The amount of people who are using mobile devices and tablets to access the internet, over traditional PCs and laptops, has skyrocketed in the last few years. Because of this, the need for having a responsive WordPress theme has never been greater. To allow your visitors to have a pleasant experience, as well as to make sure your bounce rate stays low, you will need to make sure that you have a responsive design.
What does responsive really mean?
Due to the amount of resolution choices available, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for web designers to create optimal versions of their website for every single device and resolution option. The solution for this is to make your website adjust to the device automatically.
A fully responsive WordPress theme should automatically change the resolution and image size depending on whether the site is loaded up on a 1920×1080 resolution laptop, or a tiny smartphone. This doesn’t mean that it just gets resized, as for it to be fully responsive, navigation should also change to aid the user. The most common way of achieving this is to have an easily accessible drop-down menu at the top of the screen for smartphone and tablet users, whereas when the website is viewed on a PC or laptop, the regular navigation bar will be present.
There are a few WordPress mobile plugins available on the market, which will try to scale your website down for mobile visitors. While it may work for some, a lot of the time there will be users that it won’t scale properly for and will still have issues with navigating the site. The issue here is that you are only addressing a percentage of the problem, whereas if you used a completely responsive WordPress theme, you can be sure that every single mobile user will experience the same quality.
Why a responsive website is so important
If your visitors can’t read your content or navigate efficiently through your site using their smartphone or tablet, then they are more likely to leave and visit any one of the millions of other websites on the internet, which can present the information they need in a readable format.
By having Google Analytics setup correctly on your website, you will be able to view the number of “mobile” visitors that browse your site, as well as statistical information on what their movements are.
If you have a high bounce rate for mobile visitors, it’s important that you test your site using a couple of different mobile devices yourself. This will give you a quick look as to what your mobile visitors are experiencing, and you may find that you notice a few easily remedied problems straightaway. It’s stated that the average bounce rate for mobile devices is approximately 60%, which is roughly 20% more than PC and laptop users. Therefore, if you see a number that is significantly higher than 60%, then it’s entirely possible that a mobile friendly WordPress theme could help out.
How to check if your theme is responsive
A lot of WordPress or WooCommerce themes are already designed to be responsive from the initial install, especially if it’s a premium theme that has been designed recently. If your site is already set up, and you aren’t sure whether it is responsive or not, you can use your browser to check.
Your browser is usually the full width of your screen, but if you change the size of it, your site’s paragraphs should move about to fit within the smaller width that you have just created. If this is happening, it is likely that your theme is responsive.
In the last couple of years, Google has started to test websites for mobile optimization and are rewarding webmasters who own fully responsive websites. If you input your URL into their Mobile-Friendly Test page, it will give you lots of suggestions on how to improve your website. While being fully responsive isn’t the only ranking factor, improving your site by following these recommendations will enhance user experience and lower bounce rate. Your website may also experience a slight search engine ranking boost in comparison with competitor websites which are not fully responsive.