Responsive Web Design ≠ Mobile. How Mobile Optimization Works

Oliver Pfeil Last updated 21.10.2020
6 Min.
mobileoptimization
Last updated 21.10.2020

In this article I will explain the difference between "responsive" and "mobile enabled" and how to optimize your website for mobile devices. You will also learn some very cool tricks to improve the loading time of your WordPress website so that it loads quicker.

More and more people go mobile on the internet. This creates new opportunities and of course also a rethinking, regarding the topics "responsive web design" and "mobile optimization for the website".

Why mobile optimization?

Before I show you concrete optimization possibilities, I would like to briefly discuss the "why" with you. In doing so, I will go into the two most important reasons in more detail:

Reason #1:

More and more people are using mobile devices (smartphones and tablets). In contrast, computers and notebooks are being used less and less. This is especially true for private use when searching for a specific problem, topic, solution, restaurant, product or service.

Every website operator should adapt to this change. Because only if your website is optimally displayed on the mobile device, your visitor will stay on site and book a product or service with you.

Reason #2:

For Google, how your website performs on mobile devices is a ranking criterion. The following two aspects are extremely important:

  • Is the website completely responsive?
  • What is the load time of your website?

The better you do in these two aspects, the more plus points you will get and ultimately the better your ranking in search results will be.

What is the difference between responsive and mobile friendly?

On many websites it is written that you only need a responsive design and then everything is fine. However, I have a completely different opinion here and that's why I would like to focus on this point in particular. Because exactly at this point you can perfectly optimize your website for mobile devices.

The basic procedure is as follows: For example, a website operator installs a responsive Theme for a WordPress website. This is usually the end of the matter for him. In my opinion, however, this is where it really begins. Because a responsive Theme only means that the design automatically adapts to the respective end device. This is the basic requirement and accordingly very important.

A responsive Theme only means that the design automatically adapts to the respective end device.

The next step is to view your website on a tablet and smartphone. You will quickly see if the responsive design looks professional and inviting. Because it is often the case that the mobile optimization was not carried out despite a responsive design.

For this I would like to give you a few examples, which you have surely noticed on some websites:

  • The font of the headline is way too big.
  • The font of the body text is too large or too small.
  • The line spacing is too large.
  • Images are displayed too large or too small.
  • Certain formatting is not displayed correctly on the mobile device.
  • The navigation is difficult to use.

This list could be much longer, of course, but I think you get my point here.

Even if these aspects are not optimized, you have a responsive website, which Google also evaluates positively. However, you should really take mobile optimization seriously for your visitors and pay attention to these aspects and have them optimized by your programmer.

Responsive web design: Browser tip for mobile optimization

Usually, you have a smartphone and maybe a tablet. However, if you want to check your website with different mobile devices, you will quickly reach your limits. However, there is a very simple solution for this. If you use the Google Chrome browser, you have a built-in function for this.

You can display your "responsive web design" for many different devices. To do this, right-click and select "inspect" from the menu that appears. A console will open and you can select mobile devices (see screenshot). The browser will then show you how your website is displayed on certain devices.

responsive webdesign mobile devices testing

On the following website you will find instructions on how to use this function of the browser.

Tips: Optimize WordPress mobile

If you use WordPress , the following tips will be very helpful for you. Thanks to WordPress you can perform many optimizations with a Plugin or an internal function. This makes your work easier and saves you time:

  • The basic requirement is a responsive Theme. I recommend you to choose a premium Theme for WordPress . This costs a few dollars, but you have much more possibilities. In addition, a premium Theme is usually better programmed, from which you also benefit.
  • If your Theme needs optimization in the mobile view, you have 2 options. Either you change the Theme or you optimize your existing Theme. For the optimization you can use a child Theme . Ask a programmer to implement the optimizations for you.
  • Meanwhile, there are many Theme builders, with which you can really easily create your desired design and thus optimize WordPress mobile. Examples are Thrive-Themes or also Divi.

If you are new to the topic of WordPress , but find it interesting, you can check out the following. On this site you will find a WordPress tutorialin which you will learn all the important basics about this ingenious content management system.

Use internal links in the text

Now let's move on to a little insider tip that is enormously powerful: Link to internal topic-relevant subpages in the text on your website. This way, your visitors can easily navigate through your website. Especially smartphone users prefer to easily click on a link in the text instead of searching through the burger menu.

By doing this simple optimization, you're creating several positive things at once:

  • Internal linking is a ranking factor on Google.
  • By linking internally, you make it easier for your visitors and they feel more comfortable on your website.
  • On average, your visitors will view several subpages of yours, which increases the time they spend on your website. And this is also a ranking factor that will have a positive effect.

Charging time for mobile devices

Now we have talked a lot about the topic "Optimize website for mobile devices". There is one more aspect that you should also consider: The topic of "load time optimization". In my opinion, this topic is particularly important for two reasons:

  1. The load time of your website is a Google ranking factor.
  2. The longer your website load time, the more visitor abandonment you will have.

Especially with mobile visitors, this has an enormous impact, since the loading times are always slightly longer compared to the desktop environment. Here are 3 concrete tips on how you can optimize WordPress in terms of loading time for mobile devices:

#1: Pictures:

Images take up the largest percentage of the loading time. Accordingly, you have the greatest leverage here. The most important thing is that you upload the images to WordPress in the exact size in which you will also embed the graphic. This already saves file size and reduces your loading time.

In addition, there are now gigantic tools with which you can further reduce the file size of your images fully automatically. You can set yourself whether the quality should be maintained or reduced a little. For this I recommend the following two WordPress -Plugins:

ewww image optimizer optimize images

With some Plugins for image optimization you can also automatically generate WEBP images. This is a brand new format from Google that reduces the file size while maintaining the same quality.

#2: Caching

The second important point concerns caching. I don't want to go into too much detail because you don't need the background knowledge.

The point is that database queries are not made every time your website (or a subpage) is called up. Thanks to "caching", a copy of each subpage is stored on your server and is thus available much faster because no separate queries have to be performed.

My Plugin-recommendation: WP-Rocket. WP-Rocket is easy to use and completely set up in a few minutes. In addition, the Plugin offers other optimizations with which you can save additional loading time.

#3: Clean up plugins and themes

Admittedly, this tip sounds very banal, and it is. Nevertheless, it is effective:

I recommend you to uninstall all Plugins and Themes, which you do not have in use. Disabling alone is not enough.

This also keeps your system clean and every additional extension carries a certain security risk. Over time, many Plugins and Themes creep in that you don't really need.

On my website you can find a free video series on how to speed up WordPress . These tutorials show live on screen which settings you have to set where.

Conclusion: Mobile optimization is worthwhile for ...

The internet is evolving at the speed of light. There are many interesting topics and maybe you are now asking yourself, is mobile optimization actually worth it for me? Well, of course you have to decide for yourself. However, I recommend you to optimize your website exactly in this direction:

  • Optimize website for mobile devices
  • Improve and optimize loading time

A website is THE figurehead that works for you 365 days a year. And in order for your flagship to serve its purpose, it needs to be polished regularly. Ms a recommendation: polish your website for mobile devices and you will surely benefit from it.

Contributed image: Le Buzz @Unsplash

Oliver Pfeil helps people create a successful and profitable website with books, e-learnings and courses. His areas of expertise are WordPress , web design and online marketing.

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