Stop me if you’ve heard this before but it’s a fact these days that mobile devices are being used more than desktop PCs now to access the internet. In fact, depending on the sector and location website visits can be up to 60% for mobile users.
Perhaps what you didn’t know, is that search engines now rank your website higher if it’s optimised for mobile devices than if it’s not. So, what can you do about it? Below are some tips for how to ensure your website stays ahead of your competition.
Responsive website design been around for a few years now but there are still many websites that have a one fixed size no matter what device it’s being viewed on. Responsive design is the adaptation of the layout to fit the device viewport. In fact, given the above mobile browser stats, a website should be designed around the mobile user first and then adapted to fit larger screen sizes such as laptops and desktops.
Designing with the mobile user in mind should ensure you keep the design layout and content simple. Mobile visitors can be short of time so you need to serve up the information they are looking for in an easy-to-use way or you could lose a customer.
Page load speed
Another aspect of mobile-first is ensuring your website pages load quickly. Users could get frustrated waiting for your content to load. Google will also rank your website better if it loads quicker so it’s a very important factor to consider. If your page has bloated coding or images that are too big, the page load speed will be compromised.
Excess web coding can be caused by hacking a website theme or template too much. The best way to ensure your website is built with speed in mind is to have a bespoke website design and build. A clean build will load quicker than one than has been designed for a broad use and then adapted to suit your requirements. However, if your budget is limited, try to find a layout that doesn’t need to be changed much and doesn’t have excessive features that you don’t need.
One of the main reasons for poor page load speed is large image file sizes. The bigger the file size the longer it will take to load. The best way to improve image load speed is to ensure it is set up in the correct format. Using a 2000px wide image on a mobile width that is less than 500px is going to take longer to load than necessary. For large banner or background images make sure you load a different image for mobile than larger devices. Another technique you might consider for large background images is to filter the image with a colour overlay. This will allow you to use a higher level of compression without showing pixel loss.
Once your image is at the right size you must save it in the best format for optimisation. For instance, jpeg is the most commonly used file compression as smaller file sizes can be achieved. Pngs allows transparency when the image needs to sit on a coloured or photo background. If it doesn’t need transparency then a jpeg will likely be smaller. When it comes to gifs, the rule is that unless its used for animations then this file format is considered outdated.
Finally, let’s look at the new kid on the block – svgs. This is a newer file format that uses vector co-ordinates instead of pixels to render your image. Most likely used for logos and illustrative images and can significantly reduce the file size compared with other file formats.
More detail about image optimisation is provided by Google.
Another powerful way to speed up your website is caching. Caching plugins are available for platforms such as WordPress that create a static version of your content and deliver it to visitors. This can reduce your page loading time significantly. You could see an improvement in overall website performance of around ten times.
This article comes courtesy of Crisp Design, the Essex-based agency specialising in bespoke website design and build. Feel free to reach out to the firm for more advice about optimising your website for multiple devices.