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Automattic, the company behind the WordPress blogging platform, currently hosts over 4.5 million blogs. According to their download counter, they have served just over 3.1 million downloads of their self-hosted blogging software. With nearly 8 million blogs in the wild, it’s easy to see that many content publishers have embraced the platform’s ease of use and functionality.

Many content publishers will be interested in how they can serve their content on as many different internet platforms, designing layouts to work in all browsers and also allowing users to visit their sites on mobile devices.

Internet-capable mobile devices have been gaining in popularity over the last few years but with the release of Apple’s iPhone, websites can be served in their full glory via a 3G or Wi-Fi network. This, however, does not mean that developers aren’t keen to make iPhone compatible websites to keep their users happy. I am happy to report this can also be the case for website owners running the ever popular WordPress platform.

Today I wish to share with you how easy it is to make any WordPress installation iPhone compatible.

Step One

Firstly you need to check that you are at least running WordPress 2.3. If you aren’t, upgrading of your WordPress installation is highly recommended to patch known bugs and to enable you to use the plugin noted below. This tutorial is based on an installation of WordPress 2.7 Beta 3, which has minor changes to the style of the admin area. Readers using a previous version of WordPress will still be able to locate the same areas described in this post.

Next, we will need to download the plugin that makes it all happen. The plugin in question is called WPtouch and is developed by Dale Mugford & Duane Storey of BraveNewCode Inc. I have linked to the download hosted on the WordPress Plugin Directory as many WordPress website owners will be familiar with it.

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Once downloaded, extract the archive and upload the resulting folder to the plugins folder inside your wp-content directory.

Step Two

iphone wordpress plugin

Log into the Administration panel of your WordPress installation. Inside your Plugins screen, activate the recently uploaded plugin.

Without doing so much as uploading and activating a plugin, you have made your WordPress blog iPhone ready – but we’re aren’t finished just yet.

Step Three

blog iphone friendly

The final step is changing some of the WPtouch preferences to work better for your blog. Clicking into Settings -> WPtouch will bring up a preferences page allowing to select how the plugin will serve your iPhone ready blog.

The first section you will encounter will be Optimization & Template Options. This section will allow you to enable or disable AJAX controls (allowing smoother comment submissions and page loading), decide whether you wish to enable Gravatars or even allow the submission of comments on your Pages (not to be confused with blog posts).

wp touch

In the next section you can choose how your WordPress iPhone pages will look. It’s simply nothing more than choosing a colour palette similar to the full version of your site and applying it inside this preference screen.

wp touch settings

Wptouch allows you to configure many more options inside its interface.  These include:

  • Post Listings Options – Select which post-meta items will be shown beneath titles on the index, search & archive pages.
  • Available Icons – You can select which icons will be displayed beside corresponding pages enabled for your iPhone ready blog.
  • Default Menu Items – Enable/disable items from appearing in the WPtouch dropdown menu.
  • Plugin Support & Compatibility – This allows you to configure plugins that you use to work with WPtouch. Some currently supported plugins include FlickrRSS, Blip.tv and Tag Cloud.

When you have finished amending the sections inside the Administration panel, save your progress by clicking Save Options at the bottom of the page.

Your blog should now be ready to be viewed by all iPhone users. Development of this plugin is ongoing and the team are adding many new features with every release. There are already a few tools that exist to make your website iPhone compatible (MakeUseOf uses a service called Mofuse for example) but for ease of use and customization, WPtouch is a safe bet. You can check out MakeUseOf’s mobile version at http://m.makeuseof.com.

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