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What is a mobile website and why you need one

how to make a mobile website

A mobile website refers to a website version deliberately designed and optimized for handheld devices like smartphones and tablets.

With the surge in mobile internet usage, businesses must adapt to meet the demands of an increasingly mobile-first audience. With 60% of web searches happening on mobile devices (excluding tablets) mobile-friendly websites are no longer a luxury—they’re a necessity.

As you browse the internet on your smartphone, you've likely noticed that some websites are easier to navigate than others. This is no accident. Companies are recognizing that their website must cater to the way people now search, via their mobile phones. The need for websites that perform seamlessly on smartphones and tablets has given rise to a specialized approach in web design—mobile website design.

Mobile website design focuses on creating an online experience optimized for smaller screens, ensuring that users can access and interact with websites with the same ease as they would on a desktop computer. 

In this article, we'll delve into what makes a website truly mobile-friendly, explore the benefits of having a well-designed mobile site and provide you with actionable insights on how to create a website effectively. 

What is a mobile website?

A mobile website is a version of a website that is specifically designed and optimized for handheld devices such as smartphones and tablets. Unlike traditional desktop websites, which are often difficult to navigate on smaller screens, mobile websites provide a user-friendly experience with easy-to-click buttons, optimized images and text that is readable without zooming in.

Mobile-first design is an approach where designers create the mobile version of a website before the desktop version. This method prioritizes the needs of mobile users, ensuring that the most critical information and functions are accessible with ease. The importance of mobile-first design stems from the fact that more people are using their mobile devices as their primary means of internet access.

Mobile websites vs. desktop websites

  • Website layout: Mobile websites have a simpler layout with larger buttons and focused content to accommodate touch-based navigation.

  • Content: Prioritizing content is crucial; only the most important information should be immediately visible to mobile users.

  • Speed: Mobile websites are optimized for speed, considering that mobile users often have slower internet connections.

  • Functionality: Features like dropdown menus or hover functions are adapted for touch interaction rather than mouse clicks.

Embracing a mobile-first approach not only improves user experience but also reflects current trends in web usage. By designing for smaller screens from the start, you ensure that your website is accessible to the widest possible audience. 

Benefits of mobile-friendly websites

Mobile-friendly websites offer a multitude of advantages that can significantly impact your business's online success. Here are some key benefits:

Improved user experience

  • Ease of mobile navigation: Mobile websites are designed with the user in mind, providing a seamless experience that allows visitors to find what they need without frustration.

  • Faster load times: Optimized images and streamlined code mean mobile websites load quickly, which is essential for keeping the attention of users on the go.

Higher conversion rates

  • Streamlined path to purchase: A well-designed mobile website simplifies the process from browsing to buying, increasing the likelihood of conversion.

  • Trust and credibility: A professional-looking mobile site reassures users of your legitimacy, encouraging them to engage with your content or make a purchase.

"In today's world, we use our phones for everything. And we are increasingly seeing commerce happen on them as well. In order to be sure to truly capture your audience and maximize your sales, you'll have to meet them where they are—on their phones. This makes a mobile website more essential than ever before." - Amanda Weiner, CRO specialist at

Challenges with creating a mobile website

Creating a mobile website comes with its own set of challenges that businesses need to navigate carefully. The diversity of mobile devices means your website must function seamlessly across different screen sizes, resolutions and operating systems. Here are some common obstacles you might encounter:

  • Varying screen sizes: With an array of devices on the market, your mobile website must be flexible enough to look great on a compact smartphone or a larger tablet.

  • Load times: Mobile users expect quick access to information. Ensuring your website loads swiftly is crucial to keeping their attention.

  • Navigation: Simplifying navigation for touch control without sacrificing the depth of content can be tricky.

  • Content layout: Adjusting text, images and other elements so they're legible and aesthetically pleasing on smaller screens requires careful planning.

How to create your own mobile website

Building a mobile-friendly website might seem daunting but with the right tools and guidance, it's an achievable task. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

  1. Choose a mobile-responsive theme or template: Start with a design that is already optimized for mobile devices. This will save you time and ensure that your site will adapt well to different screen sizes.

  2. Simplify your site's navigation: Keep your menu items to a minimum and ensure they're easy to tap with a finger.

  3. Optimize your content for mobile: Use short paragraphs, large font sizes and bullet points to make content easy to read on small screens.

  4. Compress images and media files: This will help your site load faster on mobile networks. When you build a site with Wix, images are automatically compressed to Webp, as these are better optimized for website performance

  5. Test your site on multiple devices: Use emulators or actual devices to see how your site performs on different smartphones and tablets.

Platforms like Wix offer website builders that come with an array of mobile-optimized templates and drag-and-drop website builder tools, making it easier than ever to create an effective mobile website without needing extensive technical knowledge. 

Design tips for an effective mobile website

Creating an engaging mobile website requires attention to detail and a focus on user experience. Here are some actionable mobile design best practices to help enhance your mobile website:

  • Use larger text: Small text is hard to read on mobile devices. Make sure your text size is legible without requiring users to zoom in.

  • Simplified menus: Overly complicated menus can be difficult to navigate on a touchscreen. Keep it simple and straightforward.

  • Touch-friendly buttons: Ensure buttons and links are large enough to be tapped easily with a finger.

  • Minimalistic design: A cluttered mobile site can overwhelm users. Embrace whitespace and keep the layout clean.

To specifically cater to mobile users, consider the following optimizations:

  • Responsive web design: Ensure your site automatically adjusts to fit the screen it's being viewed on, whether it's a phone, tablet or desktop. With Wix, you can create a fully responsive website using Wix Studio

  • Fast loading speeds: Optimize images and scripts to reduce load times, keeping in mind that mobile users might be on slower connections.

  • Accessible forms: Make form fields easy to fill out on mobile, with appropriate input types for different data.

  • Optimize images: Use compressed images that load quickly but still look sharp on mobile screens.

  • Thumb-friendly design: Place buttons and interactive elements within easy reach of a user's thumb.

  • Avoid pop-ups: They can be frustrating to close on mobile devices and may lead to a poor user experience.

  • Use readable fonts: Choose fonts that are easy to read on small screens without zooming in.

Find more web design inspiration with these best website design examples.

Mobile website examples to inspire your design

Inprint Art Bookfair

In Print Art Book Fair’s mobile website instantly captivates visitors with a video that highlights the in-print event. The video not only sets the tone by showcasing the vibe of the fair, but it quickly lets visitors know what the event is all about. 

Puffin Packaging

Puffin Packaging, has a clear product and message to share, that temperature-insulated packaging should be efficient, affordable and most importantly, sustainable. Both their desktop and mobile website designs are on-point with their tone, messaging and visual identity. It’s clear what they offer and why. 

Sharon Radisch

NYC and Paris-based photographer, art director and artist, Sharon Radisch, breaks all the mobile website design conventions, in a strategic and stylized way. Radisch moved her website navigation to the center, with a central menu to guide visitors’ eyes directly to the images. Her slight adjustment to the hierarchy is smart and doesn’t disrupt the user experience but enhances it. 

Mobile website vs. mobile app

When considering a mobile strategy, it's essential to understand the differences between a mobile website and a mobile app, as well as the unique benefits each offers. Deciding whether to invest in a mobile website, a mobile app, or both depends on your business objectives and the needs of your audience.

Mobile websites

  • Accessibility: Mobile websites are accessible to users via a browser across a range of devices (iPhone, Android, tablets).

  • No installation required: Unlike apps, there is no need for users to download anything to access your mobile website.

  • Broader reach: Since they're available on any web-enabled device, mobile websites have the potential to reach a larger audience.

Mobile apps

  • Native features: Apps can tap into the device's hardware (camera, GPS, accelerometer) for a more interactive experience

  • Speed and efficiency: Once downloaded, apps typically perform faster than web-based sites because they store data locally on the device.

  • User engagement: Apps can offer personalized content and leverage push notifications to engage users more deeply.

When to use each

  • Mobile website: Ideal for marketing purposes and reaching the widest possible audience. It's also suitable when you want to ensure easy maintainability and have no need for device-specific features.

  • Mobile app: Best when you require functionality that only an app can provide or when you aim to increase user engagement with personalized experiences. Get started creating your app with the Wix app maker. 

Mobile website FAQ

What's considered a mobile website?

A mobile website is one that is specifically designed to be viewed and used on mobile devices, with features and design elements that make it easy to navigate on a smaller screen.

Do I need a separate domain for my mobile website?

How important is a good load time for a mobile website?

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