One aspect of owning a website or a blog that few people think about is offering mobile content. The problem with forgetting about the mobile community is that mobile is the trend of the Internet. More people are checking Facebook, reading and responding to emails, and yes – reading their favorite websites right from their mobile phones.
In 2008, Aibek observed how quickly the mobile Internet was taking off. If you are looking to capture potential visitors wherever they are, then offering mobile content is the way to do that.
The problem is that not everyone has time to put together a mobile version of their website or blog.
If you’re looking to offer mobile content, but you aren’t really comfortable or knowledgeable with the web coding required, an excellent option is to make use of WINKSite, a free service that instantly converts your RSS feed into a high quality mobile site.
Setting Up Your Mobile Site
Getting your mobile website set up is ridiculously easy, and requires zero programming knowledge. All you have to do is sign up for a free WINKSite account, and then from the dashboard click on “Create a Site.” The next screen is where you’ll set up an individual mobile site.
If you want to have your existing RSS feed used as the source for your mobile site content, make sure to click on “Blog” and fill in the link to the URL or your RSS feed URL.
The beauty of this service is that you can personalize the mobile site to look however you like. Adjust the color scheme and upload your own header photo. In my case I’ve uploaded the FWC logo and centered it at the top of the mobile site.
As you adjust the color and header settings, you can see a small preview of what the mobile site will look like in the right hand column. Once you’re done, you’ll end up on the dashboard page. Another awesome thing about WINKSite is the fact that there are so many available content types that you can create for absolutely free and add to your mobile site. These are things like a forum, a chat room, surveys and much more.
Adding Content To Your Mobile Site
While you could just allow your RSS feed to update your new mobile website automatically, you have the option to add new, unique content for your mobile readers only. For example, create a survey that will be featured in the “survey channel” in the link listings. Setting up a new survey requires that you fill out one simple form, and you’re done.
You can even create an Ezine to go along with your blog! All setup and content creating takes place on the WINKSite website, and again the entire process makes use of a very simple wizard. You can create the entire e-zine by packaging up several articles within one e-zine issue.
Fill out the forms to create each article within your e-zine, and you’re good to go. You can schedule the publication date at a later time, and you can make it so articles expire and are only visible publicly for a limited time.
As though all of these add-ons weren’t enough, you can also add a Forum channel to your mobile site, where visitors can post comments and have conversations that pertain to the content on your mobile website. This is a great way to build community around the topics that you publish on your site.
You can even issue “field reports” to your mobile blog by sending a text message or an email that gets posted to the site, depending how you configure it to work in your mobile blog Field Reports settings.
Once you’re finished setting everything up, check out your new mobile site by accessing the URL that was provided to you when you created the site. Here is what the main page of my FreeWritingCenter mobile site looks like on my Motorola Droid.
Click on any of the story titles, and you get a view of the RSS feed content. The display will look differently here, depending on whether you post an excerpt or the entire article to the RSS feed. In my case, I post an excerpt, so the visitor will have to click the link to view the entire HTML website. To be more compatible for all mobile phones, it would probably be better to post the entire article to the feed so they can view it from within your mobile site.
Overall, WINKSite is a useful resource for generating a version of your website that will display properly on mobile devices. It works well, and configuration is so easy that anyone can do it. It would be nice to have a little bit more control over the formatting and to have the ability to insert HTML into some of the forms, but for the most part it performs a valuable service for website owners, and it does it well.
Do you have a mobile version of your website? If not, give WINKSite a shot and let us know what you think!