3 Simple Ways to Make a WordPress Site Responsive

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As more and more people browse the web using a wide variety of devices and screen sizes today, every WordPress site needs to get responsive. Studies show that 96% of people now own a Smartphone of some kind. No doubt, this percentage will continue to increase in the future since mobile devices are becoming cheaper and more accessible day by day.

Not sure if your WordPress site is responsive? You can either get a free comprehensive website analysis or use this tool to test your site for responsiveness. If your site fails the responsive test, here are three ways to help you convert your existing non-responsive WordPress site to a responsive one. Let’s go through each method, one by one.

#Use a Plug-in

Luckily, WordPress offers several plug-ins to make your site mobile-responsive without having any separate mobile URL. Although this solution is not fully responsive as it makes a site responsive only for mobile devices, you can still opt for it if most of your traffic is mobile.

For instance, WPtouch is a popular plug-in to create a beautiful mobile-responsive version of a WordPress site. Not only can you choose from a wide range of mobile themes, but you also have full control over what to display on mobile devices. Paid versions with additional features are also available to help you take your site to a whole new level. Another popular solution to make a WordPress site mobile-friendly is Jetpack.

#Upgrade to a Responsive Theme

Upgrading the current design to responsive is undoubtedly the fastest, easiest, and most efficient way to turn a WordPress site into responsive. There are numerous free and premium pre-built responsive WordPress themes available across the web, which you can use to make your non-responsive WordPress site responsive. All you need to pick a high-quality, well-functioning responsive WordPress theme, upload and activate it, and you’re good to go.

If you’re on a tight budget, you may consider using a free responsive WordPress theme. However, free themes are not as good as you think. Most of them are likely to contain encrypted malicious code that may harm your data files. Since finding a high-quality free WordPress theme is a time-consuming and challenging task, it would be better to use a premium responsive WordPress theme from a trusted theme provider. Before buying a WordPress theme, make sure it’s fully responsive and fast enough to load.

#Convert Your Existing WordPress Site to Responsive

If you’re happy with your WordPress site’s current design, converting it to responsive may be a good option for you. However, this method requires you to be familiar with web development technologies like HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, and PHP. If you’re a developer, not only you’ll have to rewrite most of your website code, but you’ll also need to go through each element of your current design to fix it.

Concretely, this route involves working with three fundamental principles of Responsive Web Design, which are Fluid Grids, Flexible Images, and CSS Media Queries. Let’s take a look at them one by one!

#1) Fluid Grids: Generally, we define the layout of a website in terms of the pixel, which is a fixed unit, but this is not the case with responsive design. Since a website might render on various kinds of devices, ranging from a widescreen television to a tiny mobile phone, we need to define the layout in terms of percentage – a relative unit. With the simple math formula given below, you can easily calculate the percentage value for each element of a web page:

Target Element/Context = Percentage Value

As an example, if your website width is 960 pixels and you’re browsing your site on a 1920 pixels wide monitor, in this case, the target is the wrapper containing your site, and the context is the width of the browser window. For the site to look well on the widescreen monitor, you need to divide the target by the context:

960/1920 = 50%

#2) Flexible Images: One of the biggest challenges you’ll encounter when converting your existing site to responsive is making images responsive. You not only have to resize images proportionally but also need to keep their performance up on every device. Among several techniques available to handle images in responsive design, the most popular is given by the father of Responsive Web Design – Ethan Marcotte. Just set the maximum width of an image to 100%, and you’re good to go!

img { max-width: 100%; }

This simple CSS rule will tell the browser that an image must not be larger than its pixel value, ensuring that the image will never get “stretched” or “pixilated.”

#3) CSS Media Queries: Media Queries are the heart of Responsive Web Design. Based on a particular device’s characteristics, they allow you to define CSS styles for that device. In other words, they are a powerful “if this size, then this style” tool that lets you define how your site content will adjust to fit the display of a device. A typical media query looks something like this:

@media only screen and (max-width: 320px) {

/* …styles here… */

 }

Since this method requires a lot of coding work, make sure you hire certified WordPress developers to execute the conversion process.

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