Don’t make your readers zoom-in on their phone: offer a mobile version of your WordPress blog. Here’s how.
When it comes to running a blog, the first thing you need to think about is your visitors. A key question you should ask yourself: do you want your blog to be easy to access on the go? If the answer is yes, then you need to ensure that your website renders as beautifully on a smartphone as it does on a desktop computer – and everything in between.
There are a few ways you can make your website mobile or tablet-ready. Whether it’s a responsive WordPress theme that adapts to different devices or a WordPress plugin that allows you to create a dedicated mobile version, the options below have you covered.
The best thing about these solutions is that they require absolutely no coding knowledge whatsoever. You can have a mobile site up and running in minutes, without having to know anything about designing or coding websites.
The easiest and most efficient way to make your WordPress blog mobile friendly is by choosing a responsive theme. Responsive themes automatically adapt to whatever device you happen to be using when visiting a site. So if you’re on a computer with a smaller screen, the site adjusts to the size of that screen. If you’re on a smartphone, it will automatically display a mobile theme.
Using a responsive theme is convenient because you don’t have to rely on third party plugs or additional fixes, and the all-in-one solution makes life much easier. So where do you find decent responsive themes?
If you’re looking for a paid theme, Themeforest has over 2,000 responsive themes to choose from. If you’d rather opt for a free theme, there are quite a few to choose from. We’ve featured some great responsive portfolio themes, for example.
Responsive themes aren’t great just if you want to create a portfolio website. Thisshows you the sheer variety available – and all the themes listed are free.
If you’ve already invested time, effort or money into your WordPress theme and don’t want to make the switch to a responsive theme to make your site mobile-friendly, you can opt for a plugin instead. The disadvantage , however, to using a plugin is that you lose the personality of your blog that you may have chosen with its theme, and will have to make-do with the style the plugin provides.
An important feature that all of these plugins offer is to allow viewers to switch to the desktop site, if they choose to.
One of the most popular plugins we’ve come across is WPTouch. We reviewed the plugin a few years ago, and the look and feel of the plugin’s theme hasn’t changed much. WPTouch is a plug-and-play plugin, meaning there is nothing that you have to do to get your visitors seeing a mobile version of your site. You can, however, tweak the settings and customize the icons used in the mobile version of your site. If we had one complaint about the plugin it’s that its appearance hasn’t changed at all over the years – so it looks a little dated.
This is how your site looks with WPTouch activated:
Mobile Detector is another great plugin and boasts detection by over 5,000 mobile devices. The plugin also offers a variety of themes to choose from. Some of these themes are sleek, minimal and modern, giving this a leg up on WPTouch. Best of all: it offers the mobile versions of WordPress’ official themes, Twenty Eleven and Twenty Twelve. The WZ Mobile Theme is another great option that allows you to display your featured images on the home page.
This is how your site looks with Mobile Detector activated, with the WZ Mobile Theme:
distinguishes itself from other similar plugins by displaying a landing page that gives visitors the choice, the first time they load your site, to browse the mobile (HTML5) or desktop version of your site. It can also save their selection. It’s also one of the plugins that you have to choose some settings for, before it shows up on your blog. As you’re setting up, you can choose what kind of site you’re running – a blog, a business site, or a combination.
As you explore the settings, you’ll find that UppSite is a pretty feature-rich plugin. As you’re setting up the plugin, you can choose your icon, the text that goes with it, and its colour.
After you’ve set up the plugin,there are other customization options but some of them are limited to the premium version of the plugin. The free version allows you to change the background of your mobile page and the top bar, among other things. With the premium version, you also get a downloadable iOS, Android and Windows Phone app, and can customize your landing page – but all that will set you back a whopping $99.99 a month.
This is how your mobile site looks with UppSite activated:
Of all of these plugins, if we had to choose one, it would be Mobile Detector. It gets the job done in a minimal amount of steps. If you need something a little bit more robust, which you want more control over for your business site, UppSite might be better suited to your needs – if you can afford it.
Another way to make sure that you’re WordPress blog is completely mobile-accessible is by using the free tool Embed Responsively. This tool allows you to embed YouTube videos, Instagram photos and videos, Google Maps and more, all while ensuring that the embed stays within the confines of your design. You’ll find that with some embeds images or videos can overlap content. Embed Responsively puts an end to these kinks.
To find out more about Embed Responsively, check out our in-depth review.
Which Should You Choose?
If you want to offer your visitors a seamless experience where the design of your website in a desktop browser extends to the design in a mobile browser, you should choose a responsive theme. This will also make life easier for you, taking away the need to update plugins that may eventually no longer be supported.
If you want to have more control over how your viewers see your website in its mobile version, and want to think about extra details like monetization and engagement, a plugin is probably best for you.
Do you have any tips or tricks on how to make sure your WordPress blog is mobile-ready? Let us know in the comments.
Image Credit: Luc Legay