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6 tips to optimize a website for mobile traffic

With mobile traffic now representing such a vast portion of all internet usage, it’s important to ensure that your website is well optimized. Sites display differently according to the size of screen and type of browser they’re viewed on. This can play havoc with your design. Mobile optimization means developing a website that looks just as good on the small screen as it does on a desktop.

#1 Use a responsive theme

Responsive themes are the most important design decision you can make when optimizing for mobile. Rather than forcing you to do all the work yourself, a responsive theme adapts to the browser it’s being viewed on. This means that it will look totally different on a smartphone than on a desktop. Crucially, this change happens automatically and with no input from you. Responsive themes are the go-to choice for any website that needs to look good on mobile; from newspapers to blogs and even online pokies.

#2 Scale down images

Images cause problems on smartphone devices. Remember that users will be browsing on the move, using cellular data that costs money. The longer a website takes to load, the more data it uses, so many users will simply navigate away and look elsewhere. Websites will always need images, but try to keep them to a minimum and keep them small. Compressed images cut loading times, catering to the mobile audience.

#3 Pick a minimalist design

Fingertip navigation isn’t as intricate as using a mouse or laptop touchpad. As such, if a website is cluttered with links and buttons, users might find it hard to navigate. Use a minimal design with lots of white space. Include adequate paragraph and line spacing (making text easier to read on the small screen) and make navigation options clear.

#4 Beware plugins

Plugins work well on desktop websites, but not all of them are supported by mobile browsers. Even those that do work may be buggy or slow (similar to how images consume cellular data). It’s best practice to remove plugins altogether from mobile sites. If you really must keep them, be sure to perform careful compatibility checks.

#5 Enable AMP

AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages) is a Google-developed system that allows you to strip your website down to the bare essentials. The tool produces mobile-friendly versions of a site by removing images, plugins and tweaking site layouts. It delves deeper, too, making adjustments to the HTML and JavaScript. AMP is an invaluable tool if you want to develop a site that’s truly optimized for mobile devices.

#6 Rethink popups

Popups are an intriguing proposition. They’re beloved by web designers and advertisers alike as they make a big, instant impression on visitors. Users, on the other hand, tend to loathe popups as overly invasive. When designing for mobile, you should keep popups to a minimum or remove them altogether. Not only do they slow down loading times, but in some cases they’ll break, remaining on the screen and rendering the website unusable.

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