Is Your Website Mobile-Ready?
Online techno-mag CNET reported in 2011 that mobile users account for 7 percent of traffic to websites. That number leaped to 15 percent by 2012 and currently shows signs of increasing to possibly 40 percent or 50 percent as smartphones and tablets become even more popular. Most website themes, however, are designed to appeal to desktop and laptop users. To be effective for those using smartphones, webmasters have to do at least these five things: resize images, reduce site width, adjust text size, alter navigation and upgrade CSS style sheets to define media queries.
Sounds like elaborate work, right? Fortunately this is no longer 2010 and becoming mobile-ready is much, much easier. Instead of doing the five technical things above, why not consider the five following super easy ways to make your websites appealing to mobile users.
Install Plugins for Mobilizing Sites
Both WordPress and BuddyPress have plugins that will make your website mobile-friendly in a matter of minutes, creating an instant mobile site using a subdomain or extension. The effect is as if your site has been redesigned with the smartphone user in mind. Most plugins offer widget options, color variety, ways to display ads and analytics. All you need to do is install and configure.
The most effective plugins for WordPress are WPTouchM and the WordPress Mobile Pack. However, a few other plugins are also gaining recognition, including Handheld, Mobile Smart, and Wapple Architect. When it comes to converting a BuddyPress site to a mobile design, BuddyMobile has become the standard.
Third-party conversion services
For those who don’t want to fiddle with plug-ins, there are numerous services that will convert your website to mobile for you. Some are free for very basic services, while others require a monthly or yearly fee. The company bMobilized will create a mobile site for you and all you need to do is give them your URL. They will create a mobile version of your site that’s perfect for Android, iPhone and numerous other smartphone models. Be forewarned that bMobilized is not free. Other paid and similar services include the popular GoMobi, Zinadoo and MobileMo.
Create a mobile app
Apps may soon become the standard way browsers view mobile sites. Instead of navigating to a URL, users will simply click an app downloaded onto their smartphone to go to the homepage or specific section of a website, such as the store, the forum, etc. This is efficient and part of the culture of smartphones. Fortunately, there are web services that will create website apps for you so that they can be purchased through iTunes or other app venues.
The App Factory is one such service that will design an app for your website; as a bonus, the company includes links to your social media platforms. Uppsite is another app creation service; they will even handle hosting for webmasters.
Manually install two themes: a desktop theme and a mobile theme
This used to be the most popular way to create a mobile version of a website. The desktop version would be on the main URL, with the mobile version would exist on a sub-domain. This has not yet become extinct, although it is time-consuming and cumbersome. Those who wish to do this should hire a web designer.
Rely on a mobile site checker
Once your mobile website is up and running, you need one more additional tool: a site checker, to ensure the display and design are working across the many wireless smartphone platforms. One such checker, MobiReady, will do a full analysis of your site for free, summarizing what’s working effectively and what’s malfunctioning.