My sites have been responsive for a couple years now. Surprisingly there still websites that are WordPress sites that are not on responsive WordPress themes! How can that be? I believe some folks are hesitant to make a theme switch. Or, they just don't want to spend the money. I get the former but not the latter.
Have you looked at your site on a smartphone or tablet?
Mobile makes me feel like I'm in the "way-back machine". Back in the day in a land far, far away, web designers had to check their designs in over 10 browsers and platforms knowing each would render the very same HTML code or scripting differently. I remember AOL's browser and IE being the biggest PIAs. Internet Explorer is still a problem child in that regard -- always has to be just a little bit different! As far as AOL, well, they lost their market share and have become irrelevant when it comes to this discussion.
Back then "degrading gracefully" was what you hoped to accomplish. You knew there was no way to really get a web site (yes, website was two words back then) to look identical in every browser or environment -- but you could add a few snippets to get the best results.
All the whiz-bang moving this or that were popular in those days. Today slideshows have become a must-have on homepages -- even though stats show site visitors rarely sit there and view the entire slideshow. Regardless, site owners loved the "eye-candy" that an albeit slower performing site offered.
Fast forward two decades and here we are again. Numerous OS'es, browsers, screen sizes. Technology now offers us the use of Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) combined with a bit of scripting that can detect the user device and serve up the site/styles that will look best.
What I love most is that the K.I.S.S. principal has come full circle. If your market is going to view your site primarily on their non-desktop platforms, Keep It Simple Silly is the only way to go! Simpler layout, cleaner design, larger fonts all make the mobile experience one that encourages mobile viewing by focusing on content.
Deja vu? Once again, there is no way to guarantee your site will look the same on every possible combo if for no other reason than it is out of our control to control each individual's user settings.
So how do we make our site Responsive / Mobile Ready?
Another reason to love WordPress! Whether it be a theme that is responsive out of the gate or a plugin that allows you to cater to mobile and tablet environments important to you, it is really pretty easy to have your site look great. Without you having to know any programming.
There are a lot of great responsive premium themes out there. I stick with "premium" themes because then I know that the developers are invested in their products and won't disappear off the face of the Earth when an update requires modification or bug fixes. Premium themes also assures you support and resources if/when you need them. (With Free, most times you get what you pay for.) I also tend to gravitate to premium plugins for the same reasons.
With all the choices out there, my primary choice is pretty much anything StudioPress. (You can read why here.) This site is on the Authority Pro Theme. My husband's site on another StudioPress child theme that had WooCommerce integration baked in.
Jessica eCommerce Theme on my Husband's Site
StudioPress began evolving their Genesis framework/child theme offering to responsive a couple years back and has quite a few responsive themes to choose from. What is cool is that you can view each theme in "mobile demo" mode too! ZigZagPress offers 39 Genesis child themes so check them out as well!
If you aren't sure which theme is best for you, be sure to read my article: Choosing the Right WordPress Premium Theme
Mobile | Responsive Plugins:
WPTouch is an option if you aren't up for a total theme switch, or just want to have even more control than your responsive theme offers. With the premium version of WPTouch gives you the ability to look great on all the top mobile platforms by offering mobile themes that you can tweak to your liking all within your WordPress dashboard. While WPT makes your site look great on all operating systems -- one of the neato features of premium WPTouch is that it allows your iOS visitors to save your website like an app.
HandHeld is a WordPress plugin that works alongside your normal theme, serving an alternate layout to your mobile visitors. This alternate design creates an enhanced mobile experience, and is only shown to your users when they visit your website on a mobile device. HandHeld will work beautifully on modern Android and iOS phones, and is coded in HTML5.
With each passing day, more mobile users are visiting your site. If you are reading this article that tells me you need to get on the shtick!
Look at your server statistics/logs to see what platforms are hitting your site -- you may be surprised at the number that are not on desktops! Then go test your site here: MobileTest.me
"By the time you hear the thunder, it’s too late to build the ark."
At your service,
P.S. Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are "affiliate links." Read my full Affiliate Disclosure Statement here.