Making your website mobile-friendly is becoming as important as having good content: over 75% of Americans now access the internet on both desktop and mobile devices, and the numbers of users who solely use a mobile device or tablet is steadily on the rise. A mobile-friendly site also helps attract new visitors; in April 2015, Google expanded mobile-friendliness as a ranking priority, so sites that are mobile-friendly rank higher in search results.
What does that mean to you as a website owner? A little time spent making sure your site looks good and works well on mobile devices can have big results.
Your site might already be mobile-friendly!
Most WordPress themes developed today are built to be responsive. That means the theme responds to the needs of the viewers and their devices, shifting the layout based on the screen size, resolution, and device capabilities.
Here’s the Twenty Fifteen theme, which is fully responsive, on a desktop computer, tablet, and phone:
The layout adjusts based upon the screen size. The site keeps a consistent look, but adapts to the smaller screens. No matter what screen size a site visitor is using, it will automatically adjust — and since screen sizes are continually changing, the site can adapt to any screen size today and in the future.
How can you check to see if your theme is responsive? If you’re on a desktop machine, go to the site you want to test, let it load, then make your browser screen narrower. If the site has a responsive design, the elements from the web page will start to adjust and rearrange themselves into a still-readable format.
You can also check this using your own mobile device: simply visit the site you want to test and see how it looks. If it looks like exactly the same as the desktop version but shrunk down, your site is likely not responsive.
How can Jetpack help?
If your site isn’t responsive and you’re not able to update your theme to one that is, you can use the Jetpack Mobile Theme to create a simplified, mobile-friendly version of your website. The Mobile Theme displays your content in a clean, uncluttered interface for phones, making it easy for visitors to access your newest content on the go.
The default mobile theme has a pleasing blue color, but you can also tailor the Mobile Theme to bring your site’s mobile experience more in line with the full-screen version. You can customize the kinds of content that appear on your mobile home page, the colors, and the header.
In addition, viewers have the option to switch to the desktop version of your site by tapping the “View Full Site” link at the bottom of each page, so they can still choose to have the full site experience.
Ready to make your site mobile-friendly? Activate the Jetpack Mobile Theme in your Jetpack settings, and check out our support documents for more detail on how to customize it!
How to improve your User Experience using Jetpack
Jetpack has a ton of features (more than 30) that help you improve your WordPress site or blog in many ways – both for yourself as administrator as well as for your readers. Today I’m going to focus on eight Jetpack features that you can use to improve the User Experience of your site so that visitors find it easier to navigate and stick around longer.
Performance and Stability
It can seem like a no-brainer but the absolute worst user experience when visiting a site is when the site doesn’t work at all or takes a long time to load. Jetpack comes with two must-have features that stop this from happening:
Turning on Photon means that all your images get automatically served to users from the WordPress.com content delivery network (CDN) which means faster images for your readers (and less load on your host). To turn it on all you have to do is go to the Jetpack page in your blog dashboard and click the Activate button for Photon. And if you’re a developer, you can also speed up your theme with Photon.
All sites go down once in a while. It could be your database, your host, some rogue code – whatever the reason, your visitors don’t really care, they just want to see your stuff! Jetpack Monitor will keep tabs on your site, and alert you the moment that downtime is detected so that you hear it from us first.
If you keep tabs on your traffic you’ve probably noticed you’re getting more and more visitors browsing your site from a mobile device: smart phones and tables of all shapes and sizes. Jetpack provides two features that help you make the reading experience on these devices significantly better:
Jetpack comes with a responsive theme that works instantly on all mobile browsers. It also comes with various options and settings that enable you to choose exactly how you’d like your mobile browsing experience to work.
Jetpack’s Custom CSS feature lets you tweak your site’s appearance to your heart’s content in a way that doesn’t break your theme when an upgrade is released. In addition, you can also create custom CSS for your mobile theme, further refining your mobile experience.
Finally the last set of features deal with enabling your visitors to interact with your site, content and the community in a smoother fashion:
This feature puts a “Like” button on your posts and is a way for people to show their appreciation for your content. Enabling it is a short two-step process.
This feature pulls relevant content from your blog to display at the bottom of your posts. If the feature is enabled, a section of related posts appears just underneath your Likes (if you’ve turned these on). Just activate the feature from your Jetpack dashboard to turn them on but you can also customize how they display.
Infinite scroll simply means that when a visitor scrolls to the bottom of your posts page Jetpack will automatically load the next set of posts without requiring clicking on any buttons. Activating it is similar to “Related Posts” above but not every theme supports it.
When someone reads an article on your site and wants to comment, they can now use one of their existing social networking accounts to post a comment. No longer do they need to create yet another account and profile! You can also customize how Jetpack Comments display.
That’s it! Eight Jetpack features that can help your visitors have a more pleasurable experience when visiting your site. If you’ve not used Jetpack before, read our step-by-step installation guide here to try it out for yourself.
If you are a Jetpack user already please tell us what you think in the comments and, if you’d like to get involved by writing a guest post about Jetpack get in touch!