Following my yesterday post on how to decide if you need a mobile site or not, I’ve got a few questions about the easiest way to get a mobile website. I soon realized there is no universal answer I could provide, it’s really depending on each individual business. So what options are there?
Mobile site for a simple presentation site
If you have a fairly small website that doesn’t get updated very often, it might be a good idea to use a “mobilization” service. Google has partnered with Dudamobile to offer easy site mobilization for everybody. To mobilize your site with Dudamovile you enter your regular website URL, and they read your site content. From an easy to use interface you get to personalize the look&feel of your mobile site version.
Advantages of using a “mobilization service”
- it’s cheap
- it’s very easy to use – you don’t need technical knowledge.
- you don’t have to change your current site (well, you need to integrate the mobile detection/redirection to your current site, but thats a 5 minute job)
- it’s always compatible with the latest mobile devices and technologies
Disadvantages of using “mobilization services”
- you don’t have total control on how things work and look
- might need re-dos as your site structure changes (but the content is updated automatically)
- traffic get’s redirected on their server (the mobile site is build on their server)
- you are dependent on their level of service
- no custom advanced features
Mobile site built on WordPress
If your regular website is built on WordPress, that’s good news. You might be able to use a mobilization plugin. The way the mobile version plugin work is that they identify the mobile devices and they redirect users to a mobile version of the content.
Advantages of using a WordPress mobile plugin
- they are easy to use, just need to install and customize few settings from the interface
- the mobile version resides on your server so it brings you the added traffic and SEO advantages
- basic versions of the mobilization plugins are free and you get quite a few options to choose from
- can be customized by regular WordPress developers
Disadvantages of WordPress mobile plugins
- WordPress plugins might not be up to date with the latest WordPress updates or with the latest mobile devices
- the plugins dont’ work so well with very customized sites
- from the box they might not look at all as your site (they are limited to a template system)
Custom mobile sites
If you are really into customized experiences to match your regular website, then you should go the custom development way. Of course, these are more expensive to develop but you can have an unitary user experience across devices, brand recognition and excellent user engagement. Custom development usually goes one of the following ways:
- responsive design: the layout of your current site needs to be modified to accommodate the different screen sizes and layouts of mobile devices (so we are talking mostly about re-arranging website elements for an optimized view on mobile). This might word well if you want most of the content to be available for the mobile users, but not necessarily the best optimization for mobile usage
- separate mobile site: a separate implementation of your current regular website, very specific to mobile devices usage, streamlined content and advanced mobile features