Mobile Matters…a lot

Everywhere you turn these days you see statistics about mobile web users and how many people are accessing the internet from a mobile device. Phones and tablets are becoming primary web browsers for some people and making fast advances in numbers of users. Consider these facts presented in the Mobile Access 2010 Report by the Pew Internet & American Life Project:

40% of adults use the internet, email or instant messaging on a mobile phone (up from the 32% of Americans who did this in 2009)

African-Americans and English-speaking Latinos continue to be among the most active users of the mobile web

38% of cell phone owners are now more likely to use their mobile phones to access the internet versus 25% just a year ago

I wanted to see if our site or our blog over at Home Health Testing was experiencing visitors from mobile browsers. I went into Google Analytics and looked under Visitors-Mobile-Mobile Devices to find out that 12% of the visitors to our ecommerce site and 26% of the visitors to our blog were entering on a mobile device. So we can’t ignore these numbers and need to address the issue of presenting our website or blog on a mobile device which is quite different from the large widescreen monitor on my desk.

Here is the beauty and power of WordPress, we can make our blog mobile ready with a variety of plugins. After some research, I chose WPtouch based on the reviews and that 1.6 million wordpress users have downloaded the plugin. The plugin will:

WPtouch automatically transforms your WordPress blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects, when viewed from iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch mobile devices.

Installing the plugin was simple and straight forward and just accepting the default setup produced excellent results. However, you can also go into the setup and customize the application by answering some questions. Immediately after installing the plugin, I used my mobile phone to view our blog and it showed up similar to the image at the right – easy to use from any mobile device. WPtouch will automatically detect if your visitor is using a mobile device and then display the blog for that device, however, if your visitor comes in a regular computer browser like Internet Explorer or Firefox then the theme you have on your blog will be displayed and WPtouch will not display your blog.

Our blog articles are now clear and crisp on a small screen and very easy to read. An investment of about a half hour of time to install WPtouch produced astounding results by making our blog mobile friendly for those 26% of our readers. You want to keep the browser clean and easy to load for mobile users and this plugin does that extremely well.

WordPress and the community of developers who make plugins help us keep our websites and blogs technologically up to date. I am still amazed that most plugins are free and how easy they are to install. The tools we have at our fingertips now to run a business are astounding.

If you want to read more about mobilizing your website, the folks over at oDesk wrote a helpful blog post Tips & Tools to Get Your Website Mobile-Friendly

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