These days, more and more people are viewing blog content through mobile means–our phones and tablets have largely replaced our laptops when it comes to simply taking in content. We bloggers must keep pace with these demands when possible; after all, visiting a site and having to re-zoom in to see the text every time you open a new page can be an off-putting hassle. (Take it from me, I’ve run into this annoyance factor even on my own blog!)
But what if you don’t have the time to develop either an app or a mobile-friendly version of your site? The solution seems to be simple: use a mobile layout plugin! It’ll build your mobile design automatically!
Since I am running a self-hosted WordPress installation on my blog, I looked up WordPress plugins which create mobile-friendly layouts. The following is what I discovered while investigating 3 of the most Internet-viewed “popular” plugins…and it’s shocking, to say the least.
Free or Paid: Both options available, but the paid “Pro” option appears to have better tech support overall.
Brief Reviews: Most people get what they’re looking for–a quick, usable mobile layout with a little customization. However, the free version seems to have some issues, especially with themes giving a “too many redirects” error or not serving menus properly to mobile devices. Upgrading to the Pro version apparently fixes this for some users. Check out more reviews on the WPTouch reviews page.
WordPress Mobile Pack
Free or Paid: Free
Brief Reviews: Lots of bad reviews about this plugin not working properly, messing up blog databases, and and being almost impossible to install. Looks like you’d better steer clear of this one…check out more reviews here.
More Information: WordPress Mobile Pack
Mobile Website Builder for WordPress
Free or Paid: Paid
Brief Reviews: This one looked very, very promising–the best of the three I reviewed, in fact!–until I read about all the ads that the plugin puts all over your site, which are very difficult (if not impossible) to remove. Couple that with the fact that this plugin apparently hosts the mobile version of your site on a DudaMobile web address, and this doesn’t seem as strong a contender as I first thought. Check out more reviews here.
More Information: Mobile Website Builder for WordPress by Dudamobile
Conclusion: You’re Really Better Off Doing It Yourself
If you can believe it, this post started out as a way to let people know about great plugins to simplify the process of making our blogs mobile-friendly. Sadly, after considering all the reviews, I can’t in good faith suggest any of these–it’s not worth risking all your hard work just to save time on developing your own mobile-friendly layout. (Of course, this is just my opinion, but after reading about the database problems some of these plugins created, it’s kind of given me the willies about it all!)
I’ve written a few articles here before about developing mobile-friendly designs–these will be helpful no matter whether you want to develop a mobile app, make a separate mobile site, or build a responsive layout that adjusts to all sorts of browsers.