For as long as I can remember the travel industry has been talking about how mobile is going to be big and that companies should start to think about it – well that time has come. On my guide My Life in Leeds, when the weekend approaches I see an increase where nearly 40% of my readers are using smart phones like the iPhone and Android devices to browse my website. This has increased from 20% only 18 months ago.
Increase in mobile visitors
It was only in 2012 where I made the website mobile friendly and to be honest it need not take me so long to do this because they are a number of plugins and themes that within the WordPress community that make this job so simple.
The biggest difference I have noticed is that in Google Analytics my bounce rate has dropped drastically from 62% to 31% because more people are able to easily read the content and interact with the website; the amount of time people are spending on the website has also increased.
The next stage for me is to monetise my mobile traffic, and will be looking at local advertising along with the likes of Google Adwords and other mobile ad networks. I will write about how I am going to do this in a future post. For now, lets look at how you can make your blog mobile friendly.
WordPress Mobile Edition
WordPress Mobile Edition is a plugin by Crowd Favorite. This plugin shows an interface designed for a mobile device when visitors come to your site on a mobile device. Mobile browsers are automatically detected; the list of mobile browsers can be customized on the settings page.
My personal favourite option as you can create your own ‘child theme’ for your WordPress powered blog. WP Touch automatically transforms your blog into a web-application experience when viewed from an iPhone, iPod touch, Android, or BlackBerry Storm touch mobile device. It has a very good admin options panel. There is a free and pro version of the plugin, and the pro version is worth spending the money on.
If you do not want the hassle of designing your own mobile friendly blog then WP Tap will be for you. They have a number of themes that are compatible with the likes of the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and other devices like the iPad.
This is my favourite WordPress theme store, by far, simply because Theme Forest is a huge community of talented designers who sell their themes at reasonable prices. You’ll find that most of the themes come with a mobile friendly version (like the TravelBlogCamp website) and cost from as little as $30.
The following two WordPress plugins I have not used, so use with care.
WordPress Mobile Pack
With the mobile recognition and device adaptation feature, the WordPress Mobile Pack plugin automatically re-sizes the images, split the articles or post into multiple pages such that your web page looks just fine on any of the mobile phones. It has a mobile admin panel so the admin of the site can easily manage it. Mobile ad widget allows mobile ads or mobile Adsense to be displayed on the mobile version of the web pages.
With Mobile Press you can set this plugin to display a specific theme for a specific device model or mobile browsers like the iPhone, Opera Mini, etc., such that your blog displays according to the device capability. This plugin also allows the WordPress theme developers to develop their own mobile themes for WordPress blogs.
Disclosure: some of the links in this post are affiliates. I generate a little bit of revenue if you sign up to these services – rest assured I would not recommend them if I had not tried them myself.