Getting my WordPress blog mobile ready

With the ever-expanding smartphone market these days, it’s important that your blog is mobile ready, meaning for example, that it can be rendered nice and clearly without having to scroll around too much on your phone. If you have a WordPress blog, there are a number of plugins which will remove the sidebars for example and convert the blog to a nice clean format for viewing on a cellphone. But which WordPress plugin to choose? Here’s a quick run through of how I narrowed the field down.

I went through my Diigo bookmarks and found I had bookmarked blogs discussing quite a few plugins: WordPress Mobile Pack, WPTouch, MobilePress, WordPress Mobile Edition, and Wapple Architect Mobile to name just a few. But what I really wanted to get hold of was a comparison to see what people thought was the best mobile plugin.

Comparisons of WordPress mobile plugins

I found it hard to track down any blog which had reviewed and compared mobile plugins. In fact, if anyone’s interested and has access to a range of cellphones, there’s an opportunity for a really useful blog post here. WPFeed compared a number of plugins and chose WordPress Mobile Plugin (but when you click the link now you’re directed to WordPress Mobile Pack), and the only other site I came across was Alpha2beta which I had Google translate from Chinese. They also compared a few and chose WordPress Mobile Pack.

I know that WPTouch is being quite well received, particularly for iPhone and Android platforms. Technically Personal uses the WPTouch plugin. In a reply to me in the comments there, Raju said he had tried quite a few plugins and found problems with them all. Wapple was a disaster he said.

Narrowing the choice down

On Mahalo Answers, I asked ‘What’s the best WordPress plugin to make my blog mobile friendly?’ I received three answers recommending WPTouch, Wapple Architect and WordPress Mobile Pack. I was getting the feeling now that it was between these three. I liked the Wapple recommendation:

Wapple

Finally, I tried a search on Twitter for wordpress AND mobile. Jumped into an interesting lead:

@dannybrown Did you test other WP mobile plugins before you settled on Wapple Architect? I’m finding it hard to pick one for my blog

@techandlife I did. Tried WordPress Mobile, WP Touch (good for iPhone, not so great others). Wapple best one I found

@techandlife And Rich Gubby of Wapple is just awesome 😉 http://bit.ly/7z2qwx

I checked back on my own bookmarks and Wapple Architect sounded really promising even though it doesn’t work for some. So I thought I’d try it first.

Installing Wapple Architect

Wasn’t just a case of downloading and installing the Wapple plugin. Had to register to receive the Developer Key, click a link in an email to complete registration, then received a Developer Key which was required to set up the plugin. Didn’t take too long though. During set up, you can upload an image to use for your mobile header and which would be automatically resized. Didn’t work for me on this occasion but I’ll try that again later. Incidentally, 2 days after registering, I received an email from Rich Gubby the Lead Developer at Wapple offering to help with the mobile styling – that’s a nice touch.

Testing Wapple Architect

I found a testing tool online to check mobile-readiness at mobiReady. My blog checked out okay.

mobiReady

At mobiReady, you can also check how your blog renders on a Nokia N70, Samsung Z105, Sony Ericsson k750i, Motorola v3i and Sharp GX-10.

I don’t have a smartphone but I fired up the browser on my LG Cookie and had a look at my blog:

LG Cookie and techandlife

Finally, at the top of the sidebar on the desktop version of this blog, I’ve also tried to indicate that it’s now mobile ready.

I’d love to hear how this blog renders on your mobile. Any annoyances you’ve noticed or any improvements you think I can make? If you do comment, let us know what mobile you’re using.

5 Responses

  1. Raju Says:

    Neat post! It’s true that I have tried almost all the available options for mobile optimizing wordpress blogs, but sadly NONE of them worked without issues.
    I made a post before waiting long enough, announcing that I am using Wp-Touch, but even that has an issue when it comes to caching.

    As for Wapple Architect, it constantly makes calls to its own webservice and it proved to be a disaster as it took down my blog (since webservice was down).

  2. Andy - The Digitante Says:

    I’m using a BlackBerry Curve 8330, on 3G with Sprint in the US.

    On the BlackBerry browser, it is extremely basic: TechAndLife hyperlink followed by Home, About, Contact Me links. Then there is a link to each post and the date.

    Clicking on a link to a post it takes me to an exerpt of the post and requires a click on the “more” button to view the next page of the single post. The single post ended up being broken up into 5 pages.

    Pictures were rendered and were clickable for a larger size.

    For me personally, I want one click access to the entire post, not broken into multiple pages. Blog posts should typically be 750 words or less so should be one page on the mobile and load fairly quickly. If it is longer than 750 words, it might need to be broken into a multi-part series anyway.

    To sum up: Looks good, but make it one page per post.

  3. techandlife Says:

    Andy, I’ve gone to the Wapple plugin settings page and changed it so that posts don’t split into multiple pages. Thanks for that observation

  4. Andy - The Digitante Says:

    Since you updated, I went back and this post loaded in under 10 seconds on Sprint 3G (in the US).

    I can’t remember if this issue came up when I looked before, but the hard/carriage returns don’t transfer to the mobile site. Instead of this:

    @dannybrown Did you test other WP mobile plugins before you settled on Wapple Architect? I’m finding it hard to pick one for my blog

    @techandlife I did. Tried WordPress Mobile, WP Touch (good for iPhone, not so great others). Wapple best one I found

    @techandlife And Rich Gubby of Wapple is just awesome 😉 http://bit.ly/7z2qwx

    It looks like this:

    @dannybrown Did you test other WP mobile plugins before you settled on Wapple Architect? I’m finding it hard to pick one for my blog@techandlife I did. Tried WordPress Mobile, WP Touch (good for iPhone, not so great others). Wapple best one I found@techandlife And Rich Gubby of Wapple is just awesome 😉 http://bit.ly/7z2qwx

    I don’t know if that is fixable, but you might check it out.

  5. Canon Says:

    I tried several WP Plugins (forgot their names) and had issues with all but WP-Touch. After some tweaking the css, I am comfortable with it. You can take a look for yourself, as it is currently enabled and running on my site, http://www.elvisrecords.us. Just my two cents.

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