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How to make a website mobile-friendly: everything you need to know

How to make a website mobile-friendly

The increasing use of mobile devices continues to reshape  internet habits, as more people opt for mobile experiences each year. Websites are now more frequently accessed on mobile rather than desktop. Major search engines like Google now adopt a mobile-first search environment, especially as emerging markets make the shift to mobile apps, bypassing desktop sites.

Whether you just started creating a website or are considering enhancing your current mobile site, this article covers everything you need to know to prioritize your mobile viewers. Discover what mobile website design is, the benefits it brings and some crucial web design best practices for how to make a website mobile-friendly. Implementing these tips should help you expand your reach, especially since about 60% of users access the internet via mobile devices

What is a mobile friendly site?

A mobile-friendly website is easy to access and navigate on smartphones or tablets. These sites have a simplified design for smaller screens, making them more accessible than on desktop computers or laptops with bigger screens. They are also designed to load quickly and perform well on slower internet connections.

To achieve this, understanding the difference between responsive vs adaptive design is key. Responsive design focuses on flexibility, with a single website format that adjusts fluidly based on the device's screen size. On the other hand, adaptive design involves creating a dedicated mobile website. This site is tailored for mobile devices and can be reached by visiting a mobile-specific URL like

Learn how to make a responsive website with Wix Studio.

Benefits of a mobile-friendly website

Here are 18 tips you can implement now to build a website that works as well for your mobile visitors as it does for your desktop users.

18 tips for how to make a website mobile-friendly

01. Start with a mobile-first approach

A mobile first design focuses on designing user experiences for mobile devices before adapting them for desktop. By tailoring design and development for mobile initially, you ensure your website is optimized for smaller screens and remains responsive as display size increases. With this approach, you prioritize the needs of your mobile users, who are likely the majority of your audience.

Accessing the mobile editor on Wix

02. Choose a mobile-responsive template

A responsive layout allows your website to adjust its size to suit the user's device. It can switch between screen sizes, showing relevant content while adjusting the design -- like moving from a two-column website layout on a computer to one-column on a phone. If you use a responsive design, it shouldn't slow down loading times when changing to different screens. 

A responsive website can boost search engine optimization (SEO) because Google favors mobile-friendly sites in search results. Google's algorithms prioritize mobile-rendered webpages for ranking, upping the ante for mobile-friendly websites. For those new to website building or less tech-savvy, Wix offers customizable website templates with built-in mobile-friendly capabilities.

Mobile and desktop site version side by side

03. Avoid using Flash

Flash is often used for animations, but isn't supported on mobile devices, so it's best to avoid it. It's better to use HTML5 and CSS for a more responsive and mobile-friendly site. HTML5 allows you to perform online actions without browser plugins, embed media and create animations supported by mobile devices. 

04. Improve the site’s speed

A website's page load speed is the time it takes for a page to fully load when a visitor goes to that site. Optimizing the load speed is crucial for improving user experience, as slow loading times can drive away visitors and hurt conversions. High speed may influence rankings, so it's important to take necessary steps to boost your website speed. Check your website load time using free tools like Google's PageSpeed Insights. If you notice it's a bit slow, here are some suggestions to help speed things up:

  • Reduce the number of redirects: Clicking on a URL usually leads the server to redirect you to the intended page. Each redirect delays the page load speed as the browser needs to request the server for each one. To speed things up, cut down on redirects. Simplify by using URL shorteners or linking directly to the page you want.

  • Check your web hosting plan: The quality of hosting and servers significantly impacts your website's performance. Opt for a fast and dependable hosting website to ensure your website runs at its best speed. 

Wix editor page layout optimizer

05. Use fonts that are easy to read

Choosing clear, simple fonts helps users on the go easily digest your content, boosting readability and engagement with your site. Plus, a good font selection enhances your site's appearance, making it more professional and trustworthy.

Check out these tips for choosing the best website font:

  • Stick to standard fonts: Prevent delays caused by font downloads on visitors' browsers, which can slow down your website loading time, particularly on mobile.

  • Adjust font size for mobile: The desktop-recommended font size of at least 14 pixels might not suffice for smaller screens. Test it on a mobile device to ensure legibility.

  • Opt for black text over multiple colors: Ensure visibility, especially with varying backgrounds or outdoor light reflections.

  • Utilize limited space effectively: On mobile, bold or capitalize text lines to prevent merging, as spacing out text and images like on desktops may not be feasible.

06. Optimize images for mobile viewing

Mobile devices have limited bandwidth compared to desktops, so large image files can slow down loading times. Additionally, many mobile users have data restrictions, making smaller image sizes beneficial in conserving data usage. When working with mobile sites, the aim is to keep image sizes as small as possible without compromising quality. Here are some tips to help:

  • Size your images: High-resolution images take up a lot of space causing slow load times. Wix sites compress images to webp, the optimum type for web performance.You can also use an image resizer to reduce the file size so they load faster without negatively affecting the quality of what people see on the site.

  • Adopt lazy loading: Loading all images on a page at once can slow down the initial page load, especially on pages with numerous images. Wix sites use lazy loading to load images only when they're about to come into view. This means images aren't loaded until the user scrolls to the area where the image is located.

  • Use percentages instead of pixels: Having images set in fixed-pixel margins can lead to issues on smaller screens with different mobile resolutions. When images don't scale down properly, visitors might have to scroll horizontally as images exceed the screen width.

07. Space out your links

When designing a mobile site, think about how touch devices and mouse clicks work. Since fingers are thicker than desktop cursors, it's essential to space out links further apart on mobile sites to prevent misclicks. When you do link out to pages, try to only link to web pages that are also mobile-friendly for a seamless experience.

08. Implement the viewport meta tag

If your page appears at the same width on your phone's small screen as it does on your desktop, viewers will scroll awkwardly from side to side to read each line of text and view different parts of the page.

By using the viewport meta tag, you can manage the width and scaling of the viewport to ensure your website displays correctly on all devices. Wix uses the meta tag: <meta id="wixMobileViewport" name="viewport" content="width=320, user-scalable=yes">. This tag prompts the browser to display the page on a canvas that's 320px wide when accessed on a mobile device. Since most mobile devices display 320px well, the browser won't need to do any scaling, which helps the page be mobile-friendly.

09. Shorten forms and disable autocorrect

Typing on mobile devices can be a hassle, so it's best to keep forms on your site short and straightforward. Limit the number of fields required for form completion and utilize autofill options for common information like name and email address. If your website has forms requesting name or address details, a simple way to aid mobile users is by disabling autocorrect for each field. This avoids frustrating corrections that could slow down the form-filling process.

10. Avoid large chunks of text

Reading large blocks of text on a mobile device can be overwhelming, leading to user frustration or disinterest in the content. To make your site more mobile-friendly, break text into small, easy-to-read paragraphs and use bullet points or numbering for easy scanning. Add relevant headers that help readers quickly spot key points or sections. Use white spacing to highlight key points, avoid cluttering text and give enough space between words and succeeding lines.

11. Strategize CTA buttons

Buttons are essential website design elements, especially when prompting a call to action (CTA). Opting for larger buttons helps mobile users easily tap the screen and navigate between your site's pages. Since most mobile users navigate using their thumbs, buttons should be large enough to hit with a thumb.

Consider these guidelines when designing buttons for a mobile-friendly website:

  • Apply contrast: To enhance button visibility, consider using contrasting website color schemes. For example, opt for a light color for the button text, a dark color for the button itself and a contrasting color for the surrounding area. Another effective method is to introduce a different color for the button’s border.

  • Optimize the button size: Buttons that are too small can be hard to press, while overly large buttons might take up too much space on a small screen. Keeping buttons around 10mm by 10mm ensures they stay readable and optimized for mobile users and their varying fingertip sizes.

  • Maximize button position: Most people typically use their dominant thumb for interactive tapping. To make it user-friendly, position buttons within easy thumb reach, usually in the lower right part of the screen.

Wix editor mobile view toggle

12. Incorporate a search function

With limited screen space, it can be challenging to fit all your website's essential information on the mobile version. By including a search function, users can easily find what they're looking for without navigating through multiple pages. This also helps improve user experience and reduces frustration caused by endless scrolling or clicking numerous links.

13. Declutter your web design

When designing a mobile website, make sure to keep it simple. Complex sites with a lot of information can be confusing on any screen, but they're especially tough for visitors on small screens to navigate. Stick to minimal text and images and ensure easy navigation. Follow these recommendations to streamline your mobile design:

  • Prioritize critical functions: Present only the essential functions upfront, since those are what users actively seek. Avoid overcrowding a website with numerous calls to action on one page. Stick to the vital functions users would actively search for, like the contact form.

  • Optimize menu design: Avoid long lists of options and features in menus. Instead, consider using a hamburger menu—a button that opens a longer menu. This approach saves space and reduces clutter, especially on smaller screens.

Hiding elements for mobile on Wix editor

14. Make the website compatible with both orientations

One of the advantages of mobile devices is being able to switch between portrait and landscape orientation. Ensure your website is designed to function correctly in both orientations, so users can comfortably navigate through your site no matter how they hold their device.

15. Simplify navigation

When users grab their smartphones, they're usually after something specific—a quick answer, a restaurant's address or a customer service number. In these cases, they want to find the information they need as fast and as easily as possible. Consider what your mobile visitors are hunting for and make sure it's easy to spot on your mobile homepage. Use analytics to know what mobile visitors seek. In Google Analytics, you can add Mobile Traffic as a Segment in the Behavior section, allowing you to see how mobile visitors interact with your website. 

16. Eliminate text-blocking ads and pop-ups

Mobile users have limited screen space, so it becomes frustrating when ads block the webpage content they're trying to access. Text-blocking ads and pop-ups can also hinder navigation, making it difficult for users to find what they came for. Most visitors won't bother searching for the tiny X to close the pop-up—they'll simply click away to another site. Instead, opt for minimal or no ads on your mobile website to provide a better user experience design.

If you must use them for promotional purposes, do so strategically. Make sure the pop-up only appears when users have scrolled to the bottom of the page, not immediately upon landing. Additionally, ensure the close button is prominent enough for users to easily locate and click. Alternatively, consider using other website elements like a less obtrusive top banner for promotions, coupled with a reasonably sized close button.

17. Provide an option to switch to desktop view

In some cases, mobile visitors may prefer to view your site in the traditional desktop layout. To accommodate these users, provide them with an option to switch to the standard view if needed. This can be achieved through a simple link at the bottom of the page or a toggle button on the menu.

18. Test the website on real mobile devices

Regular testing is the best way to catch small issues that create a worse experience for your visitors. Every so often, pull up your website on your phone and tablet and spend some time browsing to see if anything’s hard to see or difficult to do. Be sure to test using both Android and iOS devices. With a Wix site, use the Editor to preview mobile and desktop views. You can also run the website through Google Lighthouse, a mobile-friendly test, which is free to use.

Wix mobile template

How to make a website mobile-friendly FAQ

What is the difference between a website and a mobile website?

A website is designed for viewing on a desktop or laptop computer, while a mobile website is optimized for viewing on smaller screens such as smartphones and tablets. Mobile websites often have simplified layouts and larger buttons to make navigation easier for users.

Is an app better than a mobile website?

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