How does your WordPress website display on mobile devices? If you haven’t paid any attention to this aspect of your site, you are most definitely missing out on a big market. Nowadays many users access your site from their mobile devices, so it’s worth showing them some love by customising the display of your WordPress site to their mobile device.
Customising your WordPress site for mobile devices
There are two main approaches:
- Implement a specific theme just for mobile devices
- Make your site responsive so it will adapt to mobile devices
If you’re building a new site I would recommend going for a responsive design. If you are hiring designers and developers to build your site, they will probably ask for a higher price to make your site responsive, but it’s well worth the investment to build a responsive WordPress theme right from the start.
If on the other hand you already have an established site and you don’t see yourself changing your theme anytime soon, it would probably be overkill and unpractical to convert your theme to a responsive one. In this case it is much more cost-effective and straightforward to use a WordPress mobile plugin such as WP Touch.
WP Touch WordPress Mobile Plugin
WPtouch Pro is a WordPress mobile plugin to add powerful, easy-to-use themes for mobile + tablet visitors. It’s also a theming framework, great for creating mobile & tablet themes for your clients.With this plugin, you can easily optimize your WordPress website for mobile viewing – be it for iPhone, Blackberry, Android or iPad. It works by detecting devices like iPhones, iPads, Android & and more, serving its optimized themes instead of your regular desktop theme. Visitors can always switch back if they choose.
Designing a mobile site is always a challenge due to the smaller screens, you really need to identify what it is that the user is looking for when accessing your site from a mobile device. WPtouch Pro has a lot of features that will easily enable you to express your vision and creativity with your mobile site – without sacrificing usability and accessibility. But if you aren’t into customization, you can basically use it too as a plug and play mobile theme.
WPtouch Pro also has features for advertising, which is quite unique amongst WordPress mobile plugins. It supports AdSense, AdMob and custom ads. You can also have a very good idea of how many people are viewing your mobile site from the analytics available in the admin panel.
Some of the WP Touch Pro features:
- Easy to navigate user interface
- Display options can be disabled for a “cleaner” interface
- Developer license enables custom theme settings (backend and front end)
- Content is automatically formatted to fit mobile and iPad visitors
- Images are re-scaled and re-positioned based on screen size and orientation
- Supports any type of media
- Web-App mode makes your mobile site available as a standalone site when bookmarked
- Web-App mode can be customized for branding purposes
- Supports Adsense, Admob and Custom Ads
- Child theme support for developers
- Customized CSS
- Compatible with most WP plugins
Here’s a quick video to show you how the default theme will look on a typical WordPress site when WP Touch is activated:
Here is the pricing structure for WP Touch Pro
- Pro Single ($49)– license for one mobile site
- Pro 5 Pack ($99)– license for five mobile sites (ideal if you have a blog network)
- Pro Developer ($199)– license for unlimited mobile sites (ideal for developers)
If you’re a developer or WordPress consultant, why not offer your existing clients the possibility of having a mobile version of their site? I guarantee that you will quickly recover the outlay for the pro developer pack and make a good dime in the process, while your clients will be very thankful for providing them with an elegant solution.
Of course, there are also a few other free alternatives if you are looking for a WordPress mobile plugin. We are listing them here for completeness’ sake, however I would definitely recommend going directly for WP Touch. WPtouch Pro has thousands of hours of work behind it and I think it’s the most polished, professional mobile plugin available for WordPress.
Alternatives to WP Touch
The below 2 alternatives are plugins which help you build a separate version of your site for mobile devices:
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Very wise collection of words.
I want to know, is there any plugin that can customize a template. I am using de-tube and I want to modify some of its functions.
Unfortunately your free alternatives are not free and link to paid advert. websites
The links point to the WordPress.org plugin repository.
Hi Jean, I left a not-so-enthusiastic comment about WP Touch on 17 April 2012 here. Strange that it’s gone missing?
I’m sorry about that, I don’t delete such comments, maybe it got caught in spam? We also have some other articles which mention WP Touch, maybe you had commented on another one?
Sorry, I may have confused your plugin with one of the many others I was trying. Yours works! However, I think my site is too big. I am playing with it now and trying to find the correct amount of usage.
Hi Blair! We added support for BlackBerry 10 devices a few months back (http://www.bravenewcode.com/2013/01/blackberry10/). Not sure why your site isn’t displaying as expected. Could you drop us a note with a link so our support team can take a look? support[at]bravenewcode[dot]com. Thanks!
Do you know if WPtouch is ready for Blackberry’s new z10. I installed the plugin on my site but all I get on my z10 is a blank white screen.
Great review Jean, I did one myself on this same plugin as I love it. I think we get so focused on either using a mobile plugin or a theme that has responsive design. There of course is pros and cons on both, and often it’s just much easier to add something like WPTouch Pro rather than changing your sites theme as you had mentioned.
I know that some people argue that a sites design is lost with a plugin, or that yes, we can pinch and squeeze to our hearts content. But I like to use one of my latest clients as a perfect example. They are a towing company. When someone drives off the icy road into a ditch with 3 feet of snow, they don’t give a heck what your site looks like on a phone, all they want is to be able to call you quickly and easily. With WPTouch we were able to create a simple homepage just for that reason.
You nailed it Bob. That might just be one of the best examples of when WPTouch would be better than a responsive site. The client will get an effective mobile solution at a cheaper price.
Thanks for sharing the plugin.
Why is a mobile theme needed ? None beats the original website, unless it is so bad …
In today’s bigger screen smartphones, it no longer seems relevant. One can see the blog in its ful glory and zoom in if needed …
What do you think ?
Yes but not everyone has the latest phone, plus I tend to prefer a tailored interface for each screen size, especially for blogs.
To be honest, my phone does little else besides make and receive calls too! I’m chained to my computer most of the day so it makes it a little pointless but it would be nice every so often
Remember that the aim of installing a mobile plugin is more for your visitors than for yourself.
Thanks for the post! I do like WPTouch Pro. Really you can’t beat it for ease of setting up.
I’ve also had good luck with Mobile Smart. Not quite as easy, but it allows you to have your own look a bit more.
This is a really top plugin! I found out about it through this article and bought a copy last week. In just a few hours I had my site perfectly configured for viewing on the iPhone and iPad using the built-in themes, which I modified slightly to suit my site.
Thanks for telling us about WPTouch and keep up the good work on this site!
Very useful and interesting article. I haven’t yet looked into the mobile side of things for WordPress but may have a project coming up which involves this.
Glad you found it useful Jim, think about offering this service to existing clients because it’s so easy to implement. It’s a win-win situation for both your clients and yourself.