When it comes to creating and managing digital content, WordPress is hard to beat. From classic corporate to laid-back lifestyle magazines, it has hundreds of thousands of themes to use with different types of content. But how does it cope with mobile?
Reports from numerous content providers and retailers, tell us that a redesign and refresh of their mobile offering has hugely increased their users. And with more people now accessing internet content via their mobile than via a desktop, WordPress site owners need to sit up and take notice. Mobile users are fed up with slow loads and clunky designs clumsily adapted from desktop interfaces.
Luckily help is at hand. There are nearly 30,000 WordPress plugins out there – here are the best five if you want your mobile users to have an engaging and enjoyable experience.
WPTouch Mobile Plugin
There are an estimated 5.5 million bloggers currently using this plug-in. It’s a suite of functions focused on mobile response. It has a fully developed WPTouch theme that’s fast, ready for multi-screen, and has a sharp retina interface. Mobile caching is used to make website access zip along. It has features to make content and images easier to use on smartphones.
There are many more features in the premium version, and WPTouch has lots of payment plan options. The plug-in also has an add-on that can tell if a mobile is accessing your site, and load a smartphone-friendly template.
This has a great feature called “Mobile Theme” – it functions to optimise your WordPress pages for display and interaction on smartphones. Add to that contact forms, CSS customisation, verification, the ability to transform image galleries using Carousel – and the JetPack people may be successful in their mission to become the “go-to” package for everything you want to do with your WordPress site. JetPack can speed your site up significantly and you can integrate it directly with Google+.
JetPack is free so it’s a great place to start if you have a smallish site and just want to optimise your smartphone offering.
WordPress Mobile Pack 2.0
This plugin will make your users feel that they’ve accessed an app, not a WordPress site. Different platforms, devices and operating systems? No problem. WordPress Mobile Pack 2.0 can deal with them all. The user interface is big on response and you have six ready-made themes with complete access across platforms. You can customise the appearance, and integrate the theme into analytics. Desktop users aren’t left out because there’s a “full screen” interface option for them.
WP Mobile Detector
When a user asks your site to load a page, wouldn’t it be great to know for certain whether they’re sitting at a desk or using their mobile? WP Mobile Detector solves that problem. It finds out whether it’s a mobile trying to access your WordPress site, and if it is, it loads up a theme that’s mobile friendly.
Amazingly, this plug-in covers more than five thousand different mobile phones – a staggering thought! The great thing is that the plug-in even figures out whether the phone is a smartphone or not. It can load themes for non-smartphone mobile users if necessary. You also get advanced analytics and there are pre-installed themes for mobiles.
WP Mobile Edition
This goes one stage further than the WP Mobile Detector. Not only does it detect what device someone is using to access your site, it lets users choose between desktop and mobile versions. If they choose mobile, they’ll experience a website that is optimised for Windows, iOS and Android.
The mobile theme loads fast, looks great and comes with streamlined formatting, adaptation to different devices, the ability to comment and different colour designs. The whole thing is ready for SEO and is even set up for mobile advertising. So it’s a really full-on mobile experience.
Whether you want to dip a toe into mobile formats, or go for the whole mobile experience, these five plug-ins can take you all the way. You can start with free and low-cost, and then go for the premium offerings to ensure that your mobile users love your site.