Web Development

Make your site mobile ready without creating a mobile site

It's estimated that by 2013, there will be more mobile internet users than desktop users. Here's how to prepare your own site.

Since 2010, mobile searches have seen a 400% increase and it is estimated that by 2013, there will be more mobile internet users than desktop users. A mobile-friendly site can thus help you connect with your customers and drive conversions. Just because your website can be seen on your mobile phone does not however mean that it's mobile ready.

Mobile sites are designed with mobile users in mind and fit well on small screens. They are supposed to offer simple navigation capabilities and take advantage of the natural mobile phone features such as maps, location information and click-to-call. How though can you make your desktop website be more mobile-friendly and offer visitors the same experience as your desktop version? It turns out, you don't have to create an entirely new mobile website. You just need the right tools to work with and you can come up with your very own mobile ready site.

Use plug-ins

Do you have a Wordpress website? If so, with just a single plug-in, you can automatically enable mobile users on your website to access a mobile version it. There are many plug-ins on the market to choose from. The MobilePress plug-in, for example, can help render your Wordpress-powered website on mobile phones by configuring specific themes for specific browsers or devices. The plug-in makes it possible for developers to create customized mobile themes as well.

Mippin is another plug-in that detects mobile devices and redirects visitors to the mobile optimized pages on your website. Mippin even renders your blog better and faster on an iPhone compared to the desktop version. Mippin uses the RSS feeds approach to render raw content on a phone by converting videos, on the fly, to the 3GP format while scaling photos horizontally.

Online tools

With Google having a designated bot that looks for mobile versions of your site, it seems logical to have a subdomain with your mobile version. This will also allow you to optimize separately your mobile website for SEO and landing pages. One of the easiest tools to transform your website into a suitable mobile version is the Google Mobile Optimizer. The tool allows you to test your site and contains plenty of resources to get your site mobile ready.

MobiReady is a free tool that helps test the mobile usability of your existing site and offers detail free reports on potential problem areas and how your site displays on mobiles. With this information you can use other tools to optimize your site for better mobile visibility. DudaMobile is another free online tool that helps you get a mobile version of your website with one simple click. The mobile version automatically syncs with your regular website and offers dozens of mobile templates that will surely WOW your visitors. Additional features include the ability of site visitors to easily send text about your business info and a click-to-call button that makes it easy for site visitors to contact you.

While we reviewed just a few of the tools that can get your site mobile in a short time, there are many other more tools on the Web that can offer similar or added functionality. What tools have you used to make your site more mobile friendly? Share your comments below.

About

David Gitonga is an avid reader and writer and has worked with various companies to design, develop, and maintain their websites. He has worked with websites as an online content marketing strategist in the field of tech, social media, design, and de...

4 comments
DavGit
DavGit

While the above tools may not offer all the functionality that we would individually want to have, they offer a way to get your site onto the majority of mobile devices easily. I would also like to point out that the above tools also come with premium plans; for a good reason. I have personally used DudaMobile and I love the ability to add a 'Click-To-Call' feature where users always have access to your phone number displayed on each page of your website while on their mobile devices.

Jason.Friend
Jason.Friend

This article is one side of the coin. The other side pertains to new or redesigned websites. Use a responsive/adaptive layout so you can have a single, style agnostic website viewable on any device. There are different frameworks available to help you get started so you don't have to build it from scratch. I have used the Bootstrap from Twitter and Less Framework, but that's not to say they are always the best choice. They all serve their purpose. In no certain order here are a few of the good frameworks you can use. [ul][*][b]Less Framework[/b] - http://lessframework.com/ [*][b]Bootstrap from Twitter[/b] - http://twitter.github.com/bootstrap/ [*][b]Foundation[/b] - http://foundation.zurb.com/ [*][b]320 and Up[/b] - http://www.stuffandnonsense.co.uk/projects/320andup/ [*][b]Skeleton[/b] - http://getskeleton.com/ [*][b]1140 CSS Grid[/b] - http://cssgrid.net/ [*][b]Golden Grid System[/b] - http://goldengridsystem.com/ [*][b]intuit.css[/b] - http://csswizardry.com/inuitcss/ [/ul]

Scott.Geiger
Scott.Geiger

I checked out a site I developed using jQuery Mobile and HTML5 over at MobiReady. It failed miserably. One of the reasons was that it wasn't using XHTML-MP. They displayed a chart with penetration by markup support... that ended at 2005!? Really? I question the validity and usefulness of this site and based on this not sure why it's even recommended. It also failed on other picky things, I used an H4 without having all of H1, H2, and H3 above it - yes probably should have the correct heading structure, and it's better syntax to do so, but on a mobile usability level it really shouldn't be given as much weight as it was given.

MymCart
MymCart

I'm with Scott here. I checked out a site that Google places a mobile icon next to in the mobile SERPs and MobiReady said that site wasn't mobile compatible. It would be great if the guys here could update the article to reflect the unsuitability of that tools as I'm sure that many non-experts may view the information given as valid.