How to make your WordPress site mobile-ready

A quick way to create a mobile-optimized
WordPress site without changing your theme

Consider these findings from a Google study:

71% of smartphone users search because of an ad they’ve seen either online or offline; 82% of smartphone users notice mobile ads, 74% of smartphone shoppers make a purchase as a result of using their smartphones to help with shopping, and 88% of those who look for local information on their smartphones take action within a day. (Source)

Because of these findings, Google recently implemented a change in the “ads quality” ranking, as reported by AdWeek:

As of Wednesday, mobile optimization will now be included in Google’s “ads quality” ranking, which (along with pricing) determines what ads get served when. So—all other things being equal—an ad that links to a mobile-friendly website will get served alongside Google’s mobile search results before an ad that doesn’t. (Source)

Even if you do not use Adsense to drive traffic to your site, it’s obvious that the same arguments work for unpaid search results too. If your website does not work properly in mobile devices, you may be losing out on traffic. Therefore, make your website mobile-friendly. If you are using a Flash-only site, consider migrating your site to html5. If you have a website that is heavy on images and javascript effects that do not work in mobile devices, create a leaner mobile version.

If you are using WordPress to power your website, you are in luck. You can make your website mobile-friendly right NOW! The quickest way to make your WordPress site mobile-ready is to use a plugin that detects whether the user is viewing your site from a desktop or a mobile device and serve the appropriate theme depending on the result. The best plugin I have worked with so far is WPtouch. You can get the free version here.

The free version allows you to serve a mobile-optimized theme to iPhone, Android devices and a host of other smart phones, and includes customization options that should cover most WP website owner’s needs. You can customize the following options:

  • A different homepage;
  • Which pages to show in the menu;
  • Change menu icons from a selection of preset icons;
  • Exclude categories and tags;
  • Push notification using Prowl;
  • Google Adsense advertising;
  • Stats and other css codes.

WPtouch Pro

But if you want more advanced options, WPtouch also has a Pro version that extends the plugin features. Some of the notable enhancements I found in the Pro version includes:

  • iPad support. The free theme supports only iPhone, while an iPad will serve your desktop theme.
  • Theme customization. You can create a child theme and customize this to give your mobile site a unique look. This is especially helpful if you are careful about your site brand and do not want a generic theme for your mobile site.
  • Extended built-in icon sets for your menus, and the ability to upload your custom icon sets.
  • Assign a WordPress menu for mobile devices. In the free version, you can only assign pages and not an entire WP menu.
  • Ability to use in multi-site.
  • Backup settings.
  • License allows up to 5 websites.

And if you want to view WPtouch Pro version in action, try viewing my site in iPad, iPhone and Android devices.


Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links.

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