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Mobile Meltdown: Website not working on mobile devices

Is your website not working on mobile devices? This is a common problem website owners have, especially for websites not using a mobile friendly theme.

Does it matter if my website doesn’t perform well on mobile devices?

Yes. Approximately half of all traffic is from mobile devices (USA 2023, Source: Statista).

In addition, Google uses mobile first indexing. This means Google will use your website’s mobile version for indexing and crawling.

Any mobile usability issues found will affect your ranking position so it’s crucial you find and fix any issues that affect mobile users.

Table of Contents

Reasons why your site doesn’t work on mobile devices

Several common issues can cause mobile users to quickly exit your site. Moreover, even if they don’t leave immediately, a subpar user experience can result in a negative perception of your business or brand, ultimately harming conversions.

Let’s look at these issues and how to fix them.

The website could be down

Before you spend hours trying to troubleshoot the issue check first the website isn’t down. Use a third party website to check:

down for everyone or just me
Check website is down:

Enter the website address of your site and click the “or just me?” button. If the site is up you will see a message that’s it’s just you.

If your site is down then you have a visibility issue with your site.

Check your wifi connection

Just to be sure the problem is not with your phone check your wifi connection is working correctly by accessing other websites or apps that need an internet connection.

If other apps and websites are working correctly then it’s not your internet connection.

Blocked website

Certain websites are blocked by countries for a variety of reasons. You can bypass a website block by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service.

VPN’s are available for both iPhone and Android. Google for the best apps and services to use for your device.

Slow loading website

visitors when your website is slow

Perhaps the website is just slow to load. This can be caused by many different factors such as:

  • large images
  • not using a CDN (Content Delivery Network)
  • slow hosting provider
  • bloated theme
  • large number of plugins
  • temporary issues (backup/virus checker running on the server)

And so on. If your website is persistently slow on mobile devices you will need to find out the specific reason and fix it.

Use image compression software to optimize, crop and compress images. Imagify is a good service to use, it’s free to try with a file size upload limit of 2MB.


Page content isn’t immediately obvious

Some websites that don’t have a mobile-optimized theme might have their website logos, header, and navigation links occupying the entire height of the mobile screen. As a result, the actual content of the page may not be visible until the user scrolls to view it. This can result in a subpar user experience and is likely to cause high bounce rates.

For a fast, lightweight, mobile friendly theme read my review of GeneratePress. It’s the theme I use on this website.

Use a mobile friendly website theme

Clickable elements are too close together

This issue is easily missed if you don’t check how your content looks on a mobile device.

Because of the much smaller width of mobile devices (typically 400-500 pixels) buttons and links can be too close to each other.

This makes it very difficult to click a link with any precision. Visitors will quickly become frustrated if they have difficult navigating or clicking on buttons.

Ensure there is plenty of padding and spacing between navigation elements on your website.

Mobile forms are too wide and kill your conversions

Forms are important on a website for a number of reasons, such as:

  • Contacting the website owner (for information, quotations etc)
  • Joining the website newsletter
  • Shopping cart
  • Payment details

Most of the commercial or transactional actions needed on a website require a form. If your forms are too wide for mobile devices they will be difficult to use. Resulting in abandoned forms and lost business.

Ensure you use forms that are mobile friendly. For WordPress websites, I use and can recommend WPForms. Easy to use drag and drop forms that look professional and clean.


Large popups obscure the content – and annoy users

Some websites use popup displays when they receive a visitor for the first time. For example, there may be a popup asking visitors to join the newsletter.

avoid using intrusive popups
avoid using intrusive popups

It’s important these popups do not fill up the entire screen on mobile devices. It’s very distracting and the mobile visitor will have to find and click on the cross button to see the content.

Using oversized popups on your website can result in high bounce rates and limited user engagement.

In addition, since they negatively impact user engagement, Google may penalize your content and website for employing such large popups.

Ensure you follow Google’s rules on popups: Avoid using intrusive interstitials and popups

Buttons and links play a vital role in navigation and form submission. Moreover, buttons are extensively used in Calls to Action, which actively drive your conversion goals.

To cater to mobile users, it is crucial to ensure that your buttons and links are properly spaced apart from each other. This can be achieved by using a mobile-friendly theme, which will automatically handle the spacing for you.

Use Google Search Console to check your website doesn’t have any mobile usability issues.

pages not usable on mobile
Check with Google Search Console for mobile usability issues

To test an individual page for mobile friendliness use the Google test tool:

Google Mobile Test Tool

Your navigation links are missing or difficult to use

For mobile devices, menus typically need to be collapsed, and this is usually handled by your theme. However, non-mobile friendly themes fail to do this, leading to missing links or links that are not visible on the screen without horizontal scrolling.

A mobile friendly theme will show a hamburger symbol to indicate a menu is present, the user clicks this symbol to see a drop down list of navigation links.

Hamburger symbol

Mobile visitors who can’t navigate around your site will “bounce” (click the back button to go to the previous page) which can harm your rankings with Google.

Ensure your theme shows menus and navigational links correctly for mobile users

Final Thoughts

I hope you found this article informative. It’s very important that your website displays correctly on mobile devices and that users can easily select links and press buttons.

Verify your website pages are mobile friendly using the free Google test tool
Use a fast, lightweight, mobile friendly theme (Recommended: GeneratePress)
Compress images (Recommended: Imagify)
Mobile friendly forms builder (Recommended: WPForms)

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