Around ten years ago I got hold of my first mobile device, a HP Pocket PC that enabled me – wireless networks provided – to get online and browse the web in a very basic version of Internet Explorer.
It wasn’t long before I was more interested in accessing the backend of websites rather than the front, using the mobile browser to access the admin page of any sites I was involved with the management of. This is a pattern that has repeated and developed over the intervening years, something that has progressed beyond sending blog posts by email into having a requirement to manage a full website from my mobile phone or tablet.
The need for this was finally underlined during a recent holiday, during which time I was required to edit and publish posts for my own website. It was then that I realised that a standard dedicated mobile app for a particular blogging platform simply wasn’t enough…
As the most popular blogging platform, WordPress must surely get a mention. Providing apps for six different platforms, the developers are clearly intent that anyone with a WordPress blog should be able to publish to it.
This is made possible by supporting not only WordPress.com accounts but also self-hosted blogs using the software downloaded from WordPress.org. Features in these mobile versions include the checking of stats, writing, editing and publishing posts, checking comments and handling multiple blogs.
You can find all versions of the WordPress mobile app via http://wordpress.org/extend/mobile/
There are plenty of statistical analytics applications that can be installed on a website, but the most popular by far is Google Analytics. If you have setup an account with this service and added the code to your site(s), you will need a tool to be able to access the results.
Attention to analytics takes on a different priority for different users, usually dictated by the volume of visitors to your website. While it is never a good idea to become addicted to checking your page views, Google Analytics offers a lot more, much of which can be displayed via these mobile apps.
You can install the free Google Analytics app for your Android, while Analytics for iPad is also free. Other paid apps are available on iOS.
Most website management interfaces will offer file management tools, certainly to the extent of uploading and deleting images, documents and other media.
However, when such things aren’t available, you might wish to opt for an FTP utility to ease the transfer of files to and from your webserver and your mobile device.
FTP Manager Free is available for iTunes, while AndFTP is a popular free option for Android. At present, the $1.29 MyFTP app is the cheapest available for Windows Phone, although this only allows transfer of data from a SkyDrive account. There are several FTP tools for BlackBerry devices, including the free BEIKS BeFTP [No Longer Available].
More suited for tablets that smartphones, HTML and text editors are very important to website management. While your chosen web application might permit some browser-based editing, this is likely difficult.
Instead, you should consider a plain text editor that can be used to edit HTML, CSS and other code. One option for iOS devices is Blog Docs [No Longer Available], while Visual HTML Editor EYE is just $1.99.
WhoIs and Server Management
Although checking the owner of domain names and IP addresses often turns out to be one of the dullest experiences for a website admin (thanks to the reasons behind checking) there are mobile apps that make this a quick and relatively painless task.
For Android, you should make your way to the Play store and find WhoIs by Magma Mobile, available for free. For iOS users, Free Whois [No Longer Available] remains a popular option.
Checking the status of your web server, meanwhile, can enable you explain the reasons behind (or even prepare for) slow performance. Android users should install the free Server Status [No Longer Available] while Pingdom for iOS devices is particularly useful (although it requires a Pingdom account).
Use the Browser!
Although in many cases this might be a last-gasp solution, using the mobile browser can enable you to do things that aren’t available via apps. For instance, the various versions of the WordPress mobile app don’t enable you to select an image to accompany the web page you’re publishing. The only recourse in this situation is to access the option through your browser.
If your browser supports the relevant code, you might be able to get analytics and other visitor based data, and of course a preview of any pages you’re planning to publish will prove very useful.
So don’t rule out your mobile browser; even if it isn’t up to performing all of the tasks that the desktop version is capable of when it comes to website management, it remains useful.
Managing a website from a desktop computer is clearly far preferable to doing so using a mobile device. However, improvements in the available features and functions of these applications means that it is now relatively simple to forget about tying yourself to your desk and instead head out, using your tablet or phone to perform the necessary tasks wherever you are.
Do you have any favored mobile apps for mobile website management? Are there any that we’ve missed? Let us know.