A majority (50.4%) of U.S. mobile subscribers owned a smartphone in March 2012, according to a study by Nielsen. With so many people accessing the Internet via their smartphone, the question becomes how mobile friendly is your blog? And, if your blog is not mobile friendly, how can you make it so that it is?
For the sake of simplicity, when using the term “mobile friendly,” we mean the site can be viewed in the phones browser (or tablet for that matter). But it does become slightly more complicated because Blackberry uses a different browser than Android. And Android uses a different browser than Apple and so on. The idea is to have your website be compatible with as many browsers as possible.
Below are some changes you can implement that will have a positive effect on your site and your visitors’ experience.
As an aside, before venturing into adding plugins and making changes, make sure to back-up your site so that you don’t find yourself having a meltdown if something goes buggy along the way.
The cost to revamp your site to make it mobile friendly can be steep. But this article is aimed at bloggers and small business owners that want to be able to implement immediate changes that won’t cost anything but time.
Basic Design Tips that improves the mobile friendliness of your blog:
Fluid width design – this method involves modifying the CSS style sheet to allow your site to have a flexible width depending on what browser it’s being viewed on. We cannot stress enough to make a backup of your site before you make any changes.
Center the content – Try and center the content instead of it being full-width and starting on the left.
Contextual Links – Many website and blogs utilize contextual links – when the user hovers over them a box opens on the screen and shows an ad or similar. These types of links are fine for desktop browsers but definitely not the case for mobile users
Concise Navigation – When mobile users are searching for information while out and about, that usually means they are short on time and most are also short on patience. Make sure the navigation is uncluttered and the most important pages are easily visible.
Tools & Plugins
One way to get started is by utilizing a tool such as MobiReady to analyze your website pages to determine how well it performs on a mobile device. A free report will provide a score from 1 to 5 so you know what you are working with.
Another way, which is preferable by most, is by using the WP Touch plugin with your self-hosted WordPress blog. The plugin allows you to easily customize many aspects of appearance and deliver a fast, user-friendly and stylish version of your site to touch mobile visitors, without modifying any code (or affecting) your regular desktop theme.
These are just some of the easier and more common ways you can help your website and/or blog to embrace the ever-growing mobile world by being more mobile friendly.
Ann Fleming is a freelance writer for andgeeks.com and bbgeeks.com. She has a knack for clarifying the more complex side of technology and how to use it for the average person. When she’s not obsessed with the newest gadget, Ann is chasing her young son around the house or hiking nearby Camelback Peak.