It’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t use a mobile phone to communicate and surf the Web. Ongoing breakthroughs in hardware and software have made mobile devices an indispensable part of our lives. Although mobile browsers can load any website, most sites aren’t optimized for mobile use. Slow load times, poor navigation, incorrect sizing and excessive use of graphics are all signs that a site isn’t mobile-ready.
There are many Web-based tools that facilitate the site-building process; some are free, while others have a nominal fee. If your existing site has an RSS feed, you can use Mippin Mobilizer to reformat your site. With this free service, you can even upload a header file and change the layout and color scheme. Wirenode is another service that’s free for personal use. Its powerful site creator allows you to add images, format text, and even add widgets such as galleries and maps. For free design and hosting, check out zinadoo.com. Their service is supported by advertising but you can remove the ads for a nominal fee. The last of the free services is at winksite.com and you can use their web builder to create a site that’s compliant with all mobile standards. If you want more power and flexibility from your mobile site service, take a look at mofuse.com and mobisitegalore.com. These services give you the ability to create a world-class mobile site and you can get started for as little as $7.95 a month.
Although WordPress is a blogging platform, it’s also flexible enough to build conventional web sites. A lot of this flexibility comes from its use of plugins and plugins are now available for WordPress that will optimize your site for mobile browsers. MobilePress is a search engine friendly plugin that adapts WordPress sites for mobile display and you can even use it to create your own theme. WordPress Mobile Edition is another plugin that does a good job of converting your site to the mobile format. If you already have a Mippin Mobilizer account, you can use their WordPress plugin to redirect mobile users to your Mippin mobile site. A final option for businesses that are willing to pay for the best possible results is WPtouch Pro. It’s a “mobile theming framework” that allows you to build a custom mobile site with all the bells and whistles.
After you’ve built your site, it’s a good idea to make sure it displays properly on mobile phones and conforms to mobile standards. There are many free tools you can use to insure your site is up to snuff. The mobiReady tool at mobiforge.com will check your compliance with industry best practices and standards and let you know if changes are necessary. You can also use the Mobile Domainatron tool at pukupi.com/post/2057 to check your domain’s suitability for mobile use. To get your site to appear in mobile search results, go to siteexplorer.search.yahoo.com/mobilesubmit and login or create a new Yahoo account, then submit your site. As a final check to see what a typical mobile user will experience when they visit your site, use dotMobi’s emulator at mtld.mobi/emulator.php.
Tim Castleman, “Mobile Marketing,” Tim Castleman
Michael Fleischner, “Mobile Traffic Domination,” Michael Fleischner
Ryan Unger, “The Essential Mobile WAP Web Site Development Tools and Resources,” Punchkick Interactive Inc.