How to Design and Build a Mobile Website
A 2016 study showed that more than 50% of internet users accessed online content through mobile and tablet. That is unlike in the past when desktop computer users were the majority. This paradigm shift prompted industry developers to reevaluate their approach. That statistic proved to be the turning point because since then, the scope of mobile usage has grown tremendously.
That said, building a mobile version of your website has become a necessity. Mobile visitors to your site comprise more than half your total traffic. That means that having a mobile version of your website is an absolute necessity. Failure to which you might end up missing more than 50% of your projected earnings through your website. Besides, Google and other search engines have subsequently prioritized mobile-friendly sites in their search results. That is because shoppers have turned to their mobile devices to make transactions and surf the internet.
All the factors mentioned above contributed to an increase in expenditure on mobile commerce from $300 billion in 2016 to $600 billion in 2018. That highlights why you should keep abreast of how to design and build a mobile website. Having a mobile site is merely striving to have mobile users access your website with the same experience they would have when using a desktop, but without compromising your website’s functionality. Fortunately for you, it is quite simple to design and build a mobile website. Read on to find out.
Why is building a mobile website a necessity?
Until recently, designing a mobile website wasn’t a priority, except for the mainstream corporations, tech companies, and large businesses with a global reach. But with the emergence of advanced technology, coupled with a shift towards e-commerce, all that has changed for good. Currently, without a mobile-friendly website for your business, you stand to lose more than half of your overall traffic, hence 50% of your projected revenue. The following are some of the reasons why having a mobile site is a necessity. They include but are not limited to:
A mobile website is more accessible to clients.
Regardless of where they are, smartphone users can access the web whenever they want and wherever they are. They don’t have to be at the office to order merchandise online from their desktop PC. For this reason, creating a responsive mobile website design is a necessity for it to be accessible at any moment regardless of the device (smartphones or tablets).
A mobile website makes up 50% of all online store sales.
Mobile e-commerce has grown tremendously. That is because shoppers are increasingly turning to their mobile phones to shop and surf the internet. That is unlike in traditional times when browsing was confined to desktop computer sites. Overall, shoppers and potential customers aren’t bound to their offices or homes looking for your website on their laptops. Instead, they are out and about travelling or walking around town, making a mobile site the most convenient.
Google ranks sites highly with great mobile functionality.
Google gives preference to mobile sites with good functionality. Research by MENA indicated that 93% of internet users use Google whenever they are searching for something. If your mobile site is SEO optimized and has a responsive design, it is more likely to be identified by Google and hence favoured when displaying search results.
To improve user experience.
Unlike traditional desktop sites, mobile websites are more flexible in the configuration. When you shift a website layout from a desktop computer to a mobile or tablet, view the orientation changes to a vertical configuration, which aligns contents differently.
The fundamental reason you should build a mobile website is to have a responsive design that fits the webpages and pictures on to every screen, regardless of what gadget it is. Furthermore, research by MENA showed that the adjustment from horizontal on a desktop to vertical on a mobile or tablet provides less demanding website navigation. That is what your prospective customers would undoubtedly expect.
There are an estimated 4 billion smartphone users worldwide.
The number of people who have access to smartphones has doubled since 2010. This number continues to grow, and so does the mobile web. In a nutshell, let’s say if the mobile web were a stock, then now would be the most appropriate time to buy.
The basics of designing and building a mobile website
Whether you are looking to have a mobile-friendly version of your website or starting from scratch, you should be relieved because you can achieve simple steps. Having a mobile website means that a version of your website displays quickly and responsively on a tablet or a mobile device. That may entail you having to alter the quantity of content on display, the size of buttons, and even your website’s orientation.
First and foremost, you need to ascertain whether or not your website is mobile-friendly. To do so, you will have to enter your web address into Google’s website testing tool, and it will give you that result. Now, if you find out that your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you can take the following routes based on your set budget:
Use Google Mobile Optimizer
This option will present you with the easiest and quickest ways to optimize your site for mobile viewing. However, this tool created by Google will create a flat and non—customizable site. As such, it is not the ideal thing to do if you’re looking to come up with a polished and more customizable mobile website version of your site. Therefore, it is recommended that you use the following tools if you are looking to recreate something more exotic.
Use your web builder.
There are many website building options online that you may have used initially to develop your website, such as WordPress, Beaver Builder, Drupal, among others. So, if you did use one of the software mentioned above, you could stumble upon a mobile site optimization feature.
If you developed your website using WordPress, you could be lucky because WordPress has a plug-in called WP Touch, which you can use to customize a mobile version of your website. This plug-in offers extra features that are designed to create unique mobile websites and online vending stores. Besides, most plug-ins you will find with web developing tools will offer numerous responsive and mobile-friendly themes.
That said, if you used other website developers such as Wix and Squarespace, then there are a few steps you can follow to optimize your website for mobile viewing. Squarespace, for instance, allows for easy mobile optimization. All you will have to do is check the settings and head to their drag and drop workflow to provide all the templates to use at every stage. The best part of it all is that you wouldn’t need any coding knowledge to optimize your website for mobile viewing.
Use a mobile website builder tool.
This option works best for those who want to create their mobile website from scratch. Nevertheless, a mobile website builder is a tool that newbies, rookies, or non-technical aspiring website owners can use to create a mobile version of their website that resembles their actual desktop site.
The downside to this is that the site is only accessible by users on mobile devices. Regardless, if a user tries to access the same site using a laptop, it will redirect and display the site’s desktop version. Sounds cool, right? If you are a beginner, this is probably what I would recommend you do.
Anyone can use the tool to build the site. Once you have configured both versions of your website, depending on what device the user is accessing the site with, the tool will detect it and present the correct screen resolution. By doing so, your website will automatically open and adjust its resolution and dimensions of the device on which it was accessed.
Use a website builder with a responsive web design (RWD)
An alternative way to go around this is to use a website builder tool that has mobile-friendly templates. These templates are developed using the responsive web design technique. This technique means you can design a website to display correctly on any device by adapting to the device.
As such, the website will automatically respond to the device that is accessing it. That means you will have one adaptable version of a website that is responsive on both the desktop and mobile viewing orientation. The only downside to it is that you will have to build a website from scratch using the tool. But once you are done building your website, you can go ahead and publish it without necessarily building a different version. That is because your website will be well suited for display on any screen and device.
Use an adaptive web design (AWD)
Contrary to the responsive web design, adaptive web design used distinct layouts for every device and screen size. For instance, if you access the website using a tablet, you will get served with pages that meet your tablet’s needs.
For this reason, most website developers use adaptive web design options to build three different websites; one for desktop viewing, one for smartphones, and the other for tablet viewing. The work involved in building a website is tripled. That is because you will have to create three versions of your website to be on standby for every device that accesses it. That is unlike the RWD, which is a single solution that adjusts itself for all devices.
Time to design your mobile website
Once you have determined the type of platform you want to build your site on, you can now have the mental clarity to design your site. It doesn’t matter whether it is a personal, business, portfolio, or e-commerce website. You will have to follow the standard procedure involved in designing a website based on your niche. The designing procedure for mobile sites is similar to that of a desktop site, only that you will have to bear the following in mind:
- Mobile devices are generally less powerful than desktop PC or laptops.
- Mobile users have limited bandwidth at their disposal.
- Mobile users would want your website to offer quick and relevant information.
Once you are done designing your website based on the above user-friendly aspects, you have to test your website.
Test your new mobile website version
Testing your mobile website version has a lot in it. First and foremost, you have to try accessing it on both desktop and mobile devices to see any functionality and display changes. It is ideal to feel by yourself firsthand to see if it is easily navigable and enjoyable overall. The aspects to look out for during site testing are whether:
- The site gives feedback whenever you touch the screen.
- The website is easily navigable.
- The content that matters to your visitors is easily accessible.
- The path taken by your site users is clear for everyone, regardless of disability.
You can assess the user experience by testing aspects like speed and ease of touch or navigation. To test speed, you can use Google Page Speed Insight. If you get positive checks with Google and your firsthand experience, then, Bingo, you have finally made your website mobile-friendly.
Having a mobile site is less of an option lately. The truth is that if you don’t, then you are bound to lose more than half your customers and your revenue alike. The ideal option for a beginner is to use a mobile website builder to create a mobile website. That is because this option will offer you the opportunity to create something unique or more polished. Besides, the tool will provide responsive templates that offer significant mobile site viewership.