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What does your blog look like on mobile?

I don't need to throw any statistics here to show you the importance of mobile phone users accessing the internet. You see it all around you - people are busy reading on their portable devices while out and about. It doesn't matter whether that device is a mobile phone, smartphone or tablet, they could be reading your blog. The perception that website owners normally have is that it is easy to read any website on a smartphone or tablet, so there's no need to make any changes to their design. But then, you're not making things any easier for your mobile readers. In fact, you could be costing them money to read your blog by having them load your large images and videos!

Pic: Peter Griffin/PublicDomainPictures.net
Personally, when I find a blog or website that automatically recognizes my device and adjusts to suit it, I am delighted! It makes my reading experience better and I am likely to bookmark it for future visits. I am a very relevant audience segment, because I don't have a touch phone! Yup, mine is the old-fashioned BlackBerry with a screen one-third of what most of you probably have. For some reason, I cannot bring myself to type on a touch screen! Of course, my laptop is my primary reading device, but there are many links I open from social media sites directly on my phone and if they take too long to load or I have to zoom in and out too much, I usually just skip. On the other hand, I am more likely to respond and interact with a blog that is mobile-friendly, clean and lightweight.

If you look into your audience statistics, mobile users may only make up a fraction of your total traffic.  On my blog, for instance, there are close to 12% visitors coming from mobile devices. But you've got to recognize the fact that this could mean anywhere between hundreds and thousands of your readers. So, it makes sense to spend a little time improving the mobile face of your blog. This post is not meant to be a tutorial but I'll outline what could become the mobile strategy for your blog.

Format

There are three ways in which you could set up a mobile version of your blog:

1. Use your blogging platform's in-built plugin

With Blogger, you just need to enable a mobile template and you're done! Here's how you can do it. With a little HTML knowledge, you can even customize it to suit your desktop version.

On WordPress, MobilePress is a popular plugin that creates a mobile site for you. Here is a list of eleven apps to make your WP blog mobile-friendly.

Other blogging platforms may have similar plug-ins, and if not, you can try the other two methods.

2. Create a separate mobile site

There are some websites such as DudaMobile, goMobi and MoFuse which let you set up a mobile site for free. They offer a variety of mobile design options. However, this means that you entire template will be separate from your desktop one and on a different server. The design also may not exactly match what you are looking for.

3. Upgrade to a responsive template

If your template is responsive, it will automatically show appropriate versions of your blog for various devices. If you've been thinking of changing your blog template, make sure the new one is a responsive theme. There are lots of free responsive themes available online. Do note that this is different from the first method where you simply have a mobile version of your blog, not a tablet version too. Also, this method allows for complete customization, which brings us to the next step...


Design


Your mobile site should reflect your desktop one, but there may be a lot of shearing required. For one thing, that awesome blog header you created is kind of useless on the mobile. How about creating a smaller one using the same elements? Make sure your fonts and colours are as similar to the original one as possible, so readers know in one glance that they are in the right place. Figure out the top elements that make your blog design unique and incorporate at least one or two in it. The possibilities are endless, but beware of creating clutter, which is the last thing you want on a mobile site...

Content


It would be nice to put everything you can on your mobile site. But, people may be visiting your blog from their mobile for only one thing - to read your posts. So, it goes without saying that your posts should be given prominence. Some of the other content elements you can add are:
- Follow buttons
- Search box
- Links to pages
- About me
- Subscribe box

You don't have to include all of these. See what's important for your type of content and take it from there. Remove everything else. Keep videos and javascript to a minimum. It's always better to give a text link for mobile users, instead of embedding a video or slideshow.

Do you have a mobile site for your blog? Share your thoughts!

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