Essentials for a Successful Mobile-First Site Design

Today, more people access the Internet via mobile devices than desktop computers. Because of this, businesses need to ensure their websites are compatible with all mobile devices.

There was a time when a website was just a luxury, but today people distrust businesses that do not have a web presence. A website needs to support the business. A poorly designed website that does not load properly or loads over a slow mobile Internet connection, can quickly put customers off.

Research by Akamai in 2006 showed that 75% of people will not return to a website that takes more than four seconds to load; this is especially true for ecommerce and business sites. A few years beforehand, the threshold was eight seconds. Today, with much faster computers and Internet connections, people are still less patient.

How to display content for mobiles

When smartphones first started to become popular, businesses started to develop dedicated mobile websites, usually on a subdomain, for example or Websites were designed to recognize when a reader was using a mobile browser and display the mobile subdomain instead of the main domain.

Responsive designs

With advancements in HTML and CSS, responsive websites started to become more powerful. The current trend is to display the same website information to mobile and desktop users. Websites are built to dynamically change to fit any screen size and resolution. This method allows people to make an easy transition between mobile and desktop and ensures that when a website link is shared it will always be for the correct page.

Putting mobile first

Web developers are now putting mobile first when planning new sites; this is what consumers have said they want.

Google has started to encourage webmasters to build mobile-friendly websites and has hinted that mobile-friendly sites will start to rank better in search engines, especially when people are searching from mobile devices.

Simple navigation

Mobile themes must have simple and effective navigation. Huge dropdown/fly-out menus do not work on mobile devices. Ideally, the main navigation should include only top-level topic areas.


The homepage needs to be very clear and concise. Calls to action should be central and promotional features should be reduced so that core information is easy to find. Generally, when people search on mobile devices, they want to act, so ensure your copy sells your services and encourages people to act.

Also, make it easy for people to return to the homepage. Breadcrumb navigation on all pages works well, if there is no home link in the navigation bar.


Allow users to make purchases anonymously. Many people find it difficult to navigate on a mobile device, so asking people to create an account before checking out adds an obstacle to completion.

Click to call

Ensure that all telephone numbers are coded so that mobile users can click to call. Mobile numbers can also be set to send SMS inquiries.

Building a good website is a complex process, which is why most businesses outsource to freelance web developers. When employing a freelancer, always carry out checks, read reviews, and be sure you formulate a clear agreement with milestones for development. You can find more advice about dealing with freelancers on

The most important things to remember are that a website should load fast, be readable on all browsers, and provide customers with the most important information along with calls to action. Do this and you will have a successful business website.

About Lee

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Travel lover. Internet guru. Friendly troublemaker. Certified pop culture buff.