Having issues with WordPress not displaying properly on mobile devices is a common problem that many site owners face. With mobile usage continuing to rise, having a responsive site that works seamlessly on mobile is critical for providing users with a good experience. In this article, we’ll explore some of the top reasons why WordPress may not be displaying correctly on mobile and solutions to address the problems.
Why WordPress May Not Display Properly on Mobile
There are a few core issues that can cause WordPress sites to display incorrectly on mobile devices:
Using a Non-Responsive Theme
One of the biggest factors is using a WordPress theme that is not designed to be responsive. Responsive themes adjust and adapt to fit different screen sizes. Non-responsive themes are designed for desktop, so content may appear too wide or zoomed in on mobile screens.
Switching to a responsive mobile-friendly theme is one of the best ways to improve mobile display issues. Popular responsive themes like Astra, GeneratePress, and OceanWP are good options.
Certain plugins, especially those that affect site layout and design like sliders, galleries, and popups may not adapt for mobile. This can cause display issues like things overlapping, appearing too large, or not formatting properly.
Disabling non-essential plugins and finding mobile-friendly alternatives can help resolve conflicts. Using a plugin like WPTouch to create a dedicated mobile theme can also override plugin layout issues.
Images Are Too Large
Large image files will take longer to load on mobile compared to desktop. This slower load time can impact how quickly the rest of your content displays.
Optimizing images by using compression, scaled sizes, and lazy loading for mobile are helpful ways to improve image load times. This will allow content to render more rapidly.
Site Elements Not Configured for Mobile
From menus to sidebars to contact forms, any element on your site may need to be adjusted to properly fit on mobile. Sidebars may stack, small text size may be hard to read, and menus may not adapt well.
Go through your site on mobile and make tweaks to elements and settings like text size, layout, padding, element positioning and more to optimize the display.
Outdated Mobile Plugins/Technology
With how rapidly mobile technology changes, relying on outdated methods can cause display issues. For example, older mobile plugins may no longer work properly.
Keeping WordPress, themes, plugins and code libraries up to date is key for maintaining mobile compatibility and performance. Automated updates can help manage updates easily.
How to Fix WordPress Mobile Display Problems
Now that we’ve covered some of the common causes of WordPress not displaying properly on mobile, here are some solutions to help fix and prevent mobile display issues:
Switch to a Responsive Mobile-Friendly Theme
As discussed, using a responsive theme designed for mobile is one of the best ways to improve mobile display. The theme will adapt the site design for smaller screens. Popular free responsive themes like Astra, OceanWP and GeneratePress are good options.
Use a Dedicated Mobile Plugin
Plugins like WPTouch and WP Mobile Detect allow you to create a dedicated mobile version of your site to avoid desktop theme issues. They detect mobile users and display a tailored mobile theme. This can override plugin and design conflicts.
Audit and Optimize Plugins
Go through your plugins and test how they display on mobile. Eliminate any unnecessary plugins. For vital plugins like slideshows, contact forms, etc, see if they have compatibility settings to optimize for mobile. Replace plugins that don’t work well.
Compress and Optimize Images
Use tools like EWWW Image Optimizer, ShortPixel, and Smush to compress images. Also, make sure your theme is responsive image ready and resize images for mobile. Use lazy loading to only load images that are in view.
Customize Your Theme Options
Many themes come with customizer or editor options to optimize your site for mobile. Adjust elements like header and text size, content width, responsive breakpoints, and spacing to refine how your theme displays on mobile.
Use Mobile-Friendly Contact Form Plugins
Forms often don’t display properly on mobile. Use form plugins like Caldera Forms and Gravity Forms that are designed responsively for mobile. They will adapt to fit mobile screens and be easy for users to fill out.
Check Your Site on Mobile Devices
Previewing your site on real mobile devices is important to see how it truly displays. Use Google Mobile-Friendly test to check for issues. Install browser tools that allow you to test from a mobile perspective. Tweak and adjust until your site displays properly.
Most Common Mobile Display Problems and Fixes
Here is a quick summary of some of the most common specific mobile display problems and ways to fix them:
Content Too Wide – Adjust page/content width, maximum width in theme settings.
Text Too Small – Increase font size, heading sizes in theme settings.
Menus Don’t Work – Use mobile menu plugins, reduce number of menu items.
Popups/Sliders Too Large – Edit plugin settings, switch to mobile alternatives.
Site Loads Slowly – Optimize images, enable caching, condense code.
Columns Don’t Stack Well – Increase spacing between columns, adjust breakpoints.
Sidebars Overlap – Use sidebar manager to reposition sidebars.
Too Much Zooming Required – Increase tap targets, button sizes and text size.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Having WordPress properly display on mobile is critical for keeping visitors happy and providing a good user experience. Many common issues like using non-responsive themes, outdated plugins, and unoptimized images can cause display problems. However there are also easy solutions like:
- Activating a responsive mobile-friendly theme
- Testing plugins and eliminating conflicts
- Optimizing your images and content for speed
- Using mobile-specific plugins and options
- Customizing elements in your theme through its editor
- Checking your site live on real mobile devices.
Keeping WordPress updated, choosing the right themes/plugins, customizing for mobile, and testing regularly are key best practices to keep your site looking great on mobile. With a responsive design and mobile optimizations, you can create the ideal mobile experience for your visitors.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some tell-tale signs my site isn’t displaying properly on mobile?
- Horizontal scrolling is needed to see content
- Tap targets like buttons are too small
- Too much pinch/zoom required to read
- Content overlapping or squeezing together
- Mobile menus not working properly
Should I just build a separate mobile site?
Building a dedicated mobile site used to be popular, but is no longer recommended. Responsive web design is now the preferred approach as it requires only one site that fluidly adapts for all devices and screens.
How do I make desktop plugins mobile-friendly?
Look for plugin settings that allow you to customize elements specifically for mobile. Many plugins have sizing, layout and styling options for mobile. Disable plugins if needed.
What’s the best way to preview mobile display?
Using Google Mobile-Friendly test and browser dev tools are helpful. But it’s always ideal to test directly on physical mobile devices to see real world performance.
How often should I check mobile display?
Frequently! At least once per month, and always check after making theme, plugin or page builder edits. Also re-check after WordPress or plugin updates which can sometimes affect site display.
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