Bloggie Wednesdays: Making Your Blog Mobile-Friendly

Bloggie Wednesdays: Making Your Blog Mobile-Friendly

Hands up if you do a lot of blog reading on your phone. *wave mine frantically*

I do mine on the bus and train. It makes traveling with screaming children and stinky blokes after a game or a long day at work, a lot easier. I’m sure some of you do that too.

With many people using smart phones to surf the Internet these days, it’s essential that websites have mobile-viewing capabilities. Mobile sites pretty much dial down the bells and whistles of the website, removes all Flash (yes, the bane of all iOS mobile devices), ads, etc to enable quick and easy browsing. It also reduces the amount of bandwidth consumed, especially if you are on a tight data allowance with your mobile phone network.

Websites without mobile-viewing capabilities frustrate me. Many a time, I find it difficult to even complete loading the page. When I want to leave a comment on an article, the page goes nuts and I end up with typos and published unfinished comments. For blogs that I know do not enable mobile-viewing, I leave them for later until I’m on my laptop once more.

There are a few ways to setup mobile-viewing for your blog. You can set it up using plugins, or create an actual mobile website with something like “m.mybeautyblogrox.com“. I don’t know as to how you would go about with the latter, but when I do, I’ll keep you updated. I’m not sure if creating a separate mobile website with the “m” as a subdomain to the your blog will have any additional load to the website’s database though. If you do have a separate mobile website along with the original one, please do let us know in the comments.

Blogger Theme Dashboard

If you are on Blogger, then your blog will automatically be switched to its mobile version when you view it on your phone. To be honest, I’m not really keen on Blogger’s mobile version. Images aren’t always resized to fit on screen; if you use a touchscreen phone and try to move the page to view the entire image, you will most likely end up moving to the next or previous blog post. The only way you can view the image properly is to rotate the phone to landscape mode. It’s quite annoying, really.

If you are on the free WordPress.com platform, the blog will also automatically switch to its mobile site when it detects a mobile browser. However, if you are on self-hosted WordPress, you will have to manually set it up to enable mobile viewing. You can do this with plugins.

Wordpress Mobile Theme Plugins

The plugin that I use for my blog is WP-Touch. The mobile version is easy on the eyes, quick to load, and easy to set up. A few months after I switched to WordPress, I installed WP-Touch on the blog. I had no problems with it; that is, I thought I didn’t, until I realised later on that it mucked up my blog-caching plugin. I had to uninstall WP-Touch for quite some time. After my server and caching issues were resolved, I reinstalled WP-Touch, and have not had any problems with it since.

Here are more WordPress plugins for mobile-viewing. Please note that I have not tested these individually and cannot vouch for them.

As always, before you make any changes to your blog, it is very important that you do a backup first. Some plugins do not work well with each other, and depending on the ones you have, you can make or break your blog by adding the mobile plugin. Unfortunately, Paris B had a lot of issues with a particular mobile plugin once, and it very nearly destroyed her blog. Please do a full backup first before you attempt installation of any plugins.

Having said that, if your blog does not yet have mobile-viewing capabilities, then I highly suggest you jump on board. At least, give it a go. If it does not work for your blog, uninstall it and revert to your backup. If it works, huzzah! It makes viewing for your readers a lot easier, and they’ll thank you for saving them on mobile bandwidth.

I know I will :)

Interesting link: 17 Great WordPress Mobile Themes

Bloggie Wednesdays is a series of articles just on blogging. They contain tips, how-tos, discussions about anything and everything you need to know about blogging and how we can be better bloggers. If you have any suggestions, tips and tricks about blogging you would like to share with us, or if you have any questions you would like me to address, please let us know in the comments.
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27 comments… add one

  1. Tina @ BeautyToast

    I agree with you about the Blogger mobile version. It frustrates me so much when i can’t even read the full articles nor being able to view the entire images. Blogger seriously needs to fix this problem.
    Tina @ BeautyToast recently posted..Eyeshadows for Different Eye ShapesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Tina: Glad I’m not the only one getting annoyed with Blogger’s mobile theme. Not all images are resized to fit to screen, and when I want to view the entire image, I end up either scrolling to the next page or before. UGH. They really should fix this bug pronto because a lot of blogs out there are on that platform.

  2. Ling

    Great tips! I’m with WP-Touch too.
    Ling recently posted..Look Like A Pretty Little Liar With Remington Perfect CurlsMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Ling: WP-Touch can get a bit buggy at times, especially with caching plugins, so just be aware of that. Other than that, I think it has the most pleasant interface out of the other mobile theme plugins.

  3. lyn

    I use WP-Touch too and it’s working well so far. Thanks for another set of fantastic blogging tips, Tine :-)
    lyn recently posted..Blush Like a Doll with CandyDoll Cheek Color in Strawberry PinkMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Lyn: My pleasure Lyn. Yep, know you’re on WP-Touch too, ‘cos I read and comment from my phone :P

  4. rinnah

    I just installed this and everything’s working fine! Site looks pretty good on my Galaxy Note too, if I may say so myself. :P
    rinnah recently posted..China Glaze Nail Polish in Riveting and Luxe and LushMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Rinnah: *ahem* show off *ahem* :P :P
      Glad it works out fine for you :)

  5. Megan

    Thanks for this tip, I did have a mobile reader plug-in on my website but it caused some problems so I had to remove it and I have yet to find a suitable replacement.
    Megan recently posted..Taylor Swift Concert – FOTNMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Megan: Unfortunately, a lot of plugins don’t work with each other, and this goes for mobile ones too. If it causes problems, then it’s best to just remove it altogether. Better to read the full version than having the blog to suffer on something else :)

  6. Paris B

    I do not use a mobile plugin and I do not recommend the Wordpress Mobile Pack. That was the one I used and it gave me a million crawl errors, Google penalised my site, I lost a lot of traffic and its been over a year plus and I’m still seeing errors albeit minimized. Uninstalling the plugin didn’t help for some reason. The error links were too numerous and kept replicating. I had to write a script to stop that (and I’m a coding dodo so it was a very frustrating period) I tried WP Touch too but I guess I’m just paranoid now. I’m afraid everyone browsing my blog on their mobile will have to contend with the full desktop version. I dare not risk the mobile blog theme/plugin again.
    Paris B recently posted..Tip: Pat your skincare and moisturizer into your skin for better absorptionMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Paris: Damn. That’s really bad. It must have contradicted with some other plugin and caused so much problems. Yeah, better to browse on a full version than risk having it go nuts again. *shudder*

      1. Paris B

        Actually, nope. No contradictions. The plugin adds some extra code to the URL and that then shows up as a 404 error so I had a million errors and as far as Google was concerned, my site was screwed. It isn’t made known but when I googled, I did find other people also making the same complaints and the plugin owner never responded. Till today, there’s no solution. Highly do NOT recommend it :P
        Paris B recently posted..A Song of Fire and Ice : Dior 5 Couleur Eyeshadow palette in Icy LightsMy Profile

        1. Tine

          Damn. I shall remove this plugin from above list pronto!

  7. Jyoan

    I think it’s still okay without mobile version even though I appreciate mobile versions. I read Paris B on my Blackberry without problems. I just use the magnify feature my phone has. But I refrain from typing comments if I am on my handphone because it’s just troublesome to do so.
    Jyoan recently posted..fresh eau de parfum in HesperidesMy Profile

    1. plue

      second Jyoan, I don’t mind blogs without mobile versions, but commenting on non-mobile version of blogs is really a bit troublesome :)
      plue recently posted..Dove Deep Pure Facial WashMy Profile

    2. Tine

      Jyoan: I don’t mind reading full-version websites with the phone (I read PB’s one on my phone too without any issues), but I always find commenting a pain. My problem is that if I wait till I’m on a computer, chances are I will forget to leave a comment because the post is already marked as read on my Google Reader :P

  8. Swati

    oh I am on blogger…gotta check out how to move to mobile version…thanks :)
    Swati recently posted..Home Remedies for Hair Growth {DIY}My Profile

    1. Tine

      Swati: Since you’re on Blogger, you don’t have to do anything with the settings, etc. It will automatically detect mobile browsers and switch on its own :)

      1. Swati

        yes, it does detect and display the mobile version on its own but it doesn’t really give a mobile friendly version….the whole template is far too big for the screen and I have to repeatedly scroll both horizontally and vertically which is very annoying!!!
        Swati recently posted..Do layers of sunscreens help? {Skin Care}My Profile

        1. Tine

          Swati: Oh I know what you mean! Especially when it comes to images on landscape mode. Scrolling to the left or right to view the whole image meant that I’d be clicking on the previous or next post. Very annoying indeed!

  9. Helen Nguyen

    This is a great tip. Although my blog is still in a “young age”, I already made it access easy by mobile. We’re living in a mobile-era, making your blog/website mobile friendly is not only practical, but also good way to attract more traffic to your site. But yeah, like any plugins, it can seriously messed up your whole blog if you dont know what you’re doing :/ I havent had any problem with the mobile plugin, but the others have giving me serious headache.

    1. Tine

      Helen: Good on you. Young or not, if there’s a chance you can go mobile, go mobile. You are right, it does drive traffic to your site. Most of us are frequently on our mobiles, so browsing and reading should be made easy for readers.

  10. coco

    it’s so important to have mobile ready site. it’s frustrating to scroll all the way left and right etc and i often ended up not reading.

    if you don’t want to use or can’t use plugins, you can try to find themes that uses responsive frameworks, which detects your device and automatically adjust the site for you. there are quite a few responsive framework out there and if you know how to code you should be able to fit it into your theme easily.
    coco recently posted..date look with black rose minerals love me… love me trioMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Coco: Good idea, Coco! I didn’t think of framework for mobile viewing. I shall check it out now! :)

  11. kayekie

    As always, great tip! What do you find for devices like iPads? I’ve always been curious whether people prefer the swipe-me version on Wordpress. I personally hate it and find it annoying , so out of pure selfishness I turn it off for my site lol. Plus, I like to be able to check what my blog looks like in different colours. Checking on my iPad gives me that extra check, check for my layout and design :)

    I think if the want was there, I’d switch it on. Grudgingly.
    kayekie recently posted..Mega Avon Lipstick Review: 45 Colour SwatchesMy Profile

    1. Tine

      Kayekie: Personally, I’m not a fan of Swipe-Me. I find it very annoying, and always switch to full site when viewing :P Mobile themes are good for those who browse on their mobile phones. For the iPad, I don’t think it’s really necessary to have one.
      I’m with you; I prefer looking at my blog in its full glory on the iPad too :)

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