How to optimise your website for mobile devices

South Africa has 38.12 million active internet users, and 36.12 million access the internet using their mobile devices.

How to optimise your website for mobile devices
In South Africa, most web browsing is done on mobile devices, which is the same for the rest of Africa. But you still get a website that isn't mobile responsive – for what, that still boggles my mind. Because the stats are clear, South Africa has 38.12 million active internet users, and 36.12 million access the internet using their mobile devices.
Besides losing business to the active mobile internet users in South Africa for not having a non-responsive website, Google will also penalise your website. If it's not responsive for mobile.
Google said, "Starting April 21, we will be expanding our use of mobile-friendliness as a ranking signal. This change will affect mobile searches in all languages worldwide and significantly impact our search results. Consequently, users will find it easier to get relevant, high-quality search results that are optimised for their devices."
Google went further to offer suggestions that will help make websites mobile-friendly by providing a guide to mobile-friendly sites.
If you are wondering, what's all the fuss about a mobile responsive website.
The following benefits will give you an idea of why you make sure your website is responsive ASAP:
- Mobile users are on the rise
- Shopping on mobile is also slowly increasing 
- Social media increase mobile website visitors to your website
- Mobile-friendly websites increase SEO ranking 
- Mobile-first website have a better user experience 
- Loads fast 
- Presents content in a readable manner
Assuming that every digital marketing professional or business owner understands the benefits of a mobile-friendly website is wrong. Because if they did, then we wouldn't have non-responsive websites on the web.
This article will take you through 6 tactics to help you optimise your website for mobile devices. If you are not sure if your website is fully responsive, please look at an article I published titled how to check if your website is fully responsive, using the top 5 tools.
If you are confident that your website is not at all responsive, read through the 6 tactics below to get it optimised today:
1. Improve website speed: Given that fast internet is still a challenge in South Africa. Having a website that loads fast has benefits such as improved SEO and user experience. My article about 5 critical factors to make your website succeed touches on the importance of website speed and zero downtime.
In my next article, I will share tactics to help improve your website speed. However, having a good hosting provider is very important.
2. Get a good hosting provider: It's impossible to get fast website speed on a budget hosting provider that shares many server spaces with other websites. I've had a good experience with AfriHost and 1Grid, which I use for my personal website, www.leratomonareng.co.za, and my boutique design agency www.phasha360.co.za
Even if the hosting is shared, ensure that it's with a reputable hosting provider because they have a reputation to uphold.
3. Optimise all your images: Images tend to have large file sizes, which takes up a lot of space and potentially slows down your website. Don't load HD images on your site. Instead, scale them to a smaller size with tools like ImageOptim, Squoosh, and WP Smush
You can also save them in the WebP image format if it's the first time you hear about it – I will cover it in a future article.
4. Optimise browser caching: Browser caching pronounced "browser cash." Defined by PC Mag as a temporary storage area in memory or on disk that holds the most recently downloaded Web pages. So when you jump from Web page to Web page, caching those pages in memory lets, you quickly go back to a page without having to download it from the Web again.
By optimising for browser caching, you are letting the browser know that the elements of the page of your website don't change often can be saved inside its cache.
This might sound technical for some people; I guess it calls for another article that takes you through configuring your website for browser caching.
5. Make your website responsive: This might be an obvious fact since I mentioned it at the beginning of this article. But, I feel the need to stress it once again. A couple of tactics to make your website responsive include improving legibility, choosing the correct viewpoint, improving tab size, and using CSS media queries, just to name a few. 
6. Avoid the use of pop-ups/ads: There's nothing more annoying than a pop-up that fills up the entire screen of my phone while I am busy browsing a website. And I know that I am not the only that finds pop-up ads extremely annoying. If you don't like them, what makes you think your website user will?
Besides them just being annoying, Google will penalise sites that use large pop-ups or interstitials to promote newsletters, sign-up forms, or ads.
Conclusion
Once you've decided that you want to optimise your website for mobile. Start by running a mobile usability test on Google to see where you should start. 
As you work on the improvements, you should constantly test to see if you make progress. According to Yoast, once your mobile site is fully optimised, you need to tell Google about it to be checked and indexed. Use Search Console to stay on top of the performance of your site.