a mobile ready WordPress theme share this article so they can learn how to take their site out of the stone age!

Great comments from great people:

  1. says

    Great post! I had never looked at my website on my phone – so I had no idea what I would find! I knew it looked good on an iPad . . . but my Android phone is so tiny . . . I was worried. Imagine my (very nice!) surprise when the layout looked great! I appreciate your tips on how to check – and what to do if the site DIDN’T look good!

    http://systemsavvyconsulting.com

    Lisa

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