“How do I mobilize my website?“ is probably a question you have already started asking. But after the initial curiosity, you have not found yet the time to think seriously about when and how you are going to convert your web site or blog into a mobile version that can be properly viewed on any iPhone, iPad or on any other modern smartphone. In this MasterNewMedia guide we have identified and reviewed all of the best tools and services out there, that can help you build or convert your blog into a full mobile site.
Photo credit: Robin Good
The forecasted rise in mobile data traffic and the rising usage of smartphones are statistical confirmations that the time in which web publishers like you need to embrace the opportunity to deliver content to a wider audience and across multiple devices is here.
BlackBerries, iPhones, iPads, Android phones and other standard mobile phones may be already a significant part of the traffic you receive on your site, and the tools that can make your web site fully accessible on mobile devices are many, easy and inexpensive. So why not creating a better experience for your readers connecting to you via their mobile devices?
Well, a web site displayed on a standard computer screen is not the same as a web site displayed on an iPhone or BlackBerry. There are design and layout issues, legibility and navigation problems, the need for things to load rapidly and efficiently. In particular:
- Screen size: Screens are smaller and content on your pages need to be arranged differently than your standard website. Mostly, you need to organize information in a vertical fashion, but avoiding as much as possible the need to scroll down.
- Images: All pictures on your pages should be correctly resized and made smaller and lighter to ensure fast page loading.
- Connection speed: Your mobile site should be optimized to have fast-loading pages and to deal with connection drops or other issues related to connection speed. This is particularly important for a mobile site that sells products as no user wants to be worried of connection drops in the middle of a transaction.
- Widgets and plugins: All extra component like widgets, plugins and add-ons may slow down your mobile site and, most importantly, may not work at all on mobile phones. For example, Apple devices do not support Flash, so if you are creating a mobile website for them, avoid all Flash-based elements and, where possible, go for HTML5 instead.
- Sensors: Last-gen phones have physical sensors like accelerometers, gyroscopes, light sensors and other bells and whistles built-in. On one hand, you should know very well if these sensors may cause extra issues for mobile navigators and, on the other hand, you should understand how to leverage these sensors to offer a superior navigation experience.
To help you identify the best tools to convert your existing site into a fully mobile one, the MasterNewMedia research team has searched, identified and collected the best tools out there to convert sites into mobile versions and to make your evaluation as effective as possible, we have prepared a tools’ mindmap and a set of comparative tables illustrating side-by-side the strength and weakness of each one of these mobile website builder tools.
Here the criteria that our team has used for this comparison:
- Custom domain: Create a specific URL that identifies your mobile blog site.
- Ready-made templates: Style your mobile-optimized website with readily-available templates.
- Mobile analytics: Supervise traffic, revenues, entrance keyword and other data of your mobile blog site.
- Ad integration: Integrate third-party ads in your mobile blog layout.
- Automatic redirection: Redirect your readers to a mobile-optimized page of your site when they are visiting your blog site with a mobile phone.
- Price: Cost of the mobile website builder tool.
- Pro features: Advanced features present in pro / paid accounts.
In addition to mobile website creator tools, in this guide you will find also those online services that allow you to visualize your blog as a mobile site for testing purposes or that allow you to redirect your standard web visitors to a an automatically-generated mobile version of your website or blog.
If instead you are more into coding than in utilizing web-based solutions, you can leverage the power of CSS3 media queries to create a mobile version of your website.