“Mobile First” Means More Than Just a Responsive WordPress Theme

Various smartphones lined upHere at CyberChimps we pride ourselves on our responsive WordPress themes, but it takes more than a great theme to truly make a site “mobile first.” Mobile first encompasses much more than a style and layout. It represents a shift in thinking about your content too.

There is so much data confirming the importance of non-desktop devices. It’s not even just smartphones and tablets either. Cars, refrigerators, bathroom mirrors, and glasses are now all capable of displaying information from websites. When websites are built assuming the content will be displayed on a 1280×1024 pixel display, that content can breakdown pretty severely at times when showing up in other places.

So what does it take to be “mobile first”? Well, besides a complete shift in thinking, it takes things like:

  • Paying special attention to page titles
  • Making sure you get the first sentence, the first paragraph right
  • Thinking about things like images and other downloads that can be bandwidth hogs
  • Contemplating whether content is even needed in the first place

I guess that is a complete shift in thinking. To get started thinking “mobile first,” here are three places to begin.

Culling Content

Have you ever taken a good, hard look at the content of your website? Is all that stuff really needed? Really? All of it? Whether it’s little-used pages, irrelevant images, or verbose words, chances are if you started looking at it in terms of “it’s going to cost me money to look at this on a mobile device” (because, truthfully, it probably will), is it really that important? I’ll bet that, if you wanted to, you could eliminate words and pages and other fluff that could potentially eat through a data plan.

Revisit Your Titles

It’s really hard to overstate the importance of the titles on your pages and posts. They entice readers to read more. They provide information to search engines. They can serve as links and tables of contents.

Titles can appear in a myriad of places: the tabs in your browser, the navigation menu, a notification message, even the display on your car stereo. Sometimes the full title is displayed, sometimes just part of it. While longer titles can be more descriptive, shorter titles are more likely to be displayed in their entirety. Some people go so far as setting up their site to allow for more than one title (e.g., short title and long title) to accommodate the various situations. Even if you don’t go that far, consider (and perhaps check) how that title might be displayed in the various locations. It has happened on occasion that words have been truncated in inopportune, even embarrassing, places.

The All Important Lede

The first sentence is often used as a teaser or a descriptor for your page or post. Make sure that it conveys or sums up the content that readers can expect. Consider separating it from the rest of the paragraph as you are writing to make sure that it can stand on it’s own. Evaluate it as if the reader has just the headline and that sentence – did you get the message across? Because many, many times, that’s all that the reader will see.

While a responsive WordPress theme will get you a long way towards being mobile friendly, adopting a “mobile first” mindset requires a bit more than just installing a new theme.

About the Author

 Freelancer. Websites. WordPress. Bootstrapper. Harley rider. Semi-feral. I aim to misbehave. :-)

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