Make Your WordPress Site Mobile Friendly

We really don’t have to go too far back to a time when all you did with your mobile phone was make phone calls. Who knew your mobile phone would become the one thing you couldn’t live without? The thing, that if misplaced causes you to break out in a cold sweat and get very, very nervous.  It essentially does everything for you other than make you a latte.

And it all happened in a blink of eye. First you were taking pictures with your mobile phone. Then you were online checking out restaurants in NYC. Then came the games; replacing your TV remote; making video calls to friends across the globe; even becoming your walletWhat’s next?

The world is mobile friendly. Your site should be, too!

Your WordPress website needs to be optimized for a mobile-sized screen. This includes smartphones, tablets, and even phablets (those odd devices that are too big to be a phone and too small to be a tablet).

If it’s not, you risk losing readership. Google actually checks for mobile-friendliness when listing search results for mobile users, and websites that load slowly — a real problem on mobile devices — experience higher bounce rates.

Solving the problem with plugins.

We’re fans of using WordPress plugins to quickly tackle our website woes. And it just so happens that WordPress has a few handy-dandy, easy-to-use plugins that will make your site mobile-friendly.

What about responsive themes?

Another popular approach to tackling mobile friendliness is through the use of responsive design. You can read more about that this blog post.

WPtouch Mobile

WPtouch Mobile Plugin

WPtouch transforms your WordPress site into a touch-friendly, mobile-optimized website. The admin panel allows for basic customization of your site’s mobile appearance.

WPtouch Pro 3: Starts @ $49 CAD

The premium version of WPtouch includes three mobile themes (which can be further customized to suit your site); support for retina & HD displays; automatic video & photo scaling; and the ability for iOS users to save your site as an app on their device. You can read more on their website.

WP Mobile Detector

WPtouch Mobile Detector

The WP Mobile Detector WordPress plugin automatically detects if your visitors are using a standard mobile phone or a smartphone, and loads a compatible WordPress mobile theme for each.

It supports over 5000 different mobile phones, provides mobile statistics, and includes 7 pre-installed mobile themes for you to use.

WP Mobile Detector PRO: $50

Upgrading to WP Mobile Detector PRO lets you create a custom theme and insert mobile ads.

Jetpack’s Mobile WordPress Theme

Jetpack plugin for WordPress

Jetpack by WordPress.com is a plugin suite that provides your self-hosted WordPress site some of the tools and features from WordPress.com.

One of these features is the Mobile Theme. It’s a clean, fast, lightweight design. If you’ve defined a custom header, background image, or background colour in your desktop theme, the mobile theme will use them as well.

If you’re handy with a bit of code you can customize the theme even further with CSS and PHP.

Which plugin is best for you?

Mobile content on a budget? Use Jetpack.

Jetpack’s mobile theme gives you just enough to create a pleasant mobile experience without any fluff. It’s free, and supported by Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com.

Focusing on mobile features? Use WPtouch Pro 3.

WPtouch Pro is incredibly powerful with a lot of smart technology under the hood. The team at BraveNewCode are a talented crew who are very focused on building a great product.

Have a non-smartphone audience? Use WP Mobile Detector.

Feature phones still account for approximately 1/2 of the worldwide market. WP Mobile Detector will help you create a better mobile site experience for those users.

Photo credit: Luke Wroblewski on Flickr

About the author

Andy McIlwain

Andy McIlwain

Director of Content @ FlowPress Inc., WPUniversity.com team lead, Make WordPress Community contributor, WordCamp Toronto organizer. 6+ years of shamelessly advocating for all things WordPress.

4 Responses to “Make Your WordPress Site Mobile Friendly”

  1. Jeremy Harris says:

    Would this work with auctionpress.?

    • Hi Jeremy! I haven’t used AuctionPress, so I can’t say for sure. But if the AuctionPress theme is built properly — following best practices and all that good stuff — then it should play nice with the plugins listed above. In particular, I have faith in WPtouch and the Jetpack mobile site module.

  2. Anime God says:

    I am looking to make my website more mobile friendly. However, I do not want to lose PC or Laptop users. Some mobile plugins modify strictly for mobile performance and you lose what you got.

    Does WP Touch or Jetpack change the original custom WP frame or does it just create a mobile friendly copy which you have to update independently?

    • Andy McIlwain says:

      WPtouch and Jetpack won’t affect your site for laptop or desktop users. Basically, these plugins just check to see what device is being used to access your website. If the plugin detects a mobile device, they’ll display a different theme. It’s still the same post/page content and the same site URL.

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