How To Mobilize My Website: Best Tools To Convert Your Blog Into A Mobile Site
"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.
Here all of the best tools and services to mobilize your website or blog:
Best Tools To Convert Your Blog Into a Mobile Site - Comparison Tables
Best Tools to Convert Your Blog Into a Mobile Site
Mobify is a web-based service that you can use to convert your blog into a mobile site. Starting with the free version of Mobify, you already have the ability to optimize and design your mobile site for thousands of mobile devices. You also have the ability to choose a custom domain for your mobile site and install a plugin on your blog that automatically redirects visitors to the mobile version when using their phones to reach your site. By switching to a pricing plan (starting from $249/mo) you also get advanced support, mobile analytics and custom branding. No ad integration, nor ready-made templates are available.
MoFuse is a an online service that lets you mobilize your website. MoFuse allows you to convert your blog into a mobile site for more than 5000 supported mobile devices while taking care of displaying your content according to screen dimensions and connection speed. With the first step of its pricing offer ($7.95/mo), the service also provides mobile SEO and analytics, automatic redirection and standard support. If you go for a professional plan (starting at $39/mo) you also receive advanced features like custom mobile CSS, Google Analytics integration, mobile sitemaps and more. No custom domain, ready-made mobile templates, nor ad integration are available.
MobiSiteGalore is a web-based service that allows you to create a mobile-based version of your own blog. With pricing plans starting from $7.99/mo, MobiSiteGalore offers you a custom domain, basic mobile analytics, SEO and automatic redirection. Taking one step forward, for $11.99/mo you can also remove MobiSiteGalore logo from your mobile site, integrate ads on your pages, have advanced analytics features, include web widgets and more. No ready-made mobile templates are supported.
DotMobi Instant Mobilizer
DotMobi Instant Mobilizer is an online mobile website builder that allows you to optimize your blog content for mobile viewing. For prices around €1.51 - 1.81/mo, DotMobi Instant Mobilizer promises custom branding, improved search engine discoverability, custom domain name for your mobile site, automated Google Maps directions and more. No ready-made templates, ad mobile analytics, ad integration, nor automatic redirection are available from DotMobi Instant Mobilizer.
WireNode is a free mobile website creator that allows you to turn your blog into a mobile site. You can build mobile-optimized websites for most mobile phones on the market, analyze the statistics of your blog, have mobile SEO, integrate mobile widgets and support automatic redirection without spending a dime. If you want also to have a custom domain for your mobile site, remove third-party ads from your pages and get 20 SMS credits, you must switch to the first pricing plan, available for €15/mo. No ads integration, nor ready-made templates are supported.
Onbile is a free online platform for creating and managing the mobile version of your blog. With a few clicks you can customize and build the pages and sections of your mobile site using one of the ready-made templates available. Then you only have to set an automatic redirection that brings visitors to your mobile site when landing your standard website using a phone. No custom domain, mobile analytics, ads integration, nor ready-made templates are supported.
Mippin Mobilizer is a free service that allows you to mobilize your blog or website. To start building your site, you must submit the URL of your blog or RSS feed, then you can use one of the ready-made templates available to style your mobile site. You can also fine-tune your mobile layout and choose to integrate a third-party ad service like AdMob to monetize your mobile pages. No custom domain, mobile analytics, nor automatic redirection are available.
Best Tools to Visualize Your Mobile Site
FeedM8 allows you to visualize your mobile site. Just enter the URL of your blog site and FeedM8 will automatically generate a URL that you can use to reach a mobile version of your site, free of charge. You can also receive your mobile URL via SMS by entering your phone number (only available for the US and Canada).
Mowser is a free service by DotMobi that allows you to visualize how your blog is rendered onto a mobile phone. No custom URL is generated to reach your mobile site, since the service is only for testing purposes.
Google Mobilizer is a free service from Google that allows you to check how a standard mobile phone would display your website. You just have to enter the URL of your website and select if you want images to be hidden.
MobileAppAmerica is a web-based service that allows you to visualize and convert your blog into a mobile site. You can just type the URL of your blog and the service will convert it to a mobile-optimized version that works with more than 2000 mobile devices, including iPhones, Blackberries and Android phones. If then you want to save your converted website, you will have to pay a $4.99/mo fee.
WPtouch Pro is a popular plugin for the WordPress blogging platform that lets you create a mobile version of your WP blog and also automatically redirect visitors to the mobile version when needed. WPtouch is highly customizable and it is priced at $29.
PadPressed is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to convert your blog for the iPad. The plugin not only optimizes your blog layout for iPad viewing but it also lets your mobile site support touch-based controls and sensors present inside Apple's new mobile device. PadPressed can even automatically redirect visitors to the mobile version of your WordPress blog for those browsing from iPad models. PadPressed is priced at $49.99 and all updates are free forever.
Blogger Touch is a free widget that allows you to generate a mobile version of your Blogger blog and takes care also of redirecting mobile visitors to the mobile-optimized version of your site. Blogger Touch even allows you to redirect vistors to a mobile domain of your choice.
Robin Good and Daniele Bazzano -
Originally prepared by Robin Good and Daniele Bazzano for MasterNewMedia, and first published on Jul 26th, 2010 as "How To Mobilize My Website: Best Tools To Convert Your Blog Into A Mobile Site".
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